Monday, February 13, 2012

Show Preview - Interview - Other Lives - Brillobox - 2.22.12 - Ticket Giveaway - Concert Preview

In March of last year, Other Lives quietly released their second full-length, Tamer Animals. Since the album’s release, the band can no longer linger in the obscurity of Stillwater, Oklahoma. They have tirelessly toured the country behind this densely instrumental work from the prairies, framed by the rustic vocals of Jesse Tabish.

The past eight months have included a string of high-profile opening spots with some of today’s best. In addition to The National, they have toured with The Decembrists, Bon Iver, and Rosebuds. In March of this year, they’re upping the ante again, having snagged the opening spot on Radiohead’s upcoming US tour. We had a chance to talk to singer/pianist Jesse about the band’s headlining tour during the month of February which will bring the band to Brillobox on February 22nd. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us at: with your name.

I began by asking Jesse if the speed with which the band has risen to prominence has been too fast and unexpected.

“We've been doing this for about ten years now,” Jesse said. “Maybe five years ago it would be too fast. I didn't know if I really wanted to even be a touring musician. But in the last few  years it has been something that I have really been wanting to do, to really make this thing work. So all the work has been really welcomed by the band. And we all feel really lucky to be out and be able to be out there do what we do and play with a lot of great act. It's been a really great eight months.”

Stillwater, Oklahoma is rarely heard from on the national music scene. It is home to the invention of both the parking meter and the drive-in car hop restaurant. Jesse feels like their location has not hindered the success of the band. Instead, it has been central to the band’s sound and tempo.

“I think that it's taken a long time, but because of the isolation it's allowed us to really work without being rushed. We've spent basically the last ten years hiding away and writing music, I think that kind of isolation allows you to get to know yourself. It gives the band a chance to breathe and grow.”

Nonetheless, Stillwater is not Brooklyn. Nor does it need to be to produce outstanding musicians.

“I really think that the whole idea of having to move to the East coast or the West coast is kind of passé now.”

The band’s ceaseless touring has inadvertently taken the band out of their natural habitat. While their music seems to draw inspiration from the dusty plains landscape, I asked Jesse if leaving that place will change their music.

“It will, and it already has. Our last record was a real Oklahoman record. It was about the dust bowl and the landscape of Oklahoma. I'm feeling a change in the new lands that we've gotten to, traveling incessantly. There's a more rapid, transient feel to the new music. It's a lot more fast paced. And I think it will change as we continue to stay on the road.”

Tamer Animals album has received some attention for the meticulous manner in which the songs were crafted and recorded. Jesse told me that the instruments used during recording proved to be something of a chore to translate into a live setting.

“We rehearsed it for a long time before we started touring. Some really horrendous seven hour practices, but you know I think we've been able to manage it. Because there was no thought about the live playing while recording the record. So it forced all of the band members to pick up these instruments that they hadn't played. There is so much multitasking going on when we're playing live because we are really trying to play it so close to the record.”

When the band comes to Pittsburgh, they will be the headlining act, something which the band approaches differently from opening.

“As an opener you kind of play your 'best stuff', you are really physically working to win over the crowd. As a headliner, maybe some of the people are already with you, it gives you a little bit more of a confidence that you have some good will there right off the bat. One of the biggest things is knowing how to not just play a tune, but to create excitement and a dynamic in a live setting.”

Jesse has reveled in their lives for the past year, which included highlights like a European tour and seeing bands and places across the US.

“Two things really stand out, one is more general. Being able to go overseas, we didn't know what to expect. But like in Italy, they don't even speak the same language and they know our music. It was a really stunning thing to witness, very heartening. And the other thing was just maybe a little bit of a childhood dream, we got to meet and hang out with Radiohead one evening. That was just a very, a thing that we would always talk about when we were 18 years old, wouldn't it be cool to do that. And now we get to tour with them. We’re very excited.”

Show begins at 9:30p with doors at 9p. Tickets are only $10 and can be found here