Conversations: Other Lives

In support of their new LP Rituals, Other Lives are embarking on a North American tour that began last night at the Masonic Lodge in Hollywood–and the trio are leaving behind more than just their folk roots.

Josh Onstott, Jonathon Mooney, and Jesse Tabish first came together ten years ago in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to begin work on what would eventually culminate as the band’s self-titled debut EP. Three-years later, their hometown would inspire their sophomore release Tanner Animals–and they’re still riding the waves of success that followed.

After touring with Radiohead and headlining their own in support of that second album, Other Lives went on a two-year long hiatus as they gathered themselves in preparation for their next project. Retreating to the Pacific North-west, the three men reflected on the ways in which their growth as a band and travels as individuals had shaped them thus far.

“Portland itself didn’t influence the record; it was more about the spirit of change,” Tabish said of Rituals‘ inception. “With Tamer Animals, we were writing about the place we had been living in for most of our lives. In Rituals, we had traveled extensively touring—travel had become our surroundings—and we wanted to capture that movement and spontaneity.”

That spirit has already taken root as a distinct shift away from the traditional folk that had come to define Other Lives; the transition in genre and style was less a decision, and more of a natural development.

“We felt we had explored these folk sounds for a while—and this change was born out of the necessity to broaden what we do,” Tabish said of the changes. “The idea for the record was to make this large, strange, brighter, and more colorful piece. Initially, we had thought we were going to put out this short record; very concise, with one sound. But we quickly found out that it was becoming a much broader and stranger record.”

As for being on the road and back in the saddle once more, Tabith expressed excitement–but also confessed that plenty had changed since their last tour.

“It’s a little strange—I’ve been at home for the last two years and I’m married now. There’s that moment when you’re twenty-five, single, on the road, and it’s exciting. Not to say that I’m not excited now—but it’s this reminder to make good use of my time, to be healthy, and to really make it productive. At least that’s what I’m telling myself—but we have a long road ahead of us.”

Three is a big number for Other Lives; it’s been three years since the trio’s last headlining tour, and third album’s have always been a pivotal thing. They’ve been rolling with punches for years, between lineup changes and stylistic revisions, the group has poured untold time and energy into their work.

Recalling one of the last time’s they played Los Angeles–when they sold-out the El Rey Theatre–Tabish acknowledged that the city would always have a special place in their hearts.

“L.A. has kind of been a second home to us over the last few years, so to sell that out really gave us this hometown-crowd vibe,” he said fondly. “In that moment, on the stage and playing, it’s totally worth it. It’s a beautiful part of the day.”

Tickets and information on Other Lives’ tour are available at their website. Catch them tonight at Club Bahia.

English major and amateur photographer. I'm the guy in the corner of the coffee shop plugged-in to Arcade Fire, typing away like a madman.