Other Lives began their year by releasing a their second album 15 months in the making. Tamer Animals is the product of folk heart, a classical soul, and minimalist recordings. The result is one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year.
They began their tour with Bon Iver and Mates of State Thursday in San Diego. We spoke to singer Jesse Tabish about his journal, moving on from the latest album and man's disconnection with nature.
OC Weekly: You're about to embark on your fall tour. What are you most looking forward to?
Jesse Tabish: I'm really excited to play in front of a larger audience. We'll take it show by show and enjoy it.
People have speculated that Other Lives is inspired by everything from Godspeed! You Black Emporer to Fleetwood Mac. What would you say your influences were for Tamer Animals?
You know, I have a lot of influences. Particularly in this record, just to make it easy, I'd say Phillip Glass. I was a guitar teacher for nine years. For the last ten years, that's really what I've done all day everyday, is write, record and play. I wish I had more interesting hobbies, but I really don't. I read and have a journal but that's about it. I'm able to document lyrics or thoughts or b.s. about the day.
You guys spent very a long time working on your latest album. How did you feel once it was out in the world?
Because we did spend so much time on this record I'm very ready to be done with it. Also, I had a real sense of accomplishment since we did the record by ourselves and I was really happy with it. I was curious to see what other people thought about it. After that, you're done with it. That record is behind me now. On to the next record. It's nice to have that moment of completion and then you move on.
What went into recording the album?
e have a really large rehearsal studio. We've always wanted to have a lot of time in the studio. We wanted to see if we could convert our space into a recording studio. We did it on a very lo-fi budget without a whole lot of money or anything. Me and John worked day-to-day for 16 months.
You can have all of the fancy studio gear in the world but if the idea's not there... You can have cheap microphones and good ideas and I think the ideas can still come through. Not to say... I have pretty shitty ideas too [laughs].
Don't we all. Where did the name Tamer Animals come from?
My friend wrote a poem called Tamer Animals and it instantly hit me. I said to him, "I have to have this as a song." It really embodies all of the themes that I'm talking about. Humans are dealing with their enviornment, affecting their enviornment, at at the end of the day, we're an animal, living in this strange, strange world in spite of it's natural way of life.
What do you think about that disconnect with nature?
I have my thoughts about it but I don't really have a solution. The song is more about observing the relationship rather than judging it.
What are you going to do after this fall tour?
We have about two months off which I'm really looking forward to and then hopefully tour more.
Do you have any preliminary plans for a new album?
We were just talking about that the other day. It's still unknown but, I have a whole new batch of tunes that I'm working on. It's just a matter of when and where and I'm sure it will be done in somewhat of the same capacity if the last one as far as unlimited time. I don't know when. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Are you going to go back to your lo-fi studio setting?
It's hard to say. There's a part of me that [wants to]. The other part of me thinks that "Okay, that was then, now maybe try something new. I don't know yet.
Other Lives performs today with Bon Iver at the Shine Auditorium, 665 W. Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, (213) 748-5116; www.shrineauditorium.com. 8 p.m. $39.50. Purchase tickets here.
Also, Tuesday at the Gibson Amphitheatre, 100 Universal City Plaza, Building 5454, Universal City, (818) 622-4440. 8:15 p.m. $39.50. Purchase tickets here.