My first exposure to Oklahoma’s Other Lives was at this year’s Coachella music festival. I had never heard them before, but had heard the name, and decided to check them out. I was blown away. The five-piece band’s sound is orchestral and lush, blending dreamy, melancholic vocals with beautiful and unconventional instrumental arrangements. Earlier in the year they spent some time opening for Radiohead on tour in the US and Mexico, and are now on their own US tour supporting their latest album, Tamer Animals- a gorgeous, dark, musical fantasy. They play DC’s Rock & Roll Hotel this Friday, November 30th. I recently got the chance to talk with singer Jesse Tabish, and here’s what he had to say.
Alexia Kauffman: How’s your tour going?
Jesse Tabish: Really nice! We’re about halfway through, and we’re headed to Austin right now, so I can’t complain. It’s been very nice.
Alexia: Cool! So how did you first start playing music?
Jesse: Well I started very young, playing the piano, maybe four or five, and you know played music my whole life. Picked up the guitar when I heard Nirvana, just like many kids, and I’ve been writing music for the last fifteen years. That’s kind of all I’ve ever done, from when I was little.
Alexia: So you mentioned Nirvana, who I love- was there any one artist or album that made you fall in love with rock?
Jesse: Oh yeah, I remember one Christmas, when I was very young, my parents got me a little single of “Hey Jude” on a tape. And I remember it was the first time I was really truly taken aback by something, and I listened to that the whole day. I probably listened to that song forty times, just on repeat and repeat and repeat. It was kind of the first moment I was like “Wow!”, really powerful.
Alexia: So do you feel like there’s a scene where you all are from?
Jesse: You know, it’s like an anti-scene, really. We’ve been doing music in Oklahoma for the last ten years, and I say anti in the sense that there’s no collective sound of bands. Which I think is really fantastic. Oklahoma’s a little bit of a lonely place- there’s not a whole lot of things coming in and out of it. In some ways it has this feel of isolation to it, and I think, you know, it can leave artists to kind of have that meditation and to be and grow individually from that, rather than sometimes you get too much of a scene, you get too many bands that are influencing each other too much. But in Oklahoma it’s kind of the opposite. Continue reading