Other Lives has always had a flair for the dramatic.
The band, fronted by singer and songwriter Jesse Tabish and joined by multi-instrumentalists Jonathon Mooney and Josh Onstott, has perfected an elegant and grandiose brand of folk rock music over the course of a nearly 15 year career.
Recorded and self-produced at Tabish’s home near Cooper Mountain in northwest Oregon with key contributions from drummer Danny Reisch and Tabish’s wife Kim, the band has created perhaps their most ambitious work yet.
“For Their Love” is out on Friday, April 24 via ATO Records.
Jesse and Kim Tabish performed songs from “For Their Love” in their living room for opbmusic (you can watch them above). Jesse also chatted with us about his love of classic orchestral pop music, country life, and Ennio Morricone.
Interview with Jesse Tabish of Other Lives
Jerad Walker: I’m here with Jesse Tabish of the band Other Lives. He’s the lead singer and front person of the band, and they’re set to release their fourth record “For Their Love” this week. Thank you so much for joining us, Jesse.
Jesse Tabish: Hey, thanks for having me.
JW: It is incredibly difficult to explain your band to the uninitiated. It seems like most music writers eventually end up using the words atmospheric and ethereal.
JT: [Laughter] I’ve heard that a few times, yes.
JW: But I don’t think that quite cuts it. In listening to this album, I hear a deep shift in tone and a more obvious reverence for influences. It seems like you’ve really embraced the sounds of classic 60s and 70s orchestral pop music.
JT: So much, so much. You know, I spent a lot of my twenties listening to classical music and then kind of into minimalism. But really, the last four years I’ve kind of been into a lot of kind of 60s and seventies soundtrack music, really. So yeah, I think that influence shows.
JW: Do you have any favorite composers from that era that directly influenced these songs?
JT: I think always for me Ennio Morricone is — he’s always the guy that I probably listen to the most and have so much influence from.
JW: Do you love mostly his Spaghetti Western work or is there more obscure stuff that you really dig from him?
JT: I do. I think that’s how everybody — or most people — get kind of turned on to his music is the cowboy stuff. But you know, his range goes throughout. He just kind of runs the gamut. But yeah, the first love was the Western stuff for sure.
JW: “Lost Day” is the first single that you released from this record. It has a real clockwork rhythm to it, with layer after layer of these kind of textured, punchy sounds. That’s become kind of a calling card of your band the last few years. How do you get an effect like that in your music?
JT: You know, it’s kind of a tricky dance that we sometimes are successful at, sometimes not. You know, it’s that idea of taking a pop song and bringing the cinematic quality to it rather than [taking] a song [and sticking] the strings in the background.
JW: Jesse, can you tell me about the song “Hey Hey I”? It’s got this incredible drive. But it also has what seems like vampire-inspired lyrics.
JT: [Laughter] I’ve never really written an up-tempo song like that. It was a really kind of freeing experience to do something so direct and something so almost kind of joyful in a way.
JW: It almost has a Joe Cocker “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” vibe.
JT: I love that.
JW: Your band moved from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Oregon a little under a decade ago, and there’s a great quote that I certainly identify with. You said “Stillwater is a college town, and being surrounded perpetually by 21-year-olds eventually got to me.” Anyone who has ever lived in a college town as an adult can understand that. Has your move to Oregon helped with that? Do you feel like you’ve matured as a writer since coming out here?
JT: I do. You know, Stillwater is always dear in my heart and Oklahoma is always kind of with me. But as as an artist, I had to find my own way. Just recently, for this record — so about two years ago — we moved out to the country, which was even another step for me. I’ve always really thrived in kind of isolation. So, being out here up in the Northwest surrounded by trees and the country is beautiful. I love it.
JW: Speaking of the countryside, there’s a gorgeous A-frame cabin in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range that features prominently in the video for “Lost Day.” It’s also on the cover of the record. what’s the significance of that building?
JT: That’s where we live, where we recorded the record. I’m there right now. Yeah.
JW: And you’re going to be performing songs for us, I believe, from your home studio there. Is that correct?
JT: Yes, it’s the living room where we recorded everything and where we hang out.
JW: Listeners can watch that performance at opbmusic.org. The album is “For Their Love” by the band Other Lives. It’s out via ATO Records on Friday wherever you prefer to consume ethereal and atmospheric music. Jesse Tabbish— thank you for joining us.
JT: Hey thank you so much for having us. Take care.