Other Lives play The Academy 2 on Sunday October 23rd. The band have just released their second album ‘Tamer Animals’. Jonathan Mooney from the Oklahoma band took some time out of his schedule to answer a few questions.
Hello! Hope you’re having a nice day! Where are you and what are you up to right now?
We are traveling through the English countryside right now, coffee in hand, enjoying the view.
You’re coming to Europe for a month? What are you looking forward to on this tour?
I know it sounds convenient to say this but we’re really looking forward to Dublin in a few days. We didn’t make it last time around and we were kind of bummed.
You’ve just released Tamer Animals, how do you feel about the album now that it’s out in the world?
It felt good to get it out. We spent a lot of time on this record and are very proud of it. We’ve also enjoyed playing this record more than we have in the past.
I’ve heard it took sixteen months to record the album, that’s quite a while. Are you perfectionists?
To a certain extent we are, but we didn’t really have time to get to caught up in the details. We took about a month a song and mixing took a couple months. The reason it took so long is because we had a lot of instrumentation which we recorded one instrument at a time. On a lot of songs we went for a very layered and orchestral sound and since we didn’t have an orchestra at our disposal we would build an orchestral sound one violin or horn at a time.
You recorded it in your home town? Was that a distraction or did it provide a stable environment?
It’s actually the opposite. One reason we feel so creative in our studio at home is that there aren’t a lot of distractions in Stillwater. We’ve never had any trouble getting away from it all and getting to work.
Jesse writes the music and yourself and Jesse also write lyrics. How much input do the whole band put into the song writing process?
It was mostly Jesse and I on a day to day basis in the studio but everyone had there hand in the record in one way or another.
Other Lives evolved from an instrumental band called Kunek, is that where the lush arrangements come from?
We’ve always been drawn to instrumental music. It’s what brought us all together. Classical music has really been influential in the arrangements on our record, increasingly so on our last record.
Dustbowl III is about Oklahoma. Why did Dust Bowl I and II not make the record?
We just felt there was a balance that would have been disrupted if we added those to track listing we chose. I hope those tracks make it out eventually. We put a lot of work into them.
What’s the biggest challenge to retain some normalcy when you’ve to live out of a van for a while?
Eating healthy can be challenging, and sometimes sleep turns into a luxury.
You’ve been on tour with some great acts like The Decemberists, Bon Iver and The National. If you could curate your own festival who would you put on the bill?
Godspeed you Black Emperor
Joey Waronker worked on both albums with you? What does take to fully trust someone when you are working on new material?
Aside from Joey being one of the most talented and tasteful people we know, he’s extremely honest. We can trust him to tell us if something’s not working.
How do you feel the band have grown since the debut album?
We like to think we’ve progressed in our arrangements and techniques. We somewhat focused in on that during this record.
The music industry is changing so much, the length of a life of an album is changing. Have you found that or when will you start looking forward to the next album?
We started thinking about the next record as soon as the last one was finished. Making records will always be important to us regardless of the changing value of a record. It’s our favorite part of being musicians.
Two quick not so serious questions for you..Anyone got any bad habits that annoy you on the tour bus?
Not really, we’ve been on the road together long enough to know how to stay out of peoples hair. It’s essential to getting along on the road.
When you’re tour what’s the one thing you can’t leave the house without?
Socks, lots of socks.
Thanks a million for your time, hopefully we’ll get to catch up when you’re in Dublin..