Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Interview With O'Brother

I can safely say that after three shows, O'Brother is one of the best live bands I've ever seen. Combining blissful ambiance with bone crushing heaviness and powerful riffs, the band's live performance is one to be seen. Between shows on Thrice's final tour, the band took some time to talk to MuzikDizcovery on topics such as Thrice's farewell tour, "Lo" being on alternative radio, the new repressing of Garden Window, the uses of Sriracha, a plan to write this summer, and much more, which you can read below.

Firstly, can you introduce yourself?

My name’s Michael, and I play drums in O’Brother.

You guys have been on Thrice’s farewell tour for the last month or so. How has that been?

It’s been awesome. All the shows have been really cool because, you know, it’s their last tour, so all the fans are making sure to come out and see these shows. I just met two or three kids last night that saw the second show in Las Vegas in May, and starting from two days ago they’re with us until the end, so they’re travelling for about 10 or 11 shows. I’ve seen a little bit of that pretty much in every city, so it’s been a lot of fun and everybody’s been really cool.

Do you feel that even your set has a different feel than most due to the nature of it being Thrice’s final tour? Do you need to plan for the show any different than normal?

Since we just toured with them in October and we toured with them a year and a half ago, it’s not so much about us trying to win over the crowd as it is just putting on a solid performance. Probably half the crowd has seen us at least once or twice, either at a Thrice show or with a different band that fits in that circle, so it’s been cool coming out and seeing people recognize us and the music and sing along, or maybe they’ll come up to us and say “hey” afterwards. It is a slightly different vibe, a more familiar vibe.

It’s been about seven months since Garden Window came out. How have you felt the album has done for you guys as a band? Have the reactions met your expectations?

I didn’t know what to expect, and I feel like I never really do. I just knew that we were proud of it and hoped that people would be receptive of it, and I’m definitely pleased with how everything has gone. I’m still having a lot of fun through the record cycle and people have been awesome in their feedback and response and they’re fun songs to play live, so I really don’t have any complaints.

“Lo” has been getting quite some airplay on Sirius radio lately. How did that come about? Were you contacted about playing the song, or was it solely based off of requests, or was it a totally different method?

I think when a label starts to push a record, you go through the process of discussing what songs you want to do what with. We submitted it to a college radio campaign, and then AltNation and a couple other Internet radio shows and satellite stations started picking it up, and they’ve continued playing it. It’s awesome. I’ve heard it once or twice. We still try to enjoy everything and live in the moment, but it’s been cool.

You guys also did a headlining tour back in February with Junius. How was that?  Is it different playing these kind of shows than you would normally?

Definitely. As an opening band on these bigger national tours, you get 30 minutes, you’re playing early in a night, it’s more of a hustle, where you have to appease your fans there to see you and you also have to win over a new crowd. But with headliners, it’s more laid back. There’s more time in a day, there’s longer sets, and you know that the kids that are there want to hear your band. It’s cool specifically playing to the kids that know the songs. I feel like a packed 200 cap room of people singing along to your music is infinitely more rewarding than playing in front of 1500/1600 people and having maybe the first two rows into it. Everyone’s just more receptive of what you’re doing and it’s definitely a different feeling.

There’s supposedly a repress of Garden Window coming out soon. Can we get some information on that? The first pressing isn’t out of print yet, so I’m curious to hear why this is happening so soon?

It is out of print. There may be a couple of copies floating around online, but we ran out of the first pressing. We’ve been selling the new pressing since sometime last week, when we got them in.

I just want to confirm. It’s the 2xLP with both red, right?

Yup. It’s cool, they’re both transparent red. We’re new to the whole vinyl world, so it’s exciting when we get all these new colors in. It looks good, and I haven’t had anyone tell me it doesn’t sound good.

So I actually have a guest question for you from Patrick Haynes. I have no clue how this is going to go over, but he really insisted I ask it.  What is it about Sriracha that makes it such a vital necessity to the band and what are your favorite foods to put it on?

Well, if you try Sriracha, I feel that question will answer itself. Anton and Johnny are Vietnamese, and I grew up with them over the past 14 years, and it was just always something that was around. So when I got older and started cooking for myself, Sriracha just stuck around with us and became prevalent. We decided that it would be a joke and put it on a t-shirt, and people started bringing bottles of it to our shows, and tweeting us and sending us pictures of them using it, and finding different Sriracha gag gifts and stuff. It’s good on everything. Eggs and breakfast foods are something that we eat a lot, and yeah, it’s awesome. Sometimes you gotta have something different like Tabasco, but Sriracha works on everything.

As a follow up question, do you go sparingly with it or do you cover the food with it?

It kind of depends. I’ve made a few small mistakes sometimes by drenching my food in it. We’re going to eat pho, and always put too much Sriracha in it. It’s part of the experience of eating pho, you get to spend half the time doing the inwards panic breathe when your mouth is on fire, so it’s nice.

Do you have any other plans coming up after the Thrice Tour? Any new music or tours?

We’re going back to write about a month after this tour, hopefully try to start a new record sometimes in the next six or seven months. We’re definitely interested in doing that, we have a lot of material we want to work on. We do have some plans for the fall, I can’t go into depth about them at this time (ed. note: seems to be the recently announced Circa Survive tour, awesome), but if everything works out as it seems like it’s going to be, it’s going to be a really fun fall.

Do you feel that new material is going to be more towards that rocking side of songs such as “Lo” and “Sputnik,” or do you feel it’ll stay towards the more ambient heavy side such as songs from The Death Of Day or the longer songs off Garden Window?

You know, I don’t really know. We all listen to so much different music, even person to person. That’s why The Death Of Day and Garden Window ended up how they did. I think we’re all on the same page though, just based off the conversations we’ve had, and everyone’s excited to write, so hopefully we’ll all go into it open and receptive. We never plan to write a kind of song or a kind of record, everything we do just kind of happens. I’m actually interested to see where it goes.

Aaron left the band not too long ago. Jordan’s been playing with you guys lately, but there’s been no announcement if he’s a permanent member or not. Can we get some news on this?

We definitely love having him around. I’ll say that. He’s awesome.

Anything else you have to say?

No, besides thank you. The past seven months since Garden Window came out has been a lot of fun and we couldn’t have done it without people listening to our stupid band!

Again, I'd like to thank O'Brother for taking questions from us. They blew me away at Thrice's farewell tour, and everyone should be planning on seeing them with Circa Survive. Those dates can be found here, and you can follow the band on Facebook here. Also, make sure to buy Garden Window on vinyl, and I think you can purchase the remaining first pressing copies right here.

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