JR: Vessel was a blast, and an accurate introduction to your sound overall. ANX definitely feels a bit more focused, an exercise in pinpointing what's worked best for you in the last few years. How did the recording process go for the album, and how did it compare to Vessel?
OO: The recording process was the same as Vessel for ANX. Zavala sent over skeletons, I dropped my words and such, then I sent them back where he then put the finishing touches.
JR: ANX features quite a few guest musicians, all of which bring something really exciting to the table. It seems that guests breathe a new energy into your music - is there a particular track that you feel "comes alive" the most due to a guest appearance? Maybe there's one you're most proud of.
OO: Not really. We like them all the same. We use our features more like instruments in that their voice / style adds to the overall composition. We've always seen our feats that way, especially with the singers we've worked with.
JR: There's an overarching theme of anxiety on ANX, a concept that's spelled out most clearly on the title track. Did this experience change the way that you saw making music?
OO: That experience changed the way I deal with life, period. For better for awhile, then worse, & now back to better again. Zavala has been dealing w/ ANX since high-school. Its just something that influences our craft toward light and dark, and we just try to funnel it out for those who can relate.
JR: You've been touring with Aesop Rock, and I can only imagine how thrilling it's been. I was amused by his "Racing Stripes" stunt at the Atlanta show. (He made a signup list for anybody who wanted a haircut onstage, and then during the concert he picked a name and gave you guys the ability to cut their hair however you deemed fit.) Have there been any other noteworthy shenanigans offstage? I can imagine that spending that much time with Aesop Rock lends itself to quite a few memories.
OO: Aes is an amazing human being and a good friend of mine. I love that dude and will always have his back. There's no way to point out one particular situation because everyday is a joy. The whole experience has been nothing but good times.
JR: ANX and Vessel both have interludes to unite the tracks - what was the biggest motivator behind this, and how do you come up with which interludes to use?
OO: Both Zavala & I just see the albums that we make as one voyage-like story where every song goes hand in hand with one another, while still being able to cover a great deal of ground. We don't just make a bunch of singles and/or songs and throw them together, however; it's all pieces to a bigger picture. Zavala is charge of all the music so he decides what interludes best suit the transitions from song to song.
JR: Which songs are really a blast to play live?
OO: All of the songs are fun to play live, just depends on the crowd which ones go over well.
JR: The vinyl looks great - one interesting decision on it, though, was the exclusion of "Prarie Dog Day" and "Hosanna in the Highest." Was there just too much music for it all to fit?
OO: Yes. We had to cut it a bit short to fit those on the vinyl.
JR: Can you share the story behind the new track "Cultclass?" Its lyrics seem to be a fascinating analysis of science vs. faith, ground that you guys haven't treaded until now.
OO: "Cultclass" is just that in which you said. The similarities & differences between science & faith / religion. We are not siding with either but are instead showing comparison between the two, whereas they usually go against each other.
JR: Thanks a ton for the time.