Some call the music of Other Lives folk, but it's wider than folk—pieces are more orchestrated. The longing in the acoustic passages isn't orchestrated, however; the longing is innate, and lives in the voice of Jesse Tabish. Sounds of Other Lives are like an old piano, weathered but not threadbare. Live, the Stillwater, Oklahoma, five-piece continually shift instruments—violin, cello, keys, trumpet, clarinet, drums, bass, and guitar; they move yet remain fused. This past February and March, the band opened for Radiohead and even had Thom Yorke remix a track. Something Other Lives do embodies déjà vu. The ninth song, "Desert," from their second album Tamer Animals, for instance—as it unfolds, you imagine a late October day. You take a book you've never seen before off a shelf in a used bookstore and randomly flip to a page. What you read is familiar, too familiar, because you wrote it in a previous life. You had worked for Norfolk and Southern Railroad as a conductor and had recurring dreams that you were an ant. Then you felt a need to visit the Onon River in Mongolia, where you met someone, married, and settled as a pear farmer. Jesse Tabish spoke. He was in Stillwater, not Mongolia.
Everything you say is now on the record. So talk dirty. Tell me something disgusting, with as much profanity as possible.
Let's just straight up shit-talk. Really slam some people.
Talk shit on Thom Yorke right now.
[Pauses.] That guy. Man. Okay. I can't [laughs]. I don't have anything bad to say. It's impossible for me to shit-talk him.
He has no talent whatsoever.
He's never influenced me, ever.
What have you been in your previous lives? Maybe you were Genghis Khan. Maybe you were an ant. I take it from the name of your band that you believe in reincarnation.
Not necessarily, but I'm not opposed to it either. I've given reincarnation some thought, yes, but I don't totally subscribe to it. If I have had previous lives, I'd like to think that I was some sort of animal—something that had a 20-minute lifespan. Some sort of small fly.