O'Brother's Johnny Dang on the Band's Sound, Thrice, and "Cleanse Me"

Categories: Q&A, Show Preview

obrotherIMG_0086 - Credit Christy Parry.jpg
Christy Parry

Atlanta's O'Brother may seem like a real life version of The Soggy Bottom Boys from O Brother, Where Art Thou? (just Google the band's name), but name and hometown are the only things the band and film have in common. O'Brother uses three intricate guitars to play a combination of sludge, progressive, and ambient rock with melodic vocals along the lines of Thrice's recent experimental material. Not surprisingly, O'Brother cites Thrice as a major influence and recently hit the road with them.

We recently caught up with guitarist Johnny Dang to discuss O'Brother's sound, "Cleanse Me", and what it's like to tour with Thrice.

O'Brother is scheduled to perform Wednesday, March 7, at The Underground in Mesa.

Up On The Sun: How is your tour going so far?

Johnny Dang: This tour's been awesome. It's our first co-headlining tour, or any sort of headlining tour and the response has been overwhelmingly awesome. We didn't know it was going to go this well. A lot of people are coming out and showing their support and singing the songs. It's kind of something we're not used to because we've been supporting so many big acts. This is our first headlining tour where we can see the response of the record and how the previous tours have been, so the progression's awesome and this tour is really good for us.

One thing I'd like to talk about is the variety you have in your sound. When I first heard you guys, I always almost expecting a sludge/stoner rock sort of thing because I heard the really heavy guitars, and then I heard the vocals, which are a bit more melodic and you even have some post rock hooks. Is this variety something you set out to make from the beginning, or did it naturally work out that way?
It was definitely a natural thing. We didn't really try to sound like any specific genre or anything like that. We all draw influences from different things whether it be bands, or music, or movies, or scores.

Whenever we started sitting down and writing together as this line up, which is...it really wasn't always the same line up. We lost our old singer and added two new members, our new singer Tanner [Merritt] and Aaron [Wamack] contributed a lot to our new sound, but the foundation was always the same. But yeah, I think the heaviness is what we were trying to go for, but we really like all the ambient stuff like Brian Eno. Tanner definitely brought a whole new element to our band melodically and vocally. It wasn't something we planned on doing, to answer your question.

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