Q&A with O’Brother

Verging on Exploding, O’Brother Demands Attention

A party-hard touring band who have been mysteriously coined the Native American names of  Screaming Eagle, Rainsong, Heavy Thunder, Pale Raven, Chief Bearpaw, and Tonto, O’Brother is: Anton Dang (bass), Johnny Dang (guitar, xylophone), Michael Martens (drums), Tanner Merritt (guitar, lead vocals), and Aaron Wamack (guitar). Signed to Favorite Gentlemen Records, O’Brother is far from hiding behind the shadows of label owner and popular band, Manchester Orchestra. It’s just a matter of time, and I have a feeling it’ll be soon, before O’Brother explodes like Big Bang on the indie music scene.

After listening to O’Brother’s new record, “The Death of Day,” once, you feel like you have grasped O’Brother. Then, as you listen to it a second time, a third, a fourth, and so on, you realize you’re merely carving through the thousands of layers of a thick, inexplicably aged tree-trunk that is so comfortably anchored in a crowded forest that it is seemingly the only tree truly standing on its own roots.

After losing their frontman, O’Brother reformed. And in what would normally be a horribly awkward, hopeless transition process, O’Brother absolutely flourished with a bigger, badder, and hauntingly punch-you-in-the-gut sound that you’ll never forget. The melodies have a way of grabbing your balls and tip-toeing up and down your spine at the same time– leaving you paralyzed in your thoughts.

The Blue Indian is currently in the process of reviewing “The Death of Day,” so you’ll be made aware of multiple ways in how to get O’Brother’s music in your iPod. While they were on tour with Dignan, we had a chance to chat with Aaron Wamack, one of the guitarists for the band. We talked about everything from Anton’s ego, Megan Fox, Ramen Noodles, and Manchester Orchestra.


The Blue Indian: Hello boys. Thanks for chatting with Blue Indian.

O’Brother: Why hello there. Pleasure to meet your acquaintance.

TBI: What are the names of the members of O’Brother? Who am I speaking with? Your role?

O: Anton Dang plays bass, Johnny Dang plays guitar and xylophone, Michael Martens plays the drums,Tanner Merritt plays guitar and sings, and I (Aaron Wamack) also play the guitar.

TBI: Where are you at this VERY MINUTE as you read this question?

O: Currently, we are in Macon, Georgia and I just woke up pretty recently. I’m lying on our friends floor in my makeshift bed next to a purring kitty cat.

TBI: There’s something about the song “Division of Man” that makes me want to take on the world. You guys have a ton of energy in your songs….

O: Well, that is something that we wanted with our music. We tracked our album live in the studio, so a lot of the energy you are hearing is because we literally are playing the songs together when they were recorded. I’m glad you really like them.

TBI: So, we’ve covered some people off of Favorite Gentlemen. What’s it like for you guys to be on that label?

O: It is a very tight knit group of bands, that’s for sure. All Get Out, Manchester Orchestra and Winston Audio are some of our best friends in the world. It’s a good feeling to have people who are all doing the same thing together, touring around the country.  Being a part of Favorite Gentlemen has certainly benefited us greatly, we are very happy with where we are.

TBI: Manchester Orchestra, a rather popular band right now, is the owner of Favorite Gentlemen. Have you all ever thought about touring with Manchester?

O: We have, and it’s something that I’m sure will happen in the near future. Our touring schedules have been nearly opposite most of this year, but we have definitely talked about it and are trying to plan something.

TBI: What’s 2 items you MUST have while on tour?

O: Personally, I have a blue backpack that I wear around almost everywhere I go. I have had it for almost ten years probably, and it basically has my life in it – pens, sharpies, all my artwork, paper, batteries, camera, phone, wallet, keys, earplugs, Bible, clipboard, books, etc. Ialso must have my portable CD player, because I do not own an ipod yet.  As a collective whole, we always bring food to cook with us. Our rice and beans meal is a force to be reckoned with, and we also make some of the best ramen in the world.

TBI: You were recently on tour with Dignan. Be honest. Are you more of a fan of their older stuff or their new album?

O: I think they’re newer album is on a completely different level, it completely surpasses ‘The Guest’ in every way.  I love their new music, their songwriting has improved immensely. I love watching them every night, it never gets old.

TBI: Who has the biggest ego in O’Brother?

O: Probably Anton. Ever since he started giving things Indian names he’s really gone off the deep end.

TBI: Well, I personally think that’s the coolest thing ever for obvious reasons. If you could pick 3 bands to tour with… anyone you want… who would they be?

O: How about I pick three tours that i would like to go on? One would be with Deftones and Thrice, another would be Sigur Ros, Radiohead and Godspeed You Black Emperor, and lastly Kayo Dot, Torche, and The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

TBI: Favorite city and venue?

O: I think one of my favorite cities that I’ve ever been to is Chicago. I wouldn’t like to live there at all, but as far as visiting and sightseeing go, it was an amazing experience. Two of our friends live there, and they showed us around and took us on an excursion.  My favorite venue might possibly The Bottletree in Birmingham, Alabama. We’ve yet to play there, but I really like
the place a lot.

TBI: Your music is nearly entrancing. Does Tanner do most of the writing?

O: In some ways, yes. For the five songs on our CD, Tanner wrote the main parts of the songs, and then showed them to us.  From there on, everyone writes their own parts, sections of the songs get changed, the mood completely evolves, etc. We all feel that our new songs are going to be more of a collective writing process.  I have written a few songs, Johnny is writing some material too. We’re all very excited and anxious to write new material, I think it will be much better than ‘The Death of Day’.

TBI: Where would you eventually like to see O’Brother?

O: Making music we love for whomever will listen to us. If that brings a lot people to us, then I will be happy, as long as we continue to do what we want. I don’t really want to be famous, i just enjoy playing with my band-mates.

TBI: Any celebrity crushes?

O: Uh, try TONS.  Let’s see…Adriana Lima, Megan Fox, Natalie Portman, Monica Bellucci, Paz Vega, Zooey Dechanelle, Rose Byrne, Jessica Biel, Penelope Cruz, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Sarah Silverman, Keira Knighly, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ashley Tisdale, Rosario Dawson, all the Gossip Girls, and Kristen Stewart.  Should I go on?…

TBI: Sheesh, man. What can fans of O’Brother expect from you all in the near future?

O: A lot of new material and a lot of touring.

TBI: Thanks for hanging out with Blue Indian.

O: Much obliged.