Others By No One blast onto the prog-metal scene this summer, bringing with them their debut album Book I: Dr. Breacher with them. Their delightful soundscape blends prog-metal à la Between The Buried And Me with vocals straight from Haken, whilst also dashing in the fantasy/circus metal sound of bands like Native Construct and Mr. Bungle.
Since I found their debut single, I haven’t stopped listening to them, and even after a detox, I find myself humming along to various sections from all three tracks from their freshly released debut. Vocal hooks aplenty, I truly marvel at the lead vocalist Max Mobarry’s range, with his powerful ballads leading into scatty SikTh-esqe meltdowns before hammering you to the couch in a roaring fury.
All members of the band are playing instruments too, which gives the effect of the music rolling from side to side, as the riffs switch up and regain focus on a different tone. Deafening keys, groovy bass and squealing solos lead you on journeys through space and time, much like the concept of their stunning album and I firmly believe it’ll be a strong contender for album of the year with many listeners. Coming at you straight out of Dayton in Ohio, the band have all the right connections, with legendary producer Jamie King mastering the record to the standard we’ve all come to expect of his work.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Max Mobarry from Others By No One to get the lowdown on the band and their tunes.
It Djents: What spurred the band into creating such unique and interesting prog metal?
Maxwell Mobarry: Blushing right out the gate, haha. As far as achieving this style we’re starting to flesh out and call our own, none of us in the band naturally adhere to traditional song formats or structures. With Book I: Dr. Breacher, we’re all fairly young and essentially let loose for the first time – writing whatever the hell we wanted, paying homage to the epic concept albums we all hold dear, and flexing our prog muscles. Our next statement, the first full-length, is poised to be even more extreme in all directions, but assuredly a lot more mature having exorcised our first attempts at seriously crafting a big old progressive metal baby.
ID: On the back of that answer, who would you consider your biggest influence on your style and why?
MM: Musically speaking, I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t think of Devin Townsend pretty much immediately. The guy’s a musical workaholic, I love all of his records, and his perspective on embracing life and your many failures is a constant inspiration to me. How he runs the gamut of musical genres from record to record, from the ambience of Ghost to the chaotic, more recognizable influence of something like Deconstruction rubs off on me in more ways than I probably even realize. I struggle every day not to take his influence too far in my own work, since he really just nails what I’m going for as a musical entity, even as an individual. Plus I just love those operatic, upper-register vocals, especially being raised on singers like Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and another fav, Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. Absolute legends.
ID: Did the band meet coincidentally or through school?
MM: Quique (bass) and I met as trumpet players in our high school band about seven years ago and we haven’t looked back since. For the most part we’ve been musically involved in each others’ lives from that point onward, and I consider myself pretty damn fortunate for it. After high school I joined a pop-punk band without hesitation purely because Quique was the bassist – He’s an optimistic person in the face of life’s many stresses and I strive to adopt his attitude, you can’t help but smile when that guy’s around. Plus he’s just such a tasteful bass player, there are such slick basslines all over this record and I just love it.
Mike (lead guitar) and Quique also met in middle school, and the rest of us separately. Sam (drums) hit us up from whatever ridiculous Craigslist post we had up in early 2015, and Brian (keys) became part of our lives after we crushed a battle of the bands his former group was a part of. Oddly enough, he was a drummer at the time and was incredibly new to the keyboard, but he’s miraculously soaked up enough theory knowledge and technical dexterity to learn and play this level of music rather effortlessly and it blows my mind pretty much every day. We recently became roommates and the shred is never-ending at this point in our apartment life.
ID: Tell us about your instrument preferences.
MM: Funny enough, I prefer talking about most instruments other than guitar – essentially because it’s so easy to talk guitar to death, being so common. Playing guitar and writing are still my favourite things in the world, but talking bass or wind instruments or drums with musicians passionate about it is far more interesting to me at this point in my life.
It’s also just a coincidence that I became the singer for ObNO, too. Sam was and is such an extremely talented, technically proficient drummer that we didn’t want to lose him by continuing to search for a singer, so I threw my hat into the ring mostly as a placeholder. I do love singing and I trust myself to do the job pretty well, having a surprisingly decent range, but I long for the days where I can just be the guitarist and headbang, making a general ass of myself all over the stage. But for now, I’ve worked on it a lot since becoming the official vocalist and it’s a great opportunity to get personal with my lyrics. Being a concept record, I didn’t pour too much of my personal life into it this time around, and I often struggle to relate to the story on a personal level, but I’m slowly trying to break out of my shell and write music about myself to exorcise some of the major issues in my life. It’s been a rough year and I’ve lost a hell of a lot, so that’s likely going to play a fair bit into the upcoming ObNO output.
ID: Who would you love to tour with, considering that you’ve opened for some pretty impressive bands so far?
MM: We really have been some lucky bastards to play the shows we’ve played, especially being a local band in southern Ohio playing such ridiculous music. Ne Obliviscaris was definitely a highlight, they were great to us and it was an honour seeing them bring the room to its knees with their devastating live show the same night we played “Dr. Breacher.”
A pretty obvious one would be our homies in Native Construct, no doubt. Our first show was opening for them, and since it was their first tour I convinced them to stay at my house for what would be two of the most fun nights of my life. We partied, ate pizza, played Super Smash Bros. Melee for hours, and the next day they were simply the best live. On our YouTube you can see they even had me come up to sing the duet ending “The Spark of the Archon” at that show, which completely blew my mind. Now that I think about it, that was probably a precursor to the duet between Rob and myself on “Dr. Breacher”, that guy’s voice is out of this world. Since then we’ve remained hella tight and I would be the happiest guy in the world to travel around seeing them do their thing every night – Musically our debuts are both pretty similar to boot, so with any luck it’s in the cards.
There are so many to choose from, but if I had to pick another it’d probably be Haken. We’ve actually hung out with their bassist Conner a few times, since he only lives an hour or so from us, and he jammed Dream Theater’s “The Mirror” with us the same day as our first gig with Native Construct – God, we’ve done some cool shit, hahaha. Haken’s songwriting pretty much captivated me from the getgo and it’d be a dream to tour with them as well – Same with Between the Buried and Me, they’re pretty much our heroes and high school me would cry tears of joy to play with the guys that made Colors. Someday…
ID: Any tips for upcoming bands?
MM: Be true to yourself and write what you hear in your head, damn what anybody else thinks. We were terrified of making ObNO our full-time musical career because of how hard to accept/outside the box progressive music is for most fans of music in the world today – but we’ve never been more accepted and achieved so much until doing what we truly love. Write as much as you can, get out all of your ideas, and the true musical you will grow and peek out its head. Keep at your craft until you have the ability to technically articulate any idea that comes into your head – and always embrace inspiration. If you get an idea, lay that shit down right away. Essentially, be you to the highest degree – At the very least, people will latch on to the fact that you’re passionate about what you care about, and that’s a pretty universal thing.
ID: What inspired the story behind Book I: Dr. Breacher?
MM: The story very much evolved alongside the music. “Brand-New Remedy”, the opener, was originally a one-off from an idea Mike had floating around since high school. However, we saw possibilities of expanding the story further, and by the time I got around to constructing the behemoth “Dr. Breacher and the Time Travel Anomaly” I had the main elements of that song’s story in place before writing really began. As the record progresses musically, so did our adherence to the concept, and by “Dr. Breacher” I was painting the musical picture to the events in the story.
Nothing in particular inspired the story per se, it’s fairly simple. A lot of it was just writing musical ideas we found compelling to play as a group, with the lyrics coming last in almost all cases. In its simplicity though, it keeps from being too sterile or unrelatable – For example, “Death of a Clone” is a pretty emotional journey whether you’re invested in the characters or not, and when I sing that piano ending live I’m not really telling a story – I’m just singing from the heart, absorbing the music happening around me. I’m glad the record has a few moments like that, where it’s not just “Oh, Dr. Breacher is doing this thing,” where you can just sit back and enjoy some rather personal sentiments.
ID: Who would you leave behind in a zombie apocalypse?
MM: As far as in the band, I’ll go with Brian because he’s the most in shape and his speedy F# minor arpeggio runs will guide him to safety. Plus his Korg Kronos is a dank offering to the prog gods, who will probably smile on him and keep him well with a glorious proclamation of “We gotchoo, fam.”
ID: What was the most challenging part of “Book I: Dr. Breacher” for the band?
MM: Initially rehearsing this stuff was a pain, “Brand-New Remedy” was written around the time Sam joined the band and jamming it out took a bit to get down. We practised “Dr. Breacher and the Time Travel Anomaly” for close to six months before debuting it live, especially because that included the implementation of click tracks and samples into our live show for the first time. Organizing cues, time signatures, and orchestral samples for like 700 measures of insane progressive metal was a whole other level of difficult – but the challenge was definitely a fun one, because now it’s pretty smooth to pull off regardless of the audience’s hesitant enthusiasm for a twenty-minute, self-indulgent progressive epic.
Aside from preparing for self-release (which in itself was a new level of hell), we purchased EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra about a month prior to hitting the studio with Jamie King to record the album. Before that point we were going to settle for the janky, crappy MIDI samples we had, but with that great sample library at my disposal I ended up holing myself up for about three weeks straight working solely on these orchestral parts every day. I lazily composed the original parts on one big score (again, didn’t think we’d have real samples), so it turned into separating the existing strings into individual parts for viola, violin, cello, and contrabass – but also writing brand-new parts for a full brass and wind section. It was incredibly fun working on the nuances of the orchestral parts, like writing an entire record underneath the crazy progressive wankery we’re doing – but adjusting velocities, making sure it’s in the proper range for the respective instruments, all that shit was equal parts mind-numbing and truly enjoyable/creatively stimulating.
Bringing Book I: Dr. Breacher to life as a DIY, fairly low-budget local prog band in Dayton, Ohio, USA brought us challenges we never knew we’d face – but we overcame, and I’m damn proud of the end result. We’ve learned from our mistakes, we know exactly how to handle it next time, and I’m fully certain that our next effort will be what you hear on an even larger scale, with a much stronger sense of maturity. Personally, I can’t wait.
ID: We wish you the best with the album launch!
MM: Shoutout to It Djents for being so insanely supportive of this record and sharing it to a large audience – It’s folks like you guys that help us get recognized, get signed, and achieve even bigger and crazier things in the future. Everyone grab yourselves a copy of Book I: Dr. Breacher and see what you think – I like to think at least something about it will hook ya, even if we’re a bit extreme and wacky. It was a labour of love bringing this record to the world, and I assure you we’re just getting started. Have a great day, and never pretend to not be a nerd.
Deep peace, Max Mobarry, Others by No One
There you have it folks, go check out the album which was released on the 11th June on their Bandcamp or checkout their Facebook for updates on shows! These guys are really special, make sure they’re occupying your ear pussies this summer.