Q&A with The Others

“LOST” is the source of inspiration for the Easthampton-based band “The Others,” a side project of “The Thungs” spun off in 2006 during the second season of the show. Later this month, “The Others” will be releasing their debut double-album, entitled “Seasons 3 & 4”, focusing on character story arcs through the last two seasons. The songs are more than recaps — they’re musical companions to each episode.

Thomas Foster of “The Others” took some time out from music making to answer a few questions from “The Transmission.”

Who are “The Others”? How many of you are there in the band?

There are five of us in “The Others.” Shannon writes the songs, sings and plays guitar. Gabe Sullivan sings and plays percussion. Blake Girndt plays the drums and records the songs. Eric Lee plays the violin and occasionally the guitar. I play the bass.

Is “The Others” your only musical outlet? What kind of bands were you in previously, if any?

“The Others” is not our only musical outlet. Shannon, Gabe, Blake and I have been playing together as “The Thungs” for several years. Eric joined the band about a year and a half ago. We are the same band, but we sing about things other than Lost. The two bands have really blended together and “Thungs” shows feature many of our favorite “Others” songs. We have non-Lost related songs available on our Myspace page.

What are your musical influences? Do your influences come through in “The Others” songs?

Our musical influences vary widely depending on which member of the band you ask and what mood they are in at the time. We have a few constants, but we really pull a bit from everywhere. That’s been one of the best things about doing these songs. We are writing and recording a song every week and we
try to make it sound different from the last, and it helps to have a broad musical base. Some times the episode guides us. Some times Shannon comes in with an idea, but usually when the recording starts the song takes on a life of its own.

When did you start writing Lost songs? Did one particular episode or moment in the series inspire you?

Shannon and Gabe have always written songs that had references to pop culture, and one night after the Hurley centric episode “Dave” in season 2 they recorded the first Others’ song “Mr. Cluck’s Chicken Shack” that starts with Gabe rhythmically singing the numbers. So you could say that the numbers we the initial moment of inspiration.

Blake and I got involved just before the start of season 3, after spending a weekend watching the first two seasons the four of us got together and recorded the song “Caught in a Net”. We were very pleased with the result and started recording together weekly when season 3 started.

Who is your favorite character?

We all have our favorites and I don’t want to speak for them, but my favorite tends to shift throughout the season as the characters change and die off. It was Desmond but I don’t know how much we are going to see him next season. Ben cracks me up sometimes, and who doesn’t love Hurley?

Tell me about your songwriting process. Do all of you write songs?

Shannon watches the episode and takes notes. He usually listens for phrases that would make a good line or chorus. He also looks for easter eggs that the fans would get a kick out of. The song focuses on the character the episode is about, over the next couple of days Shannon works out the chords, lyrics and melody. He records a demo at home and emails it to the rest of us to listen to and think about. If he has an idea about the mood of the song or the genre he lets us know.

The recording tales place in “the Hatch,” which is Blake’s in-home recording studio. The guitar and drums are usually recorded together, then the main vocals. The bass, violin, percussion and overdubs are recorded a day or so later. Blake mixes it and it’s posted on our Myspace page. There you can listen to it for free and purchase mp3s of our songs. We send out a bulletin to let the people know it’s up. Then we get ready for the next one. The process takes under a week.

How did you like this season?

This season was great. Fast paced and intense. The break in the middle was a bit frustrating, but it gave us a little time to catch our breath and recharge our batteries for the mad dash to the finale.

Do you read bulletin boards or fan blogs? How big a Lost geek are you?

Shannon and I read some of the blogs, and I post on a couple of boards. Gabe and Blake avoid the blogs and boards to stay away from spoilers, while Shannon and I tend to search them out. I think being in a band that writes songs about a television show brands you as a geek, and there’s no real escaping it.

So, what is the deal with the four-toed statue?

Blake thinks it’s a remnant from an alien civilization, but I think we’re just going to have to wait and see.

How do you envision the show ending?

It could be anything; an eye closing, some weird time travel mess where 815 actually lands safely, the Island blinking out of existence. Who knows? The writers have been so good at throwing us curve balls; I can’t begin to speculate with any real conviction. However it ends, it will make for great television.

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