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Seismic Interview: The Tacoma Kid Interview! Oberhofer’s 7″ Release on Aug. 3rd!!

July 6, 2010

Sometimes (o.k. almost daily) I find myself scouring the internet for unknown music…. it’s a bit like pan-handling for gold; sometimes it brings some small pieces but it’s mostly a fine powder and rarely ever that elusive nugget. Well not to long ago while doing this at 3 am I ran across an artist by the name of Oberhofer and hit play … a few chords in I was immediately riveted and fixated on his howling & whistles……I found a nugget!.  I googled the name and found out some tidbits of information. Are you kidding me … this guy is from Tacoma and he’s 19? And he plays all the instruments!!! I instantly found him on Facebook and sent him a message asking him an onslaught of questions,  no sooner did that happen and I had a friend request, we chatted for about 30 minutes about music in general and the direction of his music, Washington and so on. He stated he was coming home to Tacoma to see family and friends, so I asked him for an interview; he agreed. Here it is.

Walking towards me in the bright Seattle sun (yes I said sun), was a thin kind of gangly looking kid; from the front a great head of curly kind of unruly hair, some skinny jeans and 4 layers on top … his exclamation piece being his short fitted vintage brown leather jacket and THE happy Face brooch which is quickly becoming the symbol of Oberhofer. I asked him how the traffic was from Tacoma and he stated that he had slept at a friend’s house in Seattle to avoid traffic. He then he went on to tell me that his hair on the back of his head was driving him crazy last night, so he decided to shave it free-style with a clipper ( I assumed alcohol was involved, and I also assumed it was that silly game of whoever passes out first at the party that gets a sharpie to the face or in this case a hair clipper, but I never verified this). He then turned around and showed me the back of his head … well lets just say” don’t do this at home!” But he seemed unfazed and joked about it, as he settled into his chair for the interview.

SS: So Brad being that you played all the instruments on all of your current material, and you now have a band. Do you let them put their own spin on the sounds you created?

O:Its complicated but I am comfortable because the only thing they are manipulating is the material in the live shows, where I believe live shows and recorded music are two completely separate mediums. The recorded music comes out because it’s a complete extension of myself, it’s very personal, a very emotionally constructed thing. Where as the live show is an emotional investment between four people and we are all collaborating which makes the live show so great.

SS:What kind of process was it finding the right musicians?

O: My guitarist Andrew and I hung out , so I just told him we should play music and he turned out to be a great guitarist. Mike and I had been friends for a while. He played bass on a project and he was awesome. I had a mutual acquaintance with Pete, and he turned out to be a really skilled percussionist so it all worked out perfectly.

SS:So being that you’re from Tacoma, did any PNW bands have any kind of influence on you?

O: I certainly love bands like Modest Mouse and The Shins, but if there were to be a Northwest band that has really influenced me I would say has to be The Microphones. A lot of stuff that came out of K-Records blew my mind.

SS:How did you come across The Microphones?

O:Primarily through friends in High School.

SS: So your 7″ comes out on August 3rd, Do you have enough songs written for a LP?

O:I have enough songs for 2 or 3 LP’s, but I am still in the process of getting everything in order. It’s a complicated process, but I am still hoping to record this summer.

SS:Have you done any gigging in Tacoma or has this all happened in New York?

O:I did my first Oberhofer show in New York at a place called Death By Audio, a little DIY venue.

SS: You’re a sophomore at NYU. It seems as though you have a lot on your plate. How do you juggle it all?

O:Its taxing. I’m not doing the best job at juggling school and music right now. I tend to sleep through lots of classes, and I am not on top of my homework

SS:I’m sure mom and dad are happy to hear about this.

O:Maybe, but somehow I manage. If I miss a class, I go to a tutor session but its been way busier than I can handle lately, but I’m so excited about this music stuff that I find myself up till 5 in the morning recording something new. I get antsy so I am always writing or recording as  much as I can.

SS:So if you could tour with anyone who’s alive, who would it be??

O:Wow, that’s a cool question (Long pause). I love Arcade Fire and have never seen them live, so I think that would be incredible. I think Win Butler is an amazing song writer…. I love them. I also heard The Unicorns are getting back together;I would tour with them in two seconds …  I imagine that would be the most fun in the world.

SS:I have heard your music playing in two different Sobe commercials on MTV …. How did that come about?

O:They heard my stuff online and approached me about it. It’s obviously great for exposure, but I don’t fully understand that side of the business yet, but I am slowly learning about the different pieces you need such as; PR agent, lawyer, and manager. All these significant roles that I had no idea were really a part of it.

SS:Any plans on coming back to Seattle to showcase the band for friends or family?

O:If I can ever work that out I would be so stoked. I would love to do that. I would actually love to record my album in Seattle and be inspired by the nature and beauty.

SS:You’re not signed right now, have you ever thought about contacting any of the local record companies such as Barsuk, Suicide Squeeze or Sub-Pop?

O:I did intern at Sub-Pop for a while so I am friends with a couple of people there, but no-one from the Northwest has kept in touch or gotten a hold of me.

SS:If someone were to offer you something with their label would you take it?

O:I don’t know anymore. I have no idea. Being unsigned sometimes feels like a good thing. Being self-produced is I think a good thing, but I know in order to access as many people as possible I would probably have to sign onto a label. I would like to stay non corporate, but you never know.

SS:Well I want to thank you for the time. You know I think you’re an amazing artist, and can’t wait for you to get your stuff out there.

O:Hey man thanks a lot for all the support…

To pre-order the 7″ inch click here


Oberhofer-Away Frm U

Oberhofer-Dead Girls Dance

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Somer Kvale permalink
    July 7, 2010 10:35 pm

    I love his sound!!!!!

  2. dawn johnson permalink
    July 8, 2010 4:11 am

    nice voice on that kid.

  3. BLOODstorm permalink
    July 9, 2010 2:12 am

    awesome music.

    looks like johnny knoxville got ahold of ya.

  4. UCFsam permalink
    July 18, 2010 1:19 am

    When I listened to the free EP it blew my mind how catchy every song was, hope this dude makes it big

    • July 18, 2010 2:57 am

      I couldn’t agree with you more UCF…..his stuff is exactly what I think the public wants. I listen to his stuff over and over……its amazing how good it is.


  1. Seismic-Sound Album Review: Oberhofer “Time Capsules II” by Ian Stephens « Seismic-Sound

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