If you’re a loyal reader of Kindness of Ravens…first off, thanks. That’s super sweet of you. Also, you may have heard us mention the band, Oberhofer in the past. We first heard of them in our interview with Magistrate of all Things Indie, Patrick from Oh My Rockness. Then we made them one of the 13 Ultimate Bands in our recent Choose Your Own Rockventure project…which we recently took down. Since first hearing the band in March, we finally got a chance to catch them at the recent CMJ Music Marathon and we were totally blown away. Seriously one of the most talented, enthralling bands we’ve seen live in a while. We got a chance to talk with the very personable, polite young man who’s the brains behind the operation, as they say, and the band’s namesake—Brad Oberhofer. Take a look at the interview and, seriously, as soon as you get a chance, catch this band live.

Kindness of Ravens: Okay, first thing’s first—we usually start interviews by stating the name of the individual being interviewed and thereafter, for the sake of brevity, abbreviating the name of the person being interviewed. But that’d make you BO, and that’s no good. Preferred alternate abbreviation? ‘BOber’? ‘BrOb’? Just ‘Brad’? Something more creative?

Brad Oberhofer: You can call me “broberhofer.”

KoR: Tough but fair. So, we just saw you play two of, what, 11 shows in, like, four days at CMJ? What’s up with that? Did you win and/or lose a bet or something? That’s nuts.
Broberhofer: I didn’t lose anything aside from my fingertips, and I didn’t win anything. Just had a super good time!
KoR: Yeah, this was our first time seeing you live, so we just noticed that you play sans guitar pick. Did your hand totally explode cheap-horror-flick-style at the 11th show?
Broberhofer: It didn’t explode, but it definitely bled a little.
KoR: Count yourself lucky. So, speaking of the guitar, your style’s really kinda out there compared to conventional rock picking and strumming. How did you start playing music and how did that style develop, you think? It kinda reminds us of some of the mid-ninties emo guitar work—Cap’n Jazz, Braid, early Promise Ring—but wait, were you like six when that stuff was going down?
Broberhofer: I started playing guitar when I was sixteen and never really tried to learn a technique. Now I’ve just got this style that’s completely impractical and hurts the hell out of my hand.
KoR: Suffering for your art. Tight. Moving on from Musicology 101 to Geography—word on the street is that you hail from Washington state. That’s not exactly the sixth borough, man. How’d you end up in Brooklyn?
Broberhofer: I came to New York to study at NYU.
KoR: They teaches good, I hear. How’s the scene in Takoma or in that part of the state in general?
Broberhofer: It’s awesome! It’s full of the most talented creative people I’ve ever met. Musicians in Tacoma play world-class shows at their friends’ houses and collaborate with their friends to make album art and t-shirts and stuff—a whole bunch of geniuses that don’t have full confidence in their artwork.
KoR: Have you heard of an Olympia band named Kickball? Your guitar/song structure totally reminds us of them in an awesome way.
Broberhofer: I’ve heard the name, haven’t listened, but I’ll check ’em out.
KoR: How do you like it here in Brooklyn?
Broberhofer: I have fun here. I ride my bike every day and like the friends I’ve made. I love my apartment and I think the excitement of Brooklyn is perfect for my life right now.
KoR: So, from what we can tell, most of your songwriting was done very personally—you writing songs for you to perform. But now you’re playing shows with a full band, and a pretty great one, at that—your drummer is especially ass-kicking, we have to say. At their root, the songs still seem essentially true to their core, but they’ve also got a new, more rockingly full sound. Have they been affected by playing with a live band and do you think you’ll end up re-recording some of the material going forward?
Broberhofer: I’ll definitely be re-recording some songs. Though I still have a very clear vision for each song that would be impossible for me to articulate to a band mate, sometimes they’ll play something I like more than my original idea. My music is a complete extension of myself, and I believe that’s why it sounds unique.
KoR: So, as of now, we can order a 7″ via your MySpace page, yeah?
Broberhofer: A link on my MySpace directs you to Insound, where you can order it.
KoR: How else can our readers get ahold of your fine tunes? Any plans for a full-lengthy thing?
Broberhofer: If you email me at oberhofermusic@gmail.com, I’ll send you 7 songs. I’m going to record a full length starting this month.
KoR: Very nice of you. Ya’ll are unsigned, as the kids say, yeah? Any plans for that to change or are you perpetually going to be sticking it to the man?
Broberhofer: Yes we’re unsigned, and we have no plans, but if we meet someone that we love working with that has a clear and ethical idea of better ways to connect with people, then yes.
KoR: Alright, enough of this music, band, on-topic interview talk! Time for random lightening round! Favorite place in Brooklyn?
Broberhofer: Prospect Park.
KoR: Dogs and cats. Who rules, who drools?
Broberhofer: I can’t say who’s better, but I prefer dogs. Namely my dog, Boomerang.
KoR: Very diplomatic of you. Least favorite color?
Broberhofer: I’m into all of them!
KoR: Are you running for office on the companion animal/color wheel platform? Embarrassing nickname growing up?
Broberhofer: B-rad.
KoR: Ouch. If you were a mythical beast, you would be a _____________?
Broberhofer: Phoenix. They’re beautiful.
KoR: It’s true. New band you’re listening to lately? Don’t say Phoenix.
Broberhofer:Makeup Monsters.
KoR: Least favorite thing about NYC/Brooklyn?
Broberhofer: Gross smell and garbage.
KoR: Good news—winter’s better for that. Bad news—it’s hella cold. Best lyric ever?
Broberhofer: “Happiness is a warm gun.”
KoR: That’s from an Outkast song, right? Book you’re reading now?
KoR: Finally, to get all seasonal on yo’ ass, for Halloween, what did you dress up as?
Broberhofer: I didn’t really know what I wanted 2 be for halloween, but here’s a pic uv me nd my friendz getting ready 2 trick or treat 2nyte.
KoR: What the…?
Check out Oberhofer’s excellent Away FRM U, this week’s Song of the Week, hear more on their MySpace page, and email Brad if you want those hott tunez. And lucky readers in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio (do you exist?) can check the band out live tonight, tomorrow, and Wednesday, respectively. Holla!
Top photo by Shawn Brackbill.