The LC Pavillion | November 14, 2012 | Columbus, OH
photos by Erika Mugglin
For some reason or another (probably my dyslexia), I associate the name Oberhofer with images of a peaceful European field, filled with prancing deer and red windmills. Named after frontman and founder Brad Oberhofer, the band crafts music that sounds more suited for a trampoline party, energetic, bouncy… However, I can’t help but notice subtle strains of somber isolation in some of their lyrics. If you’re not familiar with them, you may recognize their song “o0Oo0Oo” from a recent rooftopT-Mobile commercial.
Erika, my fabulous friend, photographer for the evening, and close friend of the band, was already inside when I arrived. I was chronically late, frazzled after a long day at work, now dismayed there was already huge group of people shivering in line, waiting to get the best spot for the show with Matt & Kim. I politely excused my way to the front of the crowd of pursed lipped teenaged girls who became even poutier when I explained to the doorman that I was on the list. I smiled wryly to myself as I slipped past them and walked into the empty, huge venue.
The band was still soundchecking, so Erika and I made good use of the time and tossed some possible interview questions around. My brain felt utterly fried. But I was thrilled to see the Oberhofer crew again. We had met at several of their Ohio shows a few times before, but I never had the opportunity to snag an interview. The music stopped and guitarist Matthew Schneider came bounding out and gave me and Erika a huge hug. We headed outside and climbed into their brand new tour bus (which was welcomingly warm) for the interview. Brad, and drummer Pete Sustarsic were already on board, shortly followed by bassist Dylan Treleven and guitarist Ben Roth.
JITP: I hear this is the first time you guys are touring in a bus. How’s that experience been?
Ben: It’s been nice. We have to worry about driving a lot less, you know, which is, uh, uh, something we, we’ve done a lot of up until this point.
Matt: Particularly him. He was the DD.
Ben: Yeah. We can sleep on here at night which is very comfortable. It’s sort of a little bumpy but, you know. It’s been nice. Though it isn’t officially a bus. It’s more like a human box truck.
JITP: Yeah, let’s talk about it since people can’t see the actual bus. Describe the human-box-truck for the readers.
Dylan: It’s basically a, uh… a box truck that’s been converted into an RV. So, it has bunks over here. There’s a flat screen TV.
Ben: There’s a refrigerator.
Dylan: Uh, you’ll notice it has a microwave and a built-in sound system.
Ben: There’s a showering room in the back with a sink.
Ben: And a toilet room.
Matt: There’s a fridge.
Dylan: No pooping in the toilet.
JITP: No? Is that an official rule?
Dylan: It’s a rule.
Ben: It was the first rule actually. Number one rule of Truckbus.
Pete: Rule one, no number two. [Laughter]
Ben: That’s a good one.
JITP: I heard you guys got stuck in a ditch last night or this morning.
Pete: In my parents’ driveway. I mean we didn’t get, uh, actually stuck in the mud or in the ditch but we got stuck at the end of the driveway. It was hard to…we couldn’t go forward or backwards. But we weren’t up to our hubs in mud. It was just a thing…it was a maneuvering thing. It wasn’t that, uh, tragic. We got out of it.
JITP: It sounded pretty epic but…well, I imagined it being quite epic.
Pete: The pictures made it look a lot worse than it was.
JITP: So, how has tour been so far other than getting stuck in the ditch?
Pete: It’s been relatively smooth. Smooth going.
Brad: Yeah, it’s been really fun. We’ve seen a lot of things, had a crazy year.
JITP: How crazy?
Pete: Just crazy. A lot of touring. A lot of touring this year.
Brad: Extremely crazy.
Matt: Pretty much everything that I never thought was going to be on my radar, I’ve got to do this year…
Brad: Yeah, he doesn’t even own a boat. [Grins sheepishly]
Matt: [Addressing Brad] Like, sonar? laughs Okay, I get it now. [Back to JITP] Like playing on the Late Show and playing at festivals like the big festivals.
JITP: What were some of the festivals you guys played this year? From what I was seeing on fest line-ups and announcements, you played a ton.
Matt: [sarcastically] Uh, there’s this one called Lollapoloza. You might have heard of it?
JITP: [joking] Yeah? Yeah… I think I have.
Matt: I think it’s new. I think…
Brad: We played Lollapoloza, Bonaroo, Coachella Festival, Austin City Limits. We played Oya Festival in Oslo. Way out West in Sweden. Um, Reading and Leeds. Pinkpop in the Netherlands, a few other small festivals in Europe…and North by Northeast in Canada.
JITP: I heard good things about North by Northeast.
Brad: Actually… It’s where [Erika (photographer) and I] met for the first time.
JITP: Awww! Personal connections!
Erika: Known each other so long now.
Brad: It’s been a long time.
JITP: This is the first time I’ve interviewed you guys, even though I’ve known you for a couple years and you’ve played in Columbus many times. So I have to ask, how did you all meet each other? I don’t think I ever got that story. Because, [Brad], this is originally your project, right?
Brad: Yes, that’s right.
Pete: I met Brad in Brooklyn. He had a version of the band going for a couple shows, and the first drummer didn’t work out. And a friend of mine was talking to his manager and recommended me. Brad and I got together in Bushwick and started practicing together.
Ben: Yeah, Brad and Dylan and I know each other from high school.
JITP: Did you all grow up in New York?
Brad: I grew up in Tacoma, Washington.
JITP: Wow, opposite coast! What brought you over to New York?
Brad: I came to New York to go to school.
Ben: I went over there earlier this year to go on tour with this band.
Matt: And I - Brad called me, I got a somewhat unsolicited phone call from Brad, uh, in August of 2010, after I’d been away on a really long trip, and asked me if this is - the guitar slot was, uh, a gap, at that moment.
JITP: I heard you [Brad] are known for your crazy dreams. So, I think we should swap some dream stories, ‘cause we‘ve all had some crazy dreams…
Dylan: The rest of us don’t dream at all, actually, ever.
Matt: Brad hogs all the dream space. [laughter]
Dylan: Suck it all right out of the room.
Pete: I did have dream the other night, though, that our driver was dating Madonna. Our driver’s named Paul, and he was like, they were a couple. It was a split second of a dream, but they were obviously a couple, and were going to go do something, he was, “All right, see you guys.”
JITP: Totally normal? No second guessing the oddity in your dream?
Pete: Yeah. I probably realized, like, that’s pretty cool. Paul and Madonna.
Ben: Can I share a friend’s dream, actually? They’re just way more interesting than my recent dreams. Uh, my friend, she’s a drummer in sort of a stoner doom metal band called Orbweaver. And, uh, she had this dream that she was in a tree, with her legs spread open. She’s stuck up in a tree, and there’s this gigantic spider with like a bunch of teeth and like blood coming out of his mouth and one just gigantic eye, like hissing at her crotch and trying to crawl inside of her.
JITP: Wow… (I was utterly horrified)
Brad: That’s awesome!
JITP: That is INSANE… (still horrified)
Ben: It’s funny, because her band’s name is Orbweaver, which is a spider.
Erika: That’s like the stuff of nightmares. Yeah, it’s…oh God. It’s awful.
Ben: I think that’s the most interesting dream I’ve heard of recently.
JITP: Now all I can think about is spiders crawling in my vagina.
Ben: [smiling] You’re welcome!
Brad: My most recent dream was extremely vague, but also extremely pleasant. I think it was two nights ago that I had a dream that I was just with friends, sitting in a field around a waterfall. Actually, yeah. And that was all I remember of the dream. It was really pleasant.
JITP: Sounds pretty peaceful. Better than spiders, crawling up vaginas, or trying to.
Ben: Vaginal spiders! Be on the lookout. Health class poster.
JITP: Yeah. Should think of some health class PSAs. Yeah… Sorry, I can’t… I am getting super focused on that right now.
Matt: Chlamydia is not a flower. [laughter] That’s actually a video on YouTube.
Matt: It’s not a real PSA. It happens to be very funny, but… , somebody made it as a joke. [pauses] Chlamydia is not a flower.
Erika: Words to live life by.
JITP: Let’s talk about your upcoming album. When does it come out… what was the writing process…?
Brad: It’s going to come out sometime in January of 2013. I basically demoed some songs at home, and then worked on,it with everyone else after, you know, after I’d done some ideas. Sort of reworked it with everyone. And we recorded everything together.
Pete: In the studio, yeah, we kind of did our own parts. We would listen to Brad’s demo and then add our own parts in the studio.
JITP: What would you say are the biggest differences between this album and the last?
Brad: Well, this is five people on every song, the last record was me playing most of the parts. And Ben wasn’t even on the last record, and you know Dylan - Dylan and I played on about half the songs, and Pete played on a couple of the songs, And this is more, this is more collaborative than that.
JITP: You play a lot shows here and around Ohio.
Pete: We’re coming to Ohio because of me.
Dylan: Ohio comes to us, really.
Ben: It’s true. Ohio brings it.
Pete: Yeah, we’ve played Cleveland clubs a bunch of times, Cincinnati maybe twice. Played outdoors once, and then we played at the Motor Pub once. Maybe three times, I’m not really sure.
JITP: What do you guys plan on doing with your time off after the tour?
Ben: Thanksgiving, in Hawaii.
JITP: That’s nice.
Dylan: Find a job.
JITP: What kind of work are you looking for?
Dylan: Oh, bartending, or I’ve done some stagehand work, I’ll try to get in with the stagehand’s union in New York. I worked with the Seattle stagehand’s union. Coffee shop, or anything that I can kind of leave when I need to.
Matthew: I’m going to take up archery.
Brad: I’m probably going to spend some time - I don’t really have an apartment or anything, and I found a cabin in the woods in the Catskills for pretty cheap. So I’m just going to stay there for awhile.
JITP: Any words to live life by?
Brad: Oh yeah.
It can sometimes be good
to be misunderstood.
Ben: Uh, suck up. [laughter]
Dylan: I’ve got a new EP coming out. The band is called Sun Signs.
Brad: Oh, there’s a new Sun Signs EP?
Dylan: Just now. I haven’t heard it, I mean it’s not finished.
JITP: It’s coming? Cool. What kind of music is it?
Dylan: It’s electronic stuff, a lot of sampling. It’s kind of [noises] down tempo, like…
Brad: It’s like - there’s a video on Sun Sign’s page. It’s really fucking cool.
Dylan: It sounds a little bit different but it’ll be experimental.
JITP: [Brad] I also heard that you have a side project that you’ve been working on? Traveling around with one of your friends, want to talk about that a little bit?
Brad: Oh wow, that’s really recent. Um, yeah, my friend has a band called “Shadow Walker.” And, um, I’m playing guitar. I toured with them down the west coast, just for like the first week and a half of January.
JITP: Mm-hmm. That’s very cool. What’s it like? What does it sound like?
Brad: Um…I don’t know.
JITP: It’s a secret?
Brad: Just look up “Shadow Walker.”
Oberhofer's new album is slated for release this spring. Keep an eye out for tour dates which should be announced soon.