Out of the bedroom and into the indie bloodstream ...
Tacoma, Wash., native Brad Oberhofer started writing songs and making lo–fi demos with ProTools and a computer when he was barely out of middle school. He picked up a broken guitar and taught himself to play it, in that sweet, naive way the musically innocent have.
He’s 21 now, and the indie press has embraced his quirky, melodic and utterly charming pastiche of the Ramones, the Beach Boys and a dozen other bands you could name. None of them, of course, related in any sort of cognizant manner.
Oberhofer played and sang every note on Time Capsules II, his first record, creating a sort of hazy, beautiful chaos.
He’s since moved to New York, started a band and added energy and raucousness to the stage show.
On the eve of their first album for Glassnote Records (Mumford and Sons, the Temper Trap), Oberhofer (the band) headlines the opening–night party for the Savannah Stopover Festival, in Telfair Square, before heading out to Austin and a return appearance at SXSW March 14.
The album drops two weeks later. “I recorded most of it by myself,” Oberhofer tells us. “But the guys in the band play on a couple songs.”
A music–crazy kid
“When I was a teenager, I hit that point and it just became my life pretty much. My mom’s an opera singer, but I spent most of my childhood sort of rebelling against that. I was really into rapping from kind of a young age. It sounds kinda weird, but I was hit by a car and had a concussion. I was walking around my house afterwards and came up with the idea for a melody. And that was when I first started writing melodic music. That’s really right when something changed for some reason. I was 13.”
“Basically, experimentation is coming up with ideas and trying them out, right? And the same goes for composition. I don’t think anybody who writes music is ever 100 percent sure that every part works. You know what feels right; everything is intuitive, you know? Everything in life is intuitive.”
Connecting with listeners
“I love that. It feels great! It’s the nicest feeling ever! All I really care about ... I feel like I’d be fine if I died tomorrow so long as someone was inspired by my music. What I care about is that it makes somebody happy. I don’t really have any plans in mind. I’m just glad that anyone cares.”
“It’s just warm, and everyone is in a good mood. Everyone’s just running around trying to get to places, but also just hanging out. It’s kind of like a huge wait–and–hurry–up type place. Some of the best times I ever had were at SXSW last year.”
Recording with the band
“I play them the recordings I have. Sometimes there are certain notes that just have to be played, but a lot of the time Pete, who plays drums, and Matt, who plays guitar, and Ben, who plays bass right now, they come up with really cool ideas. And we use them. We actually collaborate, and it makes the live show actually a real thing.”
Savannah Stopover: Oberhofer
Where: Jepson Center, 207 W. York St.
When: At 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 7