by Janelle Engle
The first time I had heard Oberhofer’s debut album, Time Capsules II, I immediately had to listen to it again. The album makes you want to be in love, fall in love, fall out of love over and over again. Oberhofer writes lyrics in an almost Taylor Swift heart-on-your- sleeve, gushing-out-his-feelings type of way. But you don’t think cheesy love songs with music which is as mature and sophisticated way as it is fun. The music behind the heartfelt lyrics is anything but simple with intrinsic dance beats and multiple instruments used on every track. To put it more simply, the band says they are “ frantic Baroque punk” and stand by that description as a way of identifying their sound.
The band were a fascinating group to interview since they all had incredible varied interests. From where they grew up to how they got started in the music industry to their hobbies outside music, nothing was even remotely the same. To begin, Oberhofer is the last name of the front man and founder Brad Oberhofer who started the band as a recording project in 2008. After putting out two singles, the band expanded and were asked to put out a full length (Time Capsules II) which has received nothing but positive reviews, including their performance on Letterman. Drummer Pete Sustarsic, bassist Dylan Treleven, guitarist Ben Roth and Matt Scheiner all joined shortly after.
In fact, Oberhofer has had quite the tour experiences even for a band just starting out on the road. One of the stories they had shared with me involved Rubes, their audio engineer with a nickname they lovingly referred to as “ Crash” and a flying motorbike. The minute the story began it already sounded like a disaster waiting to happen. “he motorcycle we had rented had fallen on the ground and Rubes tried to pick it up and somehow he managed to accelerate it while picking up,” laughs Sustarsic. “Instead of letting it go, the motorcycle then ends up launching itself into the air.” They ended the story by collectively saying, unfortunately, they did not end up returning the motorcycle.
I also found out that since being on tour, they had developed an interesting ritual. “We get in a pre show circle, put our hands in middle and then collectively yell ‘ Whoa Bundy!” says Roth. When asked if this was in honor of Ted or Al, they were quick to agree that it was likely in honor of Al, although the ritual had started without any sort of explanation other than that.
When I saw Oberhofer they were opening for Matt and Kim. The crowd was incredibly energetic from the start and welcomed their talented performance with open arms. It was an almost serious performance with a no nonsense approach from the moment the band stepped foot on stage at The Electric Factory. They came to play and give an absolutely amazing performance that felt like it was over before it had even begun. Over all, the live performance had me itching for more and I can understand why the band was expanding more rapidly than most in the industry.
While the growth has been quick and sudden for Brad Oberhofer since starting the band, the 21-year-old has not let the sudden success get to his head. When asked about his age compared to his life experience, Oberhofer spoke like someone with experience beyond his young years. “While I am a physically young person, I have a lot of wisdom for how old I am. Age is irrelevant,” he says. “I’m still learning and we’re all still learning.”
It is that kind of way with words that makes Oberhofer stand out from the rest of the groups within their genre. Addictive, heartfelt lyrics and a talented band each with their own individually to bring to the table makes Oberhofer the band to watch. Despite all their successes, they are just getting started and you can trust they are only going to grow from here.