Nov 5, 2012
Well me, but also the band Oberhofer! They will swing by First Avenues' Mainroom on Wednesday November 7th to open for Matt and Kim. Now I was lucky enough to get an interview with the lovely frontman of the band, Brad Oberhofer. And here it is! But first I'll let you know that I'll be covering the show on wednesday so be expecting a review with pictures!
AYR: So first off, how was your summer hitting up all the major festivals?
Brad Oberhofer: It was really fun, we had a good time. It's been crazy.
AYR: What did the sold out Austin City Limits have to offer to you guys? What was the crowd like?
BO: It was amazing. Biggest crowd we've ever played actually. I think the crowds just keep getting bigger and bigger.
AYR: What's been one of the best things to come out of releasing your debut full length?
BO: I've had a new understanding of myself. When it's your first record you think about how you're sharing this with the universe so it better be good. It was really perfected. But you also get time to change to so it's not the lasting impression for everyone.
AYR: How was it working with such a legendary producer (Stever Lillywhite) on your first album? That must've been incredible.
BO: It was fun. You keep some demos. Play the song. Start with guitar and then he'll say something like "I know you can do better!"
AYR: What were your intentions when starting Oberhofer?
BO: There was no intentions. I just wanted to get started on music.
AYR: How has it been touring with Matt and Kim for the past month and a half?
BO: It's been awesome. They are really nice, curtious, respectful and fun.
AYR: Who is the band you dream most of opening for?
BO: Hmm... Probably David Bowie. I'd say him most.
AYR: Can you explain the naming on your songs? Very similar to a lot of Prince song titles in TXT language.
BO: It's how they end up titled. It has to feel right. And if it feels right, that's how it is.
AYR: What is your favorite part of Minneapolis? I know you've been here a couple of times, once opening for local favorites Tapes n' Tapes and once headling yourselves. Have you done any sightseeing?
BO: Must say I haven't done any sightseeing. One of my favorite shows ever was at the 7th Street Entry. There was a huge storm and it was really hot. We were in the middle of our show and I just said, I'm going out in the rain if anyone cares to join me. Then like 40-50 people ran out in the rain and we just ran in the streets.
AYR: So finally, what advice would you give to any teen musicians trying to make it in the music scene?
BO: Be nice to everyone.
89.3 the Current and City Pages present:
Matt and Kim w/ Oberhofer
Wednesday, November 7th
Adv. $17/Doors $20
Hope You're Rockin!
Oct 19, 2012
Max Timander: How did your whole band come to be in the first place? Was it always you and Maya?
Ian Hamerlinck: Originally we started it in middle school actually. It was me, Maya, and a couple other buddies. That never really amounted to anything and after some lineup changes, we changed our name and became the Narw!als. But Maya and I have always been in the band together, yeah.
MT: Awesome that you guys have stayed together this long. Can I ask, What is the inspiration to one of the more unusual songs lyrically on the CD, Snakes in Hawaii?
IH: Oh god. Yeah. See, we used to have this chalk board in our practice space that we would write lyrics on that we thought sounded cool. Snakes is essentially a combination of all those, at least as far as the lyrics go.
MT: Wow haha, I was thinking it was a pretty random song, but I definitely like the background story of it. What was it like recording your EP in the studios of McNally Smith College of Music?
IH: Oh it's awesome. The whole thing felt super professional and working with Chris and Andy to make this EP has been a really valuable experience for us. It's really interesting to see how people approach the recording process. Having recorded the basic tracks for all the songs in one day, it all seemed to come together really fast.
MT: One day? How did you accomplish all 6 songs and make them so nice?
IH: Well, we practiced a bunch before we went into the studio so that we could get in and get out as soon as possible to save some cash. Granted, we added vocals and some instrumentation afterwards. But all the songs were written and solidified beforehand.
MT: I can tell, they sound so amazing! Who were your inspirations for the YeahYeahCoolYeah EP?
IH: Thanks! That's a tough question actually... I don't think we've ever really discussed our musical influences or anything. I mean, I've always considered the Pixies and the Velvet Underground to be big influences for myself. But some of the songs on the EP were ones we had written awhile ago that we finally decided to come back to. I don't know... it's really hard to say. Sorry, that's probably not helpful at all.
MT: No that's totally fine! Haha, so what sparked you to write the Cities 97 sounding anthem, Who Watches You?
IH: Hahaha. We wrote that song with our old drummer and I think the goal was to try and write a more serious song that wasn't a huge four chord jam. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It was just a nice change of pace. I guess you could say it's somewhat of a love song, though I wouldn't contribute it to any particular event.
MT: When did you start writing songs and what would you say about your first tune? Do you still play it?
IH: I think I started to attempt to write songs when I was 14. They were all really angsty teenager songs that I would never even dare to play again. Looking back on it, I'm really glad that I was too shy at the time to record any of them or put them out on the internet. That would have been pretty embarrassing actually.
MT: Haha, do any of them mean anything to you now?
IH: No not really. They're more like jokes to me now, not that I take our current tunes too seriously either.
MT: Do you think that Southwest has had an impact on your music in anyway?
IH: No not really. Not to sound stuck up or anything, but I just don't feel like the school has had much of an impact on us.
MT: That makes sense to me. What are your plans to continue the Narw!als into college?
IH: Not sure yet. We're definitely gonna try and do a bunch of summer shows this year. We're just taking it one step at a time right now. Regardless, I'm sure we'll all keep doing music in college whether or not it's as the Narw!als.
MT: That's great to hear, considering I know that many people are loving your new EP and are wanting more! My last question for you is, what advice would you give to any other teen bands about recording a CD?
IH: Practice more than you think you need to before recording and take lots and lots of cake breaks. Those are the most important things to remember.
MT: Who could resist taking a cake break? Thanks for your time! I love the record!
IH: Thanks man! It was fun talking to you.
Best Songs: Underwater Volcano and Catcher
Hope You're Rockin!
Oct 10, 2012
MT: So what has been the absolute coolest thing about Howler blowing up in England?
JG: Being able to travel there often and experience the madness first hand.
What is your response to the critics, local and national that have been saying your album is no more special than anyone elses?
I have no response. Some people like it and get it. Some people don't. It's the same for any band out there.
What do you tend to think about when you're writing your songs?
Writing music is like meditating. I have to find my own space and clear my mind completely. Things come through that way.
I know you've been on the Road lately touring behind your new album "America Give Up". Does it get tiring playing shows daily? Does your music get boring to you after awhile?
It becomes a repetition so that you don't even really think about the songs anymore. You just do them. It can be tiring, but never boring. Playing to a large and engaged audience is a lot of fun. Every time.
Who taught you to play guitar? Do you still connect with them today?
Paul Umbarger. We stay in touch.
Have any local bands been an inspiration to you while you were growing up?
I loved the Replacements. They were (and perhaps still are) my favorite band. Paul Westerberg is the reason Howler is the way it is. From attitude to outlook.
I understand you had some Southwest kids in Howler last year. Whatever happened to those guys?
They had too much stuff going on. I don't think they could commit 100%. And at the time, I wanted a firm commitment. I don't think it was the right match anyway. They go to college in Portland and Nashville now.
What advice would you give to high school students that are in bands of there own?
Play with as many people as you can. Don't be afraid to start bands and even more importantly, don't be afraid to break up bands. Sometimes the best things are built out of ashes.
I have to be careful with this question don't I? I'm sure Southwest is cool. But De was the shit!
I hope everyone can agree that he chose the wrong answer for that last question. Anyway....the album has many highlights and one of the biggest of those right off the bat is the first song. “Beach Sluts” delivers constant fun and is an upbeat song. It was the first song that really caught my attention when I listened to it. The real highlight that got them attention was their This One’s Different EP which was released last summer. Even before that though you may have heard of them because of their co-headlining show with Southwest Alumni and Rapper, Tony Williams (AKA Atlas) last year at the Depot Coffeeshop.
In a recent interview with the Guardian, Jordan was asked if there was a strong music scene in Minneapolis. His reply was appalling to hear for most Minnesotans. In Jordan’s exact words, “Screw em. Yeah, it's weird, because the 80s saw a great hardcore and punk rock scene, Hüsker Dü kind of being the leaders of it, and the Replacements as well. And Prince was there, which was a whole different thing all together. Completely different, but yeah, I feel like there's this giant lull period of like 30 years.” He also singled out local band, 4onthefloor by calling them “Mumford & Sons crap”, which made a lot of people mad. Although he did sound somewhat remorseful after making these statements, it does not make up for the fact that he completely dissed the town he grew up in. I hope that in the future he uses better judgement when talking about his hometown. I must say though, he sure did make an amazing album!
Best Tracks: “Back of Your Neck” and “Beach Sluts”
Album Rating: A+
Oct 8, 2012
Album Rating: C+
Jun 12, 2012
Feb 29, 2012
Album Rating: B-
Feb 4, 2012
GT: "Well it’s a real toss-up between Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Howlin’ Wolf is a close second, but I would say that Bo and Chuck are probably tied for first. We can call it, I like the music of Bo Chuck or we’ll call it Diddley Chuck or Chuck Diddley or Bo Berry."
MT: Even on your hit song, "Bad To The Bone" you had some similar structures to that of Muddy Waters, She moves me. Did any of your songs come from listening to tracks like these?
GT: "A lot of them. Actually, on that song we had the artist Muddy Waters in mind for him to cover that song, but he passed on it. Then, we offered it to Bo Diddley who wanted to do it, but he didn’t have a record label at the time. So we had Muddy Waters in mind to begin with."
MT:What have you been doing in between your last album the Dirty Dozen?
GT: "Touring and working on recording 2120 South Michigan Ave!"
MT: Over you career which has spanned almost 40 years now who of the greats have you met and have you met with/played with any of the Chess Records founding fathers?
GT: "Whoa! 40 years… yes to all the above. I have been fortunate to, let’s just keep it to Chess at this point, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley I have become friendly with and I have had the pleasure of working with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. And you know Buddy Guy, he is not really on Chess, but he has been affiliated with it. I have had a couple experiences with Billy Dickson that went well."
MT: For a very amateur musician, like
myself or any of the young people reading, What advice would you give to them about starting a music career?
GT: "Stay out of Italian cars and don’t eat fried food."
MT: My band Stereo Confession is just starting High school and I personally would like to know how hard it is too make music while in this time period?
GT: "It’s hard in any time period. Play for personal pleasure and eventually all the things you want will come to you."
So I discovered during this interview that he is a truly great guy. The CD is really great to listen to with the classic blues feel. I hope people take a listen to this classic musicians newest album and buy it. He should make his annual round this summer playing a place like the Minnesota Zoo or so. So go check him out!
Best Tracks: "Let It Rock", "Bo Diddley"
Hope You're Rockin!