Last Wednesday night was pretty crazy when Oberhofer took the stage at Mercury Lounge for CMJ. As a New Yorker, he seemed to have a lot of friends and supporters at the show to see some of the craziness he does on stage. At one point during the show he hopped off stage mid-song, grabbed a trashcan, sat on a chair and started throwing some shit out. It was bizarre, yet I was fascinated by his odd charm.
How’s CMJ been so far? Is this your first one?
It’s been going really well. I’ve done it for 3 years.
So what was going on with that whole trashcan situation?
I saw a lot of trash on the ground and I just went out and found a trashcan. I brought it in and I just put some trash in it in front of everyone so they saw that it was a trash can. I saw a lot of people put trash in the trash can so they just didn’t leave it on the floor. I don’t do it at every show, I just noticed the trash tonight. Not some kind of metaphorical reference.
How’s the reaction to your latest album Chronovision?
It’s been great, I haven’t heard anything negative. I’ve only heard positive stuff from hundreds and hundreds of people.
How is it different compared to your first album?
I produced most of it and the vibe is a little bit more sophisticated, the feelings are more sinister yet optimistic, fatalist.
What’s your favorite off the album?
Don’t have a favorite, but I like “Listen to Everyone” the most. The two bookends, the beginning and the end are my favorite parts from that.
I heard you had to write 106 demos to create this album.
I didn’t HAVE to, I just did. You have to write a lot of songs to figure out what you need on your album, to figure out what you’re going for and for your label to approve of it. When you sign a record deal, you can’t release anything unless your label approves it. That’s just how it works. That’s just cost of being in a record label. You don’t get to release anything you want. It needs quality control. So it took me a long time to release a record, come up with demos and songs that I really liked and the label also liked. I would not be able to ever release something under contract that was only one and all the others. If you want to sign to a record label, then you’re making public music and you’re making music to sell other people for a living under contract. So you have to be at least a little bit concerned as to whether or not other people will like it. But you don’t want to write music with that in mind, which I didn’t do. I just kept writing songs and 12 out of the 106 that I wrote ended up being okay by everyone’s standards. And I didn’t compromise at all, and I just wrote music the way I wanted to write it until 12 songs ended up feeling right.
How long was the whole process?
Are you a fan of posting on social media?
I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan, but I use it because its a popular media and its a way to interact with people and a way to present your personality and your character. However if it didn’t exist, other people would pay more attention to other things that aren’t social media oriented. So I’m a fan of people interacting and people being passionate about artists and people paying attention to what artists do and listening to them. However, given the fact that social media is so heavily saturated you have to do hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of interviews for anyone to pay attention to anything, and it all just gets lost in a massive sea of social media. Everyone’s got hundreds and thousands of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followers. It’s all there, its all in the open and everyone has a bunch and there’s not really much selectivity.
Do you always take care of the merchandise table?
I always go to the merch table so I can meet people, talk to them, and make sure they know that I’m available and let them know that I’m a real human who likes to interact with people and cares about other people.
Are you a vegetarian?
I’m a vegetarian- well, I eat fish. I’m a pescetarian. I don’t really classify myself, I don’t have rules so, I mostly don’t eat meat. For the most part.
For your health or ethical reasons?
Because of both, or for whatever reason. I haven’t eaten meat in a long time. I used to be able to eat white meat and now I just feel really bad eating it, and I can’t. I’ve just filtered it out of my life. I don’t need it, I don’t depend on it, it doesn’t really change the way I feel. And I’m really glad because it’s wasteful. I don’t need to support that industry. I’d rather support local farmers and people that make really healthy food and cook vegetables. I’d rather spend my money on that rather than spending money on crazy factory farm industry that just kills animals. If you go to farmers markets, it’s cheap as hell. It’s cheaper than non-organic food at the grocery store! I go to a farmers market every Sunday in New York and I get tons of vegetables and they’re so cheap I can’t believe it.