Stuttgart based singer-songwriter Oliver Earnest, formerly of cult post-rock band Kaufmann Frust, released his debut album The Water Goes The Other Way towards the end of last year via legendary German label Glitterhouse Records. It’s a record that shifts between struggle and hope, atmospheric post-rock, melancholic ballads and swaggering indie pop, all delivered in his rich baritone.
We caught up with Oliver to ask him a few questions about what makes him tick as a musician.
1: What inspires you to write/make music?
I often feel inspired by observations I make in everyday life which lead me to have ideas about a certain line of text and I then work on filling in the blanks between the lines before I sit down to put music to the lyrics.
2: What is the best description of your music that you’ve read/heard in a review?
I felt very flattered when my music and lyrics were likened to the films of Jim Jarmusch. As a big fan that was nice to hear.
3: How important is the visual/aesthetic side of your music and why?
It was very important to me to find an artwork for the record that fits the mood of the songs. Luckily a friend of mine, Julie Kechter, had painted a beautiful painting that fit perfectly and she was kind enough to let me use it for the record.
4: What do you enjoy most and least about playing live?
I enjoy providing the connection between songs and the audience and reliving the songs in a very intense setting. Also of course playing with other people to make a song take flight is a great feeling as well.
I enjoy least, when people aren’t paying attention or are even talk during a set. As well as being disrespecful, it’s extremely distracting and takes my mind off what I’m trying to achieve on stage.
5: Is there a venue or city that you’d especially love to play, and why?
Since I spent my early years in Fort Collins, Colorado, and these years very strongly influenced me as a songwriter and person, I would love to play a concert there sometime. That would be incredible.
6: What is the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a gig?
There once was a guy at a festival who had brought along a guitar he had made out of cardboard and he played along to all of the bands while standing at the front of the stage. Crazy and beautiful moment.
7: If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be and why?
Streaming platforms are a great way to get exposure, but the payouts for the artists is not nearly enough. I would vow for a more artist friendly streaming concept.
8: If you could collaborate with any artist, past or present, who would it be and what would you work on together?
I have written a lot of songs that did not make it on the record and I’m very keen on recording them in the near future. A dream collaborator would be Brian Deck who produced some of my favorite records: Iron and Wine’s Our Endless Numbered Days, Modest Mouse’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Josh Ritter’s The Animal Years.
9: Who is your favourite new band/artist that we should be checking out and what do you like about them?
My current favorite artist is Noga Erez, hip artist from Israel. Her 2021 album Kids is full of incredible rap parts and sounds simply mindblowing. Can’t wait to see her live !
10: If you could give any aspiring musicians one piece of advice, what would it be?
Only write songs and lyrics about stuff you truly care about, people will notice and appreciate it.
The Water Goes The Other Way is out now on Glitterhouse Records
Follow Oliver Earnest on Facebook
Interview by Paul Maps
Photo by Ilkay Karakurt