Watch Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers tell us all about their surprise new album ‘Better Oblivion Community Center’

Watch our interview with the band above

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst have just dropped a surprise collaborative album as ‘Better Oblivion Community Center’. Watch our video interview with the duo above.

With a name to conjure “the duality of impending doom mixed with a positive about all being in this together”, the former Bright Eyes frontman and alt-folk hero produced the record together, uniting in a “garage rock” jam session mentality to work with Andy LeMaster, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist Nick Zinner, Autolux and Jack White drummer Carla Azar, Dawes’ rhythm section Wylie Gelber and Griffin Goldsmith, songwriter Christian Lee Hutson, and bassist Anna Butterss.

Asked why they chose to release the album by surprise, Bridgers told NME: “I really wanted to, because even before we started this I had a really good idea of what our hypothetical band would sound like. I don’t think it does like sound that, so I wanted to make sure that people didn’t think it was going to sound a certain way. It’s not duet-y. I think we stayed pretty true to it being its own band.”

Oberst continued: “When records are coming out and you hear just one song off it, I feel like a lot of people get lazy and just fill in the blanks. Like ‘Oh, this is what it’s all gonna be like’, then they form their own misconceptions. So it’s fun to have people hear the whole thing at once and get the full album experience.”

Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers. Credit: Nik Freitas

Having previously recorded together on Bridgers’ track ‘Would You Rather’, their partnership grew ‘gradually’ as the pair discovered a more live, rock and organic sound, fighting against any folk-y expectation that people may have had of them.

“We had a joke that the record size kept getting bigger,” Bridgers told NME. “We wrote a song together and it was fun. It doesn’t immediately fit into one of our styles. It was kind of its own style already so we were like ‘Maybe we should put out a 7inch or something. Then we kept writing writing songs and…

“We were like ’10inches are cool!'” Oberst interrupts. “Then it just ended up being a full record.”

Watch our full interview above as the duo tell NME about their writing process, their ‘Lennon & McCartney’ dynamic, the lyrical inspiration and theme of the album, the impact of working in LA, what to expect from their upcoming tour, their hopes for the future and how Nick Zinner may very well be a vampire… 

Better Oblivion Community Center

Better Oblivion Community Center, an album by Better Oblivion Community Center, Phoebe Bridgers, Conor Oberst on Spotify

Check back at NME soon to see more of our interview with Oberst and Bridgers.