Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers — who recently joined forces to create the musical duo Better Oblivion Community Center and dropped a surprise album Wednesday evening (Jan. 23) — sat down with Billboard to chat about how they first met each other, why they decided to go with an “emo” but “funny” band name, and what fans can expect from their collaborative sound.
Oberst and Bridgers tell Billboard that they first met each other when they were playing an event called the Swampy Soiree at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles. “That was the first time I heard her sing,” Oberst recalls, “And I was totally blown away by that experience.”
After that, Oberst sang on her record, she supported him on his European tour, and they decided to form a band together.
As for why the pair decided to name that band Better Oblivion Community Center, Oberst explains, “Since we have a penchant for morose songwriting, we thought a sort of emo band name would be funny.”
“I think it encapsulates both the idea of some kind of impending doom,” he continues, “But since the word community is in it, it’s like, well you’re not alone in this, we’re all kind of in this thing together. So I think it has a nice positive spin on that.”
Asked what fans can expect from Better Oblivion Community Center, Bridgers replies that it is actually much more fun than people might expect from them.
“I agree with that,” says Oberst. “It’s more fun than you’d expect and I think it’s its own thing. I think that’s another reason we wanted to have a band name and approach it as its own project, as opposed to Phoebe featuring Conor or visa-versa, because I think it has its own identity and we’re super proud of the record and we hope people listen to it, check it out.”
You can watch the full video interview with Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers above.