This week’s featured artist is Ryan Hobler. In one of the more entertaining interviews we have done with an artist, Hobler refuses to characterize his music into a stock genre. “Ultimately, I just want to be categorized under ‘Good Music,’” Hobler said. “If you’re the type of person who knows how to relish in a quiet moment of a crazy day, or if you’re the type of person who wants to know how to relish in a quiet moment of a crazy day, then you should definitely check out my music.” If you’re that type of person, then check out Hobler’s latest single “The Day We Last Spoke” here from his latest album, The Elusive Yes, and continue reading to learn more about an artist who exemplifies Gadfly’s mission by encouraging listeners to think “critically about themselves and the world around them.”
Gadfly Online: Can you provide us with some background? Where are you from? What made you pursue a career in music?
Ryan Hobler: Sure! I’m from Montclair, New Jersey. From my early teenage years on, I knew I wanted to pursue music. Despite whatever disappointments come with being an artist, I always come back to why I got started in the first place—I enjoy writing and performing music more than anything else in the world. Music has always been a creative, reflective, and emotional outlet for me. It picks me up when I’m down and carries me when I’m up. I’ve been fortunate to know and play with such talented and lovely people for years and years. I still can’t find anything more transcendent than singing harmony with my friends.
GO: How would you characterize your music? Do you fit into a stock genre or create a fusion of genres?
RH: Folk Pop Noir is the phraseology I’ve been using lately. Or maybe Deceivingly Simple Slightly Twisted Folk Cola? Actually Onion Rock may be more fitting because there are sooooo many layers to my songs. WHOA! Sorry my uber-pretentious, inner Shrek just took over. All right, now I’m back. In all seriousness, as far as categorizing my music goes, I don’t think I fit neatly into one or even two genres. I think many other contemporary artists would make the same claim too. Buuuuuuuut since you twisted my arm I would certainly be mostly ok with being stirred around into a Folk, Americana, Pop, Rock, Indie, and Singer-Songwriter kind-of-oatmeal. Ultimately, I just want to be categorized under “Good Music.”
GO: The media release describes your sound as post-modern pop. Can you explain to us what that is?
RH: A clever ploy to get you to ask me that question apparently!
Long answer: The idea behind Post-Modern Pop is to create a mosaic sound that spans the sounds of many music eras at once while twisting them all towards the future. Instead of aping the sound of one particular era (for instance, 80’s dance music) for a very distinct throwback vibe, Post-Modern Pop looks further and deeper in order to mash up much more information at the same time. You can’t quite pinpoint it is the point. Remember that saying: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it?” In today’s day and age, there’s simply too much of music’s rich history readily and often instantly available to us to not be creating Post Modern Pop.
Short answer: Post-Modern Pop is the confused mess of the past hurtling toward the future at Ludicrous speed.
GO: Who would you cite as your musical influence?
RH: Far too many to even mention: Paul Simon, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, Lucius, R.E.M., Aimee Mann, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Fleet Foxes, and Radiohead are the first 9 to come to mind.
GO: What project are you promoting right now? How does this fit into your overall career arc?
RH: I just released my first album, The Elusive Yes in January 2015. I released the majority of the album one single at a time all throughout 2014 and now have the whole thing out in the ether. The album really pushed me to work harder than I have ever worked before. I’m more focused, self-reliant, and driven by my creative pursuits than I have ever been. As far as overall career arc, I feel like I’ve just begun to be honest. Creatively, I am ok with perpetually feeling at the beginning of the arc. There’s so much I have learned but even more that I haven’t. That makes things fun, difficult, and challenging for me, and I thrive off that.
GO: What do you hope to communicate to listeners through your music? What does music mean to you?
RH: Above all else, I want my music to speak to them and move them. I want a listener to connect with the words and music that I’m making and feel something in their soul. If I can do that, I’ve done a good job. One of the greatest gifts for me is when someone tells me a song I’ve written has moved them.
For me, music is the ultimate vehicle for connection. It’s the purest and most immediate route towards authenticity, honesty, and personal experience there is. It’s the boundary breaking, unifying language of the world.
GO: What can we expect from you in the future?
RH: The next phase for me musically will be to reach further out of my comfort zone and be more experimental and daring both lyrically and sonically. What that is? I’m not sure yet…
GO: Whom is your music geared towards? How is it impacting them? In other words, why should we listen to your music and message?
RH: My music is geared towards open, honest, sophisticated and reflective people who are yearning for more from their lives. They think critically about themselves and the world around them.
If you’re the type of person who knows how to relish in a quiet moment of a crazy day, or if you’re the type of person who wants to know how to relish in a quiet moment of a crazy day, then you should definitely check out my music.
For more information about Ryan Hobler, visit his