The Oberlin Review
<< Front page Arts December 9, 2005

Student Record Label Releases Album
Giddy-up: The Obedient Pony record label gives opportunties to the College’s student bands.

While the specific origins of Obedient Pony Records are clouded in mystery, the label’s mission is very clear: to document the musical exploits of the Oberlin community, warts and all. Seniors Eric Zibbel and Alli Katz founded the label with the intention to create an unflaringly honest portrait of a community rife with creativity.

Much like the artists who comprise the label’s bi-annual compilations — who, more often than not, have never picked up an instrument before setting foot on campus — Obedient Pony’s painstakingly hand-packaged CD-Rs illustrate a thoroughly grassroots approach and aesthetic not unlike the humble beginnings of K Records.

This writer has always seen the nature of the Oberlin experience as one of a gigantic social in which all participants are allowed to be as creative as they like, regardless of intrinsic ability or prior experience; in other words, the Oberlin environment is extremely conducive to exploring uncharted creative avenues and I feel the Obedient Pony compilations are a fantastic testament to this particular facet of the Oberlin experience.

I got a chance to chat with the core members of the OPONY (as the label is affectionately dubbed) staff via e-mail:

Jon Pfeffer: Could you tell me a little about yourself (hometown, major, interests, etc.) and how you became involved with the Oberlin music scene?
Eric Zibbel: I think this is [ir]relevant. This project is about creating a stronger Oberlin musical community.  We’d prefer if this article doesn’t necessarily concentrate on a few individuals but more on the label.

JP: How did you come up with the idea for Obedient Pony? Where does the name come from?
EZ: It was actually the idea of Alli Katz when we were sophomores. Alli Katz: I had a helluva time helping Eric out with a recording during the spring. We both had a bunch of friends in a bunch of bands, and thought it would be amazing if we could record them, too. So we did. And still are. The name is all Eric, though. He’s a genius. ‘Cause it’s OPONY, get it? Obedient and Oberlin...right?

JP: Will Obedient Pony soldier on after you’ve graduated?
AK: The ExCo has a good mix of kids, and even though Eric’s out at the end of this semester, Bernie Bergmann and I will be doing another release in the spring, and he’s staying through next year, and it will last forever that way.

JP: Who are your personal favorite local Oberlin groups and why?
EZ: I like them all.AK: They’re all my favorite. Especially mine. And Eric’s.

JP: What makes Oberlin’s music scene unique or special to you?
AZ: These bands are doing cool things, but they’re all just other students. People you see at parties, or in classes, or at DeCafé.Erica Kramer (ExCo member, drummer for Lesbian Mom Knifefight): People are so hungry for live music at Oberlin that they are even willing to listen to bands that suck a lot. Like my band, we’re terrible but people really seem to like us and that is cool to me.

JP: Finally, what do you see as Obedient Pony’s legacy or contribution to Oberlin College?
EZ: Three or four CDs. 

The Obedient Pony Fall 2005 Record Release Party is happening tomorrow at the ’Sco. The festivities start at 9 p.m. and will feature live performances by Falcon, dancerockinfinity, the Gisettes and Pfeffer’s band, Capillary Action.


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