Interview: Overcoats

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We caught up with New York based duo, Overcoats, minutes before they hit the stage at their sold out show at Rock and Roll Hotel. We chatted about one place they must stop when in the District, their newest single "I Don't Believe Us," and much more. Read below for more from Overcoats. 

You just released the deluxe version of your debut album, Young. It includes an acoustic version of "Kai's Song" and your new single, "I Don't Believe in Us." It's much more pop than anything you've ever released, and the visuals you previewed on Twitter featured vibrant pink and yellow. Is this signaling a change in direction for your next album? Was there any intention behind juxtaposing your usual style?  

I think our sound and who we are as people is constantly evolving. We've recently gravitated towards more of a pop sound and that's reflected in the melodies and sonic choices in I Dont Believe In Us"-- who knows where we will be mentally and aesthetically when we sit down to record our second album! We like that we're adding a pop of color these days, definitely makes for dank tour outfits. Our debut album and it's accompanying aesthetic was very true to who we were during that time in our lives. The album was the culmination of a two year journey as we transitioned out of college and out of relationships. We always want our music to reflect our lives. Our new song does exactly that, it marks a hardening-- an understanding that perhaps fairytales don't exist. But it also portrays the hope we have and the determination to keep fighting--and perhaps the choice to believe in something, even if everyone is trying to convince you otherwise. Dare to dream.  

I would say a big part of the appeal with artists like yourselves is the bare honestly in your writing. Hana, you said it to Billboard, you have "lyrics that sound like a diary entry that you weren’t supposed to see." How natural was it for you to share those intimate pieces of yourself in music, and did you have to grow to that point? Tell us about that journey.

Unfortunately, we think the best lyrics come from practically oversharing. We discovered this when we sat down to write together for the first time. Admitting the ugliest truths about a situation or a relationship made us actually feel something in what we were writing, and honestly was our first experience of therapy. It was such a relief to share these things with each other, and to be able to turn the feelings into something more beautiful. 

You guys are known for your amazing covers! Has anyone that you have covered reached out graciously? Are there any covers you have seen of your music that has blown you away?

We're still astounded by the fact that anyone could be doing covers of our music. It's such a bizarre and humbling feeling to watch other people, especially other young women, sing our words. One of our favorite experiences was after a show in Charlottesville, two girls from an acapella group came up to us and told us that they sing Hold Me Close with their group. So naturally we begged them to do a rendition. And they were so fantastic, they sang it so beautifully and by the end all four of us were singing together at the top our lungs by the merchandise table.

Let's talk about collaboration. What's the biggest advantage and biggest disadvantage about working towards a unique creative vision as a duo?
 
The biggest advantage is that you get to make something that's greater than the sum of its parts. We make something together that we couldn't make ourselves. Not sure about a disadvantage - maybe that it's hard when you get writers block, TOGETHER. 

I first saw you on tour with Matt Corby at Black Cat, then you did another round at 930. You've also done a handful of other shows at different venues in DC. What's one place you must stop at when you're in the District?

Welp, Hana's parents' house, because that's where we always stay. We love playing with her dog and scrabble with her parents. They also make us do impromptu concerts. It's a good time.

How did you and Softglas end up working together on tour? Northeast connect?

It was the luckiest thing. A friend of a friend introduced us, and when we met him over a cup of really sketchy bone broth, we knew he was the one. We instantly clicked musically and also as friends. We are so lucky to have him and we've had a lot of fun working on the new songs together as well.

What do you have in store for 2018?

We are so excited to keep writing music and working on our next album. We'll also be touring all over the place, and working on our Instagram stories.

All photos by Chelsea Crane for Capitol Sound DC