- Words Notion Staff
Dream-pop outfit Overcoats discuss their unique sound, a friendship spanning eight years, and creating their own label.
Building the foundations of their work on a friendship of eight years, Overcoats are a dream-pop duo made up of talented singer-songwriters Hana Elion and JJ Mitchel. Throughout their career, Overcoats have balanced their love for music with their love for their friendship into a cohesive project of indie-folk releases with nonchalant acoustics. Currently working towards the release of their brand-new album, ‘Winner’ Overcoats have so far released two singles from this project; “Horsegirl” and most recently “Never Let You Go”.
Bridging the gap between Americana and folk with indie-pop sensibilities, Overcoats are grasping the attention of many with their soft harmonies and delicate acoustics. Together creating a sonic soundscape with their hypnotic harmonies, throughout each of their releases the duo transport listeners on a nonchalant voyage of delicate sounds. Close friends since they were 18-years-old, throughout the last eight years Hana and JJ have proved that they’ve created a bond for life.
Currently working towards their brand-new album, ‘Winner’, is a genre-fluid project woven by pop sensibilities, grunge and dance music. Throughout this project, Overcoats take influence from a melting pot of genres to perfectly accumulate their vision into an innovative and cohesive project.
Ready to push boundaries with this next instalment, Outcoats speak to us about the healing powers of music, the music video for their latest single “Never Let You Go” and working towards a more organic sound.
Hey Overcoats. How are you? How’s 2023 been for you both so far?
Hi. 2023 is off to a great start. We announced our new album, ‘Winner’, in January, and we’re gearing up for the release in April.
How did you guys kickstart your musical relationship? Being seven years into a collaborative career is some testament to your strong friendship.
Thank you! Yes, it is pretty amazing, we are proud of it. We became friends when we were 18 years old and always loved singing together. Our first musical collaborations were just for us and not the outside world, which we think helped us develop a deep relationship outside of a career. Once we had written a bunch of songs together, we figured that we may as well let everyone else hear them and the rest is history.
You draw on pop, country, electronica and a whole host of sounds to create a unique sonic landscape. If there’s one thing that you want your fanbase to take away from the music, what is it?
We release the music out of the greater goal of connection. We want people to know that they are not alone in what they experience, and feel seen and understood by our lyrics. We also want to bring joy, and allow people to heal and dance through the power of music. We draw on whatever sounds we can to create something that feels exciting and warm.
“Never Let You Go” is a striking single with a stunning new video. How do you guys personally think the visuals compliment the track’s themes?
Thank you so much for these kind words. We wanted the video to portray a conversation between two people who are going through a breakup. However, we also wanted to have moments in the video where we are more like the narrators. We also try to do that with our music, by singing about our personal experiences and creating meaning outside of ourselves.
Congratulations on the news of your third album, ‘Winner’, which is set to come out in spring. Can you tell us about the creative process and any challenges you faced along the way?
We wrote and recorded most of this album in Nashville, TN which is different for us. Our last two albums were made in NYC and LA. Now, Hana lives in LA and JJ lives in NY — so Nashville was the perfect meeting place and also a huge inspiration for us sonically. We wanted to bring elements of LA pop, NY grunge, and this new more Americana influence into the music. Daniel Tashian, who has done all the recent Kacey Musgraves stuff, produced it and he was so fun to work with. It was scary making an album that felt so authentic, and trying not to worry so much about whether it sounded ‘cool’ or ‘current’.
Having released three albums and countless singles, did you want to take a new sonic direction on the record? If so, do you have any key inspirations that influenced this change?
We definitely like to let our sound evolve on each body of work that we release. We’ve slowly been moving towards a more organic sound, live guitars, live drums etc, which is markedly different from our first record which was almost entirely electronic. We’ve always loved artists like The Chicks, who don’t shy away from embellished acoustic and honest songwriting. In recent years some of our strong influences and inspirations have included Waxahachie and Julia Jacklin.
What is your recording process like? Do you come up with a theme before writing songs or does the theme become more evident later on in the process?
It happens both ways. We sometimes come into the room with a specific experience we want to write about, like on “Never Let You Go”. Other times it’s more free form; working from a chord progression and seeing what lyrics come into our heads, figuring out what it all means later, which is how “Horsegirl” came about. And often with a whole album, we have a vague idea of the sentiments that feel part of a greater story, but the precise themes and the perspective appear towards the end.
If you could invite any three artists down to the studio to record, with the addition of a dinner party afterwards, who would you want for company?
That’s such a hard question. Currently that would probably be Billie Eilish (what a fascinating and brilliant creature), Florence Welch, and Madi Diaz. I don’t really know how all of these people would get along with each other but whatever, it’s our dinner party.
This Spring, you’ll be taking to the road for an extensive tour. Having supported the likes of Mitski and Maggie Rodgers, do you have any interesting tour tales that you can share with us?
Wow, that feels like a lifetime ago. Both tours were whirlwinds, huge learning experiences. Mitski did a really impressive jump roping workout (like seriously impressive) after soundcheck once, and we were like, ‘damn, this woman can do everything’.
What’s next for Overcoats? What would you like to achieve in 2023 beyond the music?
The sky’s the limit, am I right? We’re working with some amazing NYC fashion designers on multidisciplinary events. We’d like to continue our comedy podcast and finally put out the highly anticipated second season of Between Two Bald Girls. We’re also just so excited to be doing this campaign, including the music, independently; on Jan 1st we created our own label.