In conversation with Overcoats
Brooklyn indie-pop duo Overcoats (Hana + JJ) share their new EP "Used To Be Scared Of The Dark"along with a music video for the title track. And we had a pleasure speaking with them about it.
First, can you tell me a bit about how you met and started creating music together?
We met in college in Connecticut…a decade ago! We started singing together almost immediately but it was another 3 years until we attempted to write a song together. When we finally did, in our last year of college, it felt magnetic, addictive, and we kept going.
What does your “Used To Be Scared Of The Dark” EP mean to you two in the context of your discography and your individual lives?
Coming out of this crazy year, the EP feels like a reflective and resolved moment for us, lyrically and sonically. This past year has meant a lot of isolation, let downs, and fears. Tackling all of that through these songs gave us a lot of purpose. We also took this year to reach out and collaborate with other artists, something we had never really explored before. We were searching for community and connection with other like minded creatives, but also just recognizing that we had a window for exploration in our sound. Individually, we've both faced a lot of challenges and declaring that you're no longer afraid of the things that used to scare you, feels powerful and inspiring at this moment in time.
How did you choose the EP title?
The title is a lyric from one of the songs on the EP and we felt like it encapsulated the sentiment of the whole project. We've all fought emotional and physical battles in the last year and we felt like this title signaled the light at the end of the tunnel.
What was it like collaborating with Tennis, Middle Kids, and Lawrence Rothman?
It was really special collaborating with everyone. While we were making this EP during the pandemic, our usual sense of a musical community was gone. It was really fulfilling to be able to work together remotely and remember that we all have each other even though we felt so isolated. All of our collaborators did a really incredible job at respecting our vision and songwriting but adding their own personalities to the tracks.
How has the pandemic affected the way you work?
It's funny, we joke that we were sort of remotely working even before the pandemic. We love to write songs together in a room, but if one of us gets an idea at 1am…it's a flurry of texts and voice memos back and forth. So in a way, pandemic writing was just like our late night writing style.
Do you have a favorite moment or lyric in the EP?
It's hard to choose, but think it's a line in Used To Be Scared Of The Dark: "you come to me like a dream / a familiar room that I've never seen / and it feels so good when we don't have to speak / now I'm not scared anymore." The familiar room part is one of our favorite images – that sense of knowing someone forever but having never met them – that kind of spirituality and nostalgia is present in a lot of our music, and reminds us of the first song we ever wrote together, "Little Memory," off our first record.
How did you come up with the idea for the music videos? What was the filming process like?
We knew that we wanted to do a connected, three-part series that followed a couple through different psychological moments of their love story. The EP is so much about love and vulnerability and so we knew we needed amazing actors to be the characters in this story. Asha Maura, our director, suggested Pauli and Omari, and they were so incredible to work with. We filmed all of the videos in 1 day in this cool warehouse space in Brooklyn.
Do you have plans for touring later in the year or early next year? What can we expect from you coming up?
Yes, we are on tour in September and October! Doing some east coast shows and then a music festival called Moon River in Chattanooga. We've had a lot of time off touring, so expect lots of new music.