Pre-Bloodstock interview: Overoth

Overoth 192Due to the huge number of bands playing at Bloodstock this year, and the fact that our two roving reporters will actually want to watch some of them, we’re doing a little round of pre-festival interviews this year. We’re focussing on the bands playing the Jagermeister and Hobgoblin New Blood Stages so they get a chance to convince you to go and watch them. Remember, these guys and gals are the future of our musical world!

Andy and Dan took pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard. Whatever…

Simple things first – where are you guys from?

AP – We’re from in and around Belfast, Northern Ireland.

How did you meet?

DD – Andy, Andrew and I met in school way back in the late 90’s. We all had similar interests in pretty much everything and I think we always liked the idea of being in a band and playing music together in some shape or form. Jay entered the fold around 2010.

How long have you been playing together as a band?

AP – Overoth formed late 2005, but actually Andy, Dan and I have been playing together for a lot longer, since picking up our instruments in our early teens. We learned from each other and here we are 15 years later, still playing together, still chasing the dream. And as Dan said, Jay joined in 2010, just after the recording of Kingdom Of Shadows.

Where does the name of the band come from?

DD – We get asked this question a lot actually. We had been playing together for a few years under the guise of ‘Ashes of Alchemy’ but the music was changing, we were changing and I think we just outgrew the name. Around about the same time, I believe a friend of ours had just come back from Belgium, from a region called Overoth. The name, without having any apparent reason, just seemed to fit. I remember that same night, we were standing outside a venue in Belfast queuing up for a gig. Decapitated I think. I scraped the word Overoth into the wall with a stone and stood back to have a look at it. I imagined it on posters, albums and kick drum skins and it just seemed right. I think we toyed with the name for a further few months but it inevitably stuck. Throughout the years we have given our own meaning to the word and even personified it into a character, almost a mascot who has made a few appearances in songs and has even adorned album covers. I’m sure the tourist board of Overoth are not best pleased with us since they don’t get a look in on Google anymore [laughs].

What are your influences – individually or as a band?

AP – We’ve a lot of influences… a lot… and it’s not just other bands and musicians that influence us… We’re not just a straight 4/4 band, or whatever you want to call it… so we look for inspiration everywhere, or it finds us. It could be something as simple as a view. You could be somewhere and you see something that triggers something inside, something that you might reflect back on at some point when writing.
I know Dan can take a lot of influence from video games. A good game sucks the player in, it’s a new world, a fantasy world, maybe it’s almost real like, or a little far-fetched, but it’s creative and it can be mesmerising, there’s a different atmosphere to reality, emotions are triggered…

Then again it could be a band, for example we’ve all been pouring over Insomnium recently. Melodic death metal went a bit stale for a while, but here are these guys well and truly carrying the torch high. We listen to a lot of bands, metal will always be number one but we’re a little older now and more open minded, there is more music outside metal and it’s ok to say I like it.

Describe your music. What makes you unique?

DD – Unique is a rare enough word in the metal world these days. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. Unique does not always mean good. Our older material certainly had no claim to this and we never intended it to. It was, after all, old school DM or at least our interpretation of it. However, our new material is quite different. We have cast aside the expectations of the genre. We gradually realised that we should no longer write music based on how we think it should sound but by how we want it to sound and through this realisation came a lot of freedom of expression. I expect that the new material will not be to everyone’s taste but I think we have really come to find our own unique sound of late and this is exciting to us. I feel we have begun to understand how to blend different elements together to create something new. Music that is devastatingly heavy but also beautiful in parts. Riffs that have you banging your head and spilling your beer but those same riffs may also have a majestic, almost ethereal quality to them. Music that has been crafted with purpose and meaning with many layers that weave and compliment each other. Not just heavy music for the sake of being heavy. This is very much our ethos at the moment.

What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?

AP – Hundreds, playing is what we do. We’ve been across the UK and Ireland I don’t know how many times, Europe a bunch of times… We’ve had a great year so far which I’m real happy about since we’ve been a little quiet the last couple of years writing. It’s good to get back out and play.

Our stage show has changed for the better recently. In the old days, because our style was a lot more old school, it was 4 guys in jeans and band shirts, head banging and stirring as much chaos as we could muster. Nowadays we’ve put a lot more thought into our show… our latest music is big, our stories deep and it would seem a waste to just get up and play as we had done before. There’s head banging and chaos yes, but now it looks better, we’ve an image; we’ve things in place to set an atmosphere.

We have visions of grandeur, a full-scale production would be incredible and we’ve the right minds to make such a spectacle but we’re a small band, and there’s only so much we can do. We’ll see how things go… maybe one day.

Did you enter M2TM thinking you could win it?

DD – Absolutely. I hope every band that entered did. We knew we were up against some serious competition but we also knew we were perfectly capable of winning if we played the best we could. We have a good history with these types of competitions and the opportunities we have earned through them have been nothing short of amazing.

What sort of setlist can we expect?

AP – It’ll be a very new set. We’ll be playing to a lot of new people at Bloodstock so in one way, we’re not obliged to play ‘the classics’ that people expect from us at home, which allows us to put together a strong set of all our best numbers.

Which main stage band do you most hope you’re not clashing with so you can see them play?

DD – Personally, Enslaved and I’ve already checked this out [laughs]. There are quite a few bands on the main stages I’m excited to be seeing again but I am also really looking forward to seeing the rest of the bands on the New Blood Stage. This is the good thing about Bloodstock. I will be able to watch bands I may not have had the opportunity to see otherwise.

AP – I think for me it has to be Agalloch, they’re opening on the Sunday so it’s looking good.

What are you working on at the moment?

AP – Bloodstock is our last booked show so right now, rehearsals. We’re also writing. We’ve finished an album actually, recorded, mixed, mastered, done. But as we’re still in a good place for writing we’re keeping it going and the results so far is a good part of another album done. After Bloodstock we’ll be putting the final pieces of the puzzle together to get the newly recorded album out.

What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done on tour?

AP – I can safely say, I’ve seen the worst, and the best, in humanity on tour. … but you’ve heard the rule ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour’.

DD – Phew.

What advice would you give to a young band just starting out today?

AP – As cheesy as it sounds, you can’t rush art… So take your fu*king time! It’s exciting being in a band, writing, recording, playing; I get it. I was once new to it as well. But I think too many bands get together without gelling properly, write a load of shit songs, just to fill an album, make these shitty recordings and post them online. Then they go and play these shitty songs to people who decide they’re a shit band and don’t give them the time of day ever again. They’re not showing their full potential. Take time in writing and gelling as a band, let the songs work themselves, and be honest with each other with ideas. Leave your pride at the front door and take criticism on the chin. If someone else has a shit idea, you might need to use some tact, but don’t use it just because you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Get the music right, record it right and then think about taking the show out to the public, and when you do, make it magical and perform.

If you could be part of any 3-band line-up who else would you have on the bill? One band above you and one below – a chance to plug a smaller, unsigned act!

DD – This is far too subjective a question for just one of us to answer and I’m actually interested to hear what Andrews answer to this would be so he’s up next. Personally, I would have Behemoth headlining as they have been breathtaking recently. I would have to toss a three-sided coin to decide who would open between our Irish friends Killface, Coldwar and Zombified. I may have cheated there but check them all out anyway. However, ask me again in a month and my answer might be different [laughs].

AP – Coldwar aren’t unsigned Dan, so your coin just became 2 sides again. Good question though… like Dan said, today’s answer is one thing… tomorrow I’ll have a new answer. Let me think… yes, Behemoth would be cool and I imagine we’d learn a hell of a lot from those guys. I think doing something with Septic Flesh would be amazing actually, I’ve been spinning Titan non-stop for ages! Inflames could be good, they’ve a good following we could tap into. A full tour with Watain could be interesting. Ah fu*k, I can’t decide! Opening band, unsigned… Bloodshot Dawn are bigger than us but it would be great to do something with them again, let me tease you back to your ‘wildest things on tour’ question [laughs]. I think though we’d have to pick some Irish friends, Psykosis, Vile Regression, Dead Label… there’s quite a few.

Overoth play the Hobgoblin New Blood Stage on the Saturday.

Overoth: official | facebook | twitter | myspace | soundcloud | reverbnation | bandcamp | youtube | bigcartel

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August 1, 2015 1:12 PM

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