ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Overlapse
With 8 days until Crescendo Live, we're spotlighting a new artist every day of the week to give you to a better taste of what to expect at the show November 23 at Adelaide Hall. Crescendo sat down with Quin and Rhys, 2/3rds of the Toronto band Overlapse for their take on starting a band, producing a mixtape, and how to get your music out there. Get your tickets now for Crescendo Live at Ticketfly.
Tell us who you are and a little bit about yourselves.
R: I’m Rhys, I’m 24 years old and I'm from Montreal, Quebec. I decided to come to the University of Toronto because I wanted to study here. I initially started going to University for Jazz Performance, and then decided I didn’t want a BFA so I took a year and a half off. Doing that kinda put music on the back burner, something I did on the side. It turned out where I lived, Quin was living there. He was doing his stuff with Mariko and then I started to tag along, and we’ve been working together consistently ever since and I think we’re going to keep working together for a long time.
Q: I'm Quin. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and I came to Toronto three years ago. I always wanted to do music so I just did that. I lived with Rhys, and he wanted to do music so we just did stuff together. And that’s basically it, not really and exciting story there. Actually no, our living situation was funny.
R: Well we lived in a rundown fraternity house, so it was the type of scenario where the ceilings would be flooded, we would have rats.
Q: We never had rats.
R: Well when you moved out we had mice, but then we got rats. And then we met Mariko.
Q: Mariko was my frosh leader! That how I met her.
R: I met Mariko briefly my first year and then met her again when she started to come by the house and work on music. Mariko is from Ottawa.
Q: She was born in Japan, but raised in Ottawa. She lived in Hong Kong for a while too.
How did you come up with the name Overlapse?
R: Mariko and Quin were already working on a project, and when I came in we decided to change the name.
Q: We came up with a bunch, one was like Kids in Uniform. It wasn’t really good, we would change it all the time.
R: It literally turned into like a ten day debate. But you suggested the name you’re gonna have to speak to it.
Q: I suggested it?
Q: I don’t think I did. And if I did it was an accident. And that’s what happened, we weren’t like ‘what do we call ourselves’ We just wanted something that overlapped with everything about us and when we went ‘OH SHIT, that’s it.'
What was the creative process like of making your debut album There’s Nothing in the Annex?
R: It was four months, in Quin’s little room on Elm street, in like the Summer of 2016, with no air conditioning. It was HOT. They had the concept and idea of There’s Nothing in the Annex, because the Annex is the house that Quin was living in with me. It was basically Mariko and Quin were making music to reflect where they were making it, how there really wasn’t anything going on in the Annex outside of like -
Q: The Maddy really.
R: Yeah the Maddy and superficial frat parties. By the time I came along we were already following the theme. It was more of a thing to just see what we could do. It wasn’t really that easy organizing schedules or fitting our different styles together to a sound that we though worked. But eventually we got there.
Did you know what you wanted it to sound like?
R: I kinda knew when I would hear like Quin’s beats, and what Mariko was doing with the songs and where she was going. I wanted to come in and do something a little different, bring in some ambient, crisp sounding instrumentals, add some rap compliment it a bit and do something different. I wanted to add my style onto it.
Are there any tools or resources that you think are particularly useful for young artists?
Q: Well we used distrokid as our aggregator to send out our music and get it into stores. And then Submit Hub which will send your music to blogs for you, and will ensure that the blog will listen to like half a minute of your music if you pay them a dollar. So if you have 30 bucks to blow that's 30 blogs, and if the blog’s don’t like it they have to give you feedback which is useful.
R: For our more individual projects and the stuff we’re doing now, we’re not doing that. We’re actually investing and networking. That’s where it makes more of an impact to get you noticed between the thousands and thousands of people that can make music from their room now. What I would suggest would be to network and build a proper circle, and to be ready to invest and to play live whenever you can.
When it comes to making music videos, how much creative input do you have?
Q: The music video was filmed in the house we lived in.
R: Quinn and his roommate Phil had a concept video idea.
Q: We liked red solo cups. Like really liked them. For all of 2016, I was obsessed with red solo cups, because they just represented a shitty house party.
R: We wanted to show a shitty house party.
Q: Just watch the video and only focus on the cups.
R: All I asked for, my only input, was that I wanted to have the shot from like a music video in the early 2000 where the rapper comes out of the car in slow motion. I just wanted that. If they gave me that I would have been happy with whatever.
What advice would you give to young musicians looking to form a band and get started in the industry?
R: Jam a lot before you decide to form a band.
Q: Jam a lot, and take some time to explore you sound and make sure it’s in sync. When we were making the album we just did whatever worked, but we didn’t have a succinct sound but I think it’s really important to decide what sounds genuine to you.
Are there any Canadian musicians or any artists in general that have had an influence on your music style?
Q: I think The Weeknd’s first mixtape was really big for everybody.
R: We’re big Frank Ocean fans, like he can do no wrong. But Canadian artists, there are two artists I look up to from Montreal, who are doing a good cultural movement over there especially because more than half the population speaks French, there’s one rap artist who’s name is Nate Husser and another named Brandon Butts.
Q: Adhoc are these guys from Montreal, I first met them last year. And we saw their show at City Market and we though ‘we could play a show here’ and then we ended up doing it. It was great because they showed us how we can do it live.