Monday, December 24, 2012

OVERSEAS interview

Sets to sail

by marcs77

“Not settling for less when you can go further and walk the extra mile”. Let me start my bit of opening-blabbing quoting a line off a reply below by OVERSEAS.
It's true that many bands are happy to settle for less (and this could work whether that's their goal) but I'm in my view all bands that walk the extra mile and work their asses off to break boundaries (being them geographic, cultural, whatever...), because of their passion and driven by heart, are the ones that make the plus in the hardcore punk music scene. There's nothing here about money and the easy fame but it's all about staying together, sharing experiences, playing the music you love and bring it to as many people as possible.
San Jose, Costa Rica, Overseas is a some-months-over-a year-old melodic HC-punk quintet

that just released their debut EP “O Captain! My Captain!” and they definitely seems to do this for the right cause. They're planning to tour Europe in 2013 and No Panic! records made their EP available on digital format in Europe.
Singer Rick and bass player (band manager) Alejandro replied our questions about these recent happenings (they are our new “hot new band to check out”) and much more in this pretty lengthy but definitely worth a reading interview. Read on.

gan: First off, I wanna give you the chance to introduce your band to our readers. Please feed us with the basics on OVERSEAS: your age, who is in, where you from, when you came together and some of the goals you set for your baby.

RICK: Hey there I’m Rick. I’m 22 and I play guitar and sing for Overseas. I think the first time we talked about putting up a band was back in September 2011. I think my main motivation to start with the band was to play music that I love regardless of what anyone would think of it.
ALEJANDRO: Hey. I’m Alejandro, I play bass and I’m the oldest member in the band, I’m 34. The other members are Daniel (guitar, 23), Diego (guitar, 25) and Joe (drums, 27). We’re all from Costa Rica, a very small and touristic country from Central America; except for Daniel, who was born in Colombia, but he’s been living in Costa Rica since he was a child, so he’s Costa Rican now. 

gan: So, you guys hail from San Jose, Costa Rica. As I wrote in the news item about the release of your debut EP, your country is not one of those places one think of when it comes to talk about hardcore punk music. What are some of the bands from your country you would suggest us checking out and what's your local scene like?

RICK: Yeah, we get that a lot, but when you think about it, Costa Rica is quite a tiny piece of land so I totally understand where the thought comes from. I would say that all of the bands down here are pretty good, everyone is trying to have their own sound and most of them are really nice kids and friends of ours, it’s hard to pick one or two but I have to give huge credit to my friends in “Niño Koi”, for lovers of instrumental and trippy stuff, check these guys out ASAP. Also Billy The Kid, who have been doing an amazing job touring overseas; but these are just two bands from a lot of amazing musicians doing great shit. About the scene, well, I’ll just say that it’s not as solid as it could be, but it only takes a spark to start a fire.
ALEJANDRO: As Rick says, Billy the Kid is right now the most international band in Costa Rica, they’ve been touring Europe and South America for years now, releasing great records and videoclips, which is important for a band that wants to keep certain level in order to compete with all the other touring bands from other countries. But we also have other great bands in Costa Rica that don’t tour much, but keep working hard locally, like Direcciones (Hardcore Punk), Bulletproof (Melodic Hardcore), No Resolution (Thrash influenced Melodic Hardcore), Adaptados (Punk Rock), xEl Valor de Lucharx (Oldschool Hardcore) and my favorite above all: THE MOVEMENT IN CODES, which plays a mix of Punk Rock and alternative rock that sounds really amazing. Their singer is our sound engineer, by the way.

gan: Talking about your band name, how did you come up with it? And what it means to you?

RICK: I can’t quite remember how we came up with it, but I’m pretty sure that I speak for the five of us when I say that “Overseas” is a philosophy when it comes to the way of doing things with our band. It has to do with not settling for less when you can go further and walk the extra mile, we’re definitely not looking forward to be a big fish in a small pond while there’s a whole sea for us to conquer.
ALEJANDRO: That’s right, and it’s funny because when we first started talking to graphic designers about the art for our Ep, they all came with sea related ideas, with ships, sailors and octopuses, and that is something we don't want to be related to, the name Overseas has a different meaning to us.

gan: You guys play a blend of melodic hardcore punk that in my view mixes USA and European influences. What are some of the bands you listened to while growing up and those that have been really influential to the sound you were shooting to have?

RICK: Well, I grew up listening to bands like Blink-182, New Found Glory, Strung Out, Lagwagon, etc. So I’d say my love for punk rock music is well justified. As I grew up and started to get into music and playing guitar I discovered an European band called Funeral For A Friend, these guys just changed my way of perceiving music and my way of writing music and singing. But I’d say I have a huge list of bands influencing my music, and I enjoy listening to any music that can catch my attention for more than 5 minutes.
ALEJANDRO: In spite I love Pop Punk bands like Blink-182 and New Found Glory, I’m more into oldschool Hardcore and 90’s Punk Rock, everything from DYS, Youth of Today and Crucial Youth to Lagwagon, Rancid and No Use for a Name. The very first time I listened to Hardcore and Punk Rock was back in 1994, when a high school classmate gave me an old cassette with Dead Kennedys, Operation Ivy and Minor Threat; a few weeks after that Green Day and The Offspring became popular and since then I’ve been immerse in this amazing music. Which is not to say I do not like other types of music, I listen to a lot of Classic Rock, Funk and Reggae too.

gan: I kept this one on hold. You have your debut EP out, right? What do you think about this record? And what are some of the feed-backs press-wise and kids-wise you're getting?

RICK: Well to me it’s just like having your first baby. We’ve worked so hard from the writing, to the recording, getting in trouble for skipping work and staying up late working on this EP, but in the end I’m pretty sure we’re all proud as hell of the job we’ve done. I have great expectations for this EP, but still there are so much better things coming for our next release.
ALEJANDRO: The first record is like having the first baby, as Rick says, so we’re super proud of it; however, I think that the first record is also some kind of experiment that helps to start looking for a specific sound or style for the band. I’m pretty sure the next release will sound very different and even more mature than this one. In fact, right now we’re working on the songs for the next record, we already have 2 songs and we like them a lot more than the songs in the first Ep I think.

gan: Was this your first experience in studio? Any cool studio related stories you wanna share with us? 

RICK: I’ve recorded a couple of times before. Actually, my first studio experience was with the producer Marcos Monnerat, who recorded our EP, and it was back in 2004. I was 14 and I got into a punk rock band which wasn’t actually good at all but I was having the time of my life playing and recording, and a fun fact is that I was the only underaged dude in the band, everyone else was like 26 so I loved to brag about it at school.
ALEJANDRO: I’ve recorded three times before, with my old band Confrontacion. It was a Hardcore Punk band that had pretty good success in Central and South America from 2006 to 2011. First time we recorded was in 2007, it was an Ep with just six songs, all in Spanish. Then we started writing songs in English and recorded a full length in 2010 that was released by an European label (from Hungary) and also a label from South East Asia. Our last release was a three songs Ep with guest vocals from Bane, in 2011. Then we broke up. So this Ep with Overseas would be my fourth time in studio, but it was like the first one because I used to play the guitar in Confrontacion, so recording bass with Overseas was such a great new experience.

gan: How an Overseas song comes to life? Is it the result of a team effort or some of you guys go to the rehearsal room with a new song and gets the others to learn it?

RICK: All of our songs come to life from one idea and then we start from there. Most of the time I write some lyrics, then try to make like a blueprint of the song and bring it to rehearsal with me and then we all work on it, we all have something to add to the main idea and I think that’s the key for all of us to really love the songs we’re playing.
ALEJANDRO: Rick is the creative head in the band, but we all participate in the process, arrangements, etc... Each one of us is free to change or improve its part, as long as we all agree with these changes and it sticks to the main idea of the song.

gan: Lyrically, where do you draw inspiration from?
RICK: As the responsible of writing the lyrics I’d say lyrically this are the most honest lyrics I’ve ever made and I try to keep it that way for the new ones. I mean, I could write about a thousand things and some of them could’ve never happened to me, but there’s no sense in doing that. I like to write about things that are real and that people can somehow relate to them or at least understand where we want to go with a song. Keep it honest and real, that’s the key.

gan: Your EP is titled "O Captain! My Captain!", and I'm sure you guys know that it was a poem written by the American poet Walt Whitman in 1865. But coming to more recent times we have the famous movie "Dead Poets Society", starring Robin Williams, where there is a quote to it. What's the meaning behind this title? Anything hidden or just something that fits well with your band moniker?

ALEJANDRO: As I mentioned in one of the questions above, although the band name is Overseas, we don't want to be related to maritime themes, so that the choice of this title was a coincidence. I’m a film producer, so I wanted a title related to a movie and after thinking in many options “O Captain! My Captain” came to my mind, since it’s a very brave and inspiring poem. That is reflected in the last scene of the movie Dead Poets Society by Peter Weir, when Todd Anderson and the rest of the students stand on their desks, supporting Mr. Keating, and challenging the authority of Mr. Nolan.

gan: You guys have your EP released in three different format (i.e. 12" vinyl, CD and digitally). Is there one of these formats you love over the others? And what are your general thoughts on digital music?

RICK: I must say that I’m super excited about releasing a 12” vinyl, it brings me back to my grandfather playing Frank Sinatra stuff from his vinyl collection. I think it’s pretty amazing that vinyls are coming back and that we get to release our work in this format. On the other hand, digital music is a great way to spread your music all over the world in no time, so that’s pretty cool too.
ALEJANDRO: CDs are dying (if they are not dead already) while digital music is the future. It’s amazing how Internet takes your music to places you’ve never imagined before. I think that digital music greatly facilitates the work of independent bands with no access to the diffusion of large multinationals. And about the vinyl, well, seems that they came back to stay, which is great. I grew up listening to music on vinyl when I was a child, so releasing our EP on this format is like a dream come true. We have to thank our record labels: Pavones Records in Canada, Pee Records in Australia and Quote Your Pulse Records in the U.S., because without them it would have been impossible for us to release this vinyl. And also No Panic! Records in Europe, for helping us releasing the digital version.

gan: Here in Europe the record is available digitally through Germany's No Panic records. How did you get hooked up with this label?

ALEJANDRO: While Rick is the creative head of the band, I'm the one in charge of managing the band. I book shows and tours in Costa Rica and Central America for bands like Rise Against, Millencolin, Face to Face, Nofx, Strung Out, Bane, Such Gold, etc. I’ve been doing this for the last 8 years, and during all these years I've come to understand quite well how the process of promoting and booking a band works, so once we recorded I started looking for options to release the Ep in other countries. I've followed No Panic! Records during the last years, I like the bands they put out, so I contacted Ronny and asked him if he were interested in putting out our record in Europe, he liked the idea and you know the rest of the story. Hope we can keep working together for next releases.

gan: As you already told me via fb, Overseas is planning to cross the ocean and tour Europe in 2013. What are some of your expectations on this tour? And what a Overseas gig is all about? 

RICK: I think it’s safe to say we all expect to have a great time in Europe, but mostly give you guys the time of your life playing music we all love. We’re really looking forward to go there and put Costa Rica in the picture so that a lot of other amazing local bands can get the chance to do the same thing, I think music is an amazing way to forget about boundaries and share our passion for it.
ALEJANDRO: We’re about to start working on tour dates for 2013, we have Europe, Canada, United States and even Australia on our sight, hopefully it all works out. We’re already receiving emails from promoters from those regions, but we don’t have anything 100% confirmed yet, so by now we’re focused on promoting our debut Ep and start working on a new record. We know we need at least two Ep’s in order to start touring. 

gan: Do you know any European bands? And what about Italy? If I mention Jet Market (rip), Bedtime For Charlie, Whales' Island, do these names say something to you? 

RICK: I’ve heard about Whales’ Island, they’re really good. I would definitely love to share stage with those guys.
ALEJANDRO: I don’t know much about Italian Punk Rock, the only band I know quite well is Whale’s Island, I like their music a lot. But you have some great Hardcore bands in Italy that I like a lot, like To Kill, Strength Approach, To Ed Gein, La Crisi and Fumbles in Life. In fact, the first Fumbles in Life’s drummer is from El Salvador, a Central American country near Costa Rica. He used to play with an amazing salvadorian Hardcore band called Firme Decisión many years ago, before he left to Italy.

gan: I saw Alex's email address has 2 Xes in it. Are you guys sXe? If so what being sXe means to you? And how did you get into straight edge in the first place?

ALEJANDRO: I’m the only straight edge in the band in fact. I’ve been straight edge and vegetarian for around 10 years. I could start philosophizing about straight edge and vegetarianism, but it could take many lines, so the only thing I can say about straight edge right now is that it’s a very important part of my life.

gan: Ah, almost forgetting, you guys are gonna be the next "Hot new band to check out" up @ gotanerve-zine. How do you feel about this? 

RICK: I think “honored” is the only word that can define how I feel about that. Any band in our position (just starting) would love to have that chance and we’re really thankful for having it.
ALEJANDRO: Amazing! Being a new band from a small country like Costa Rica and getting things like this is just great.

gan: Reading your bio I see you have plans as to shot a new video clip. Which song you'll pick out and who are you working with?

ALEJANDRO: We’ve just released our fist videoclip, for the song Charleston, it’s available in YouTube and Vimeo already. It’s a simple but very nice video filmed by our friend Sergio Gutiérrez. It has footage of the recording process, rehearsals and also footage of the show with Rise Against in November. We basically wanted to show people the spirit of the band during our first year and I think we did it pretty well. Now I have some ideas for a couple of videoclips for our next record, I think I will direct those videoclips myself. There is no better way to express what the band wants to say in a video clip, than with a video clip directed by one of the band members.

gan: Okay, that's really it for me. Thanks for taking the time to reply these questions. Any words of wisdom, shout outs?

RICK: I just want to say that this is just the beginning of a lot of great things from Overseas to all of you who love music as much as we do, wherever you are, we’ll try to get there, do our best and share the feeling, and of course have a fucking great time in the process! Much love and see you soon.
ALEJANDRO: Thank YOU for taking the time to do this nice interview, we had a very good time replying all the questions, it’s a such a great honor for us being featured on Gotanerve-zine. Hope we can make it to Europe soon, and in the meantime we’ll keep working hard writing and releasing new music for all of you. Thanks and hope to see you soon!

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