The bittersweet electro pop of New York City-based duo Overcoats is a comforting soundtrack amid the current cold snap. The newcomers – comprised of two best friends, Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell – make beautiful, harmony-rich records that layer vocals to create an almost robotic, vocoder-like effect in the vein of Imogen Heap and, more recently, The Japanese House. With their debut studio album set to be unleashed in spring via Arts & Crafts, we caught up with the band to discuss all things Overcoats.
Debut single ‘Hold Me Close’ is incredibly affecting. How did the song come about?
“‘Hold Me Close’ is a song that really came together as we were intensely touring for the first time, last summer. We were constantly travelling, and so much of the future was up in the air. Through all the change and the travel, we had to be each other’s homes. The song is about a lot of things, but mostly, it’s about the strength to keep going and stay present when there is so much uncertainty in the world.”
How did Overcoats get together?
“We met during our freshman year at Wesleyan University. We were friends pretty instantly, and music was always a part of our friendship. Just singing together, talking about our favorite songs. We only started writing music in senior year, when we were both going through some tough personal times. Writing together was so healing, and that’s how we decided to keep going.”
What inspired your name?
“The name Overcoats means a few things for us. For one, we wanted the name to act as a protective layer to the music – something mysterious, maybe even masculine – so that then you wouldn’t know what you were going to hear – and were shocked to hear two women singing very vulnerable lyrics. The band, as well, is like an overcoat for us – it’s a way to turn pain, love and experiences into art, something strong, that we can be proud of.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
And finally, what does 2017 hold for Overcoats?
“2017 is a very exciting year for us. Our album comes out on April 21 and we’ll be embarking on a North American tour followed by a European tour this summer. In the meantime, we’re opening for Tennis in March, working on a music video and writing more music. Can’t stop. Won’t stop.”