The Overtones

The Overtones

The Overtones caught everyone’s attention last year with the release of their debut album Good Ol’ Fashioned Love - Say What I Feel is the latest single to be taken from that album.

I caught up with Mike Crawshaw to talk about the success of the record, working on the follow up and what lies ahead.

- You are about to release your new single Say What I Feel so what can we expect from the new record?

We are thinking about what is going to be happening with the new album now so obviously we are adapting very slightly the style we have worked on and we are building on the style that we have worked on from the first album.

Say What I Feel has a little bit more of a Motown feel to it but at the same time it’s keeping its pop root. It’s a great song and we are really happy with it.

- Say What I Feel is one of the original songs on the album Good Ol’ Fashioned Love so how did you find writing as a band for the record?

We are all very keen songwriters, it’s for the public to think that we are a covers band because we have covers on the first album, but a lot of the songs that we have lead with have been songs that we have written.

We are really lucky that the album gave us some good opportunities to get our ideas across. When it comes to sitting down and writing together someone may come along to one of the sessions with an idea for a chorus or a hooky bridge - we then sit down in front of a piano and bounce ideas off each other.

It’s a really nice experience and we are going through that at the moment with the second album, we have started work on that now, so yeah we are having a good time.

- You mix vintage sounding harmonies with modern day pop so how would you describe your sound and how do you find striking the balance between the old and the new?

Do you know what? I think you have summed it up really well in terms of how we sound because we have got that vintage sound while keeping true to pop roots.

But then again you think about really big songs of 2011 with acts like Adele and going a little further back with Amy Winehouse they are very vintage as well.

Like you say it is about finding that balance between the two - vintage is very modern at the moment so it’s not as difficult as you would think it is.

- You shot the video during your recent tour of South Africa so how your time out there?

It was such a great place. We were having a great time promoting the album out there and we had a day off right at the end of the tour and they went ‘it’s so beautiful here we are just going to record the video’ and we were like ‘yeah ok.’

One of the great things was the people out there because they are up for it and South Africans just have rhythm in the soul - we had about 100 supporting artist there and they were really giving it some as we were performing.

- You really made a name for yourselves last year with your debut album Good Ol’ Fashioned Love so you must be delighted by the way that it was received?

We recorded the album in a tiny little cottage up in Leicestershire and we sort of locked ourselves away like the old school band use to - there was no TV and there was nothing outside the music and the album.

We did speak a lot about how this was going to go and who was going to enjoy it and who was going to buy it and we have been so amazed at how wide that demographic has turned out to be.

We see it when we are on tour as there are three generations of a family that turn up; we have got toddlers singing and dancing around their houses and we have got eighty year old plus.

We have just been completely bowled over by the way that it has been received and we have been completely thrilled.

- It did well in the charts but how did you personally find the fans response to the record?

It’s such a lovely thing because we have all had our battles to get where we are now and we have had our challenges and out hardships but the fact that we have this solid fan base that is loyal to us and the music we perform is, for me personally, so lovely.

It’s so great because one you are getting to do something that you have always wanted to do and two people are really latching on to what you are doing and really enjoying what you are doing.

We can do what we love to do but unless people are enjoying what we are doing as well then it’s pointless us doing it.

We say is all the time in our shows that we love our fans, it might sound a bit cliché, but we do what we do because of them and we appreciate that everyday - I feel very strongly about that.

- You have mentioned this already but how much have you begun thinking about the second album?

We are in the studio at the moment; in fact we have just finished a writing session so we have been in the studio this morning and this afternoon.

We are excited about because, from our point of view, the first album really worked and it made a real connection with out fans so we don’t want to turn our back on it and make the mistake of trying something completely different because that would be irresponsible.

We certainly want to grow on the experience that we have had from the last year - that experience showed in some way between the first edition of Good Ol’ Fashioned Love and the platinum edition.

So the next album is again going to grow on that and we will just have to see but we are really excited about it.

-  Would you still include covers or would you be more interested in writing the whole record yourself?

We are really interested in writing and that is what we did years before we were signed but doing covers on Good Ol’ Fashioned Love really worked and we loved performing them so why would we change that now?

We do want to get a few more originals on the album but we are going to keep on giving it some with the covers as well.

- The British music industry is booming at the moment with new artists so what sets The Overtones apart from the other band that are around at the moment?

It’s not putting anyone down to say that what The Overtones do that other bands don’t do is keep the vocals really at the forefront of what we do - back in the day it was the vocals that were the instruments the majority of the time.

We have sort of used that as a template and at the moment not many groups like that are doing that kind of thing. There are new acts coming along all the time that are giving it a go as well but it’s nice to know that we were one of the first acts to give it a go - and it works.

- You have also announced a tour of the UK for the end of this year so for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to catch you live yet what can they expect from a live show?

A live show is a lot of fun and I think that everyone who comes to see us gets their own personal show as we work really hard to make sure that everyone there feels like we are giving them an up close and personal show.

They are going to be dancing in the aisles - on the last tour we have some people climbing on the stage (laughs). But it’s absolutely amazing because the crowd becomes friends and we become friends with them it’s just spectacular and you will have a great night out.

- And how do the audiences change in the different countries that you play in?

I’m sure if they do dramatically. We have a gig out in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago and we could have been in Preston for how different they were; they ran to the front of the stage with their cameras out and then danced and grooved away with the best of them.

- The band has picked up an army of fans over the last twelve months so what message do you have for those fans reading this interview?  

It can’t be any other message than thank you. Like I said earlier we really do appreciate them so much and although it does sound cliché we really do love our fans and everything that they do for us. So just a huge thank you and keep up your good work because we will.

- How did you personally get involved with music and then the music industry?

I moved to London about ten years ago to pursue a music career. I met the guys on the open mic circuit - even though London is a big place the actual circuit itself isn’t that big and you see the same faces over and over. So we became friends and it went from there really.

But for me personally it was a long journey of learning the craft while I was on the job really, I have no formal training and I cam to London a little bit clueless. It essentially did work out but not without a decade of solid graft to get there. But I am happy about the way that it has gone.

- Finally what’s next you for you?

Like I say we are in the studio a lot writing and recording the second album. We are releasing Good Ol’ Fashioned Love all over the world now so we will be off and about to Australian, Finland, Germany, Italy, France and back to South Africa - so there aren’t many days off let’s put it that way. But we are just so excited to get out there and show the world what we have got. 

FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw

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