We got the chance to chat with Brooklyn alt-pop duo Overcoats about their quarantine songwriting process for QUARANZINE!
Hana: Writing remotely for this long is kind of crazy but not all that different from our usual writing process. When we can, we sit in a room together with a guitar and write something from start to finish. But a lot of times, it’s more disjointed than that, and oftentimes the songs benefit from that. It can lead to more contrast and more perspective in the songs. These days, it’s like: JJ will send me a lyric, with a melody behind it – in a video or voice memo. And a couple sentences about what she envisions it to be about. And always some reference tracks – to get me in the headspace of what kind of song it is. Is it a Dua Lipa house anthem, or more of a Simon and Garfunkel folk lament?
JJ: Sometimes we’ll start from just instrumentals too. Hana will send me a voice memo of a guitar part, with some humming over it, maybe. It’s better if you start from a really rudimentary place. It’s harder to write to more fleshed out instrumentals or demos, because you’re not as much a part of determining where the song is gonna go – cause it’s already going there.
Hana: Then, a flurry of text messages. Typing so fast to try to get the ideas out. Lyrics, feelings, vibes for a guitar part…a lot of it is over texting. And then sending snippets of the track back and forth – “yes, that sounds right” or “what if it was more like this”?
JJ: We try not to force anything when it comes to being creative. So we’ve found that some weeks we write a few songs and then the next week we write nothing at all. trying not to judge ourselves! We’ve also been using quarantine to come up with ideas for collaborations with other artists, acoustic versions of songs from our latest album, and creative music videos that can be made from home.
Hana: And mostly, we’re just trying to stay busy and stay positive during this crazy time. We can’t wait to get back to writing in person, but until then, we’re using what resources we have to create music while we’re apart.
These are the songs that we’ve been listening to in quarantine. Megan Thee Stallion because spending way too much time on Tik Tok; Peter, Paul and Mary because that’s one of the LPs Hana found in her dad’s closet; Liza Anne and her aptly named new song “Bummer Days;” etc.
They’ve recently released a reprise of their sophomore album title track “The Fight”, which you can check out below! It encapsulates the themes of their album: overcoming adversity, avowing friendship, striving for loyalty, and seeking hope. Check it out and let us know what you think!