Australian, Best Things You've Never Heard — June 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Over-Reactor

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TOUR RELEASE:  Melbourne’s death-hop masters, Over-Reactor are hitting the road to celebrate the release of their latest single Mouth Of The Ghetto. Mouth Of The Ghetto is also the title of their forthcoming album, due in the second half of 2012. Since recently releasing their first single and video, the band have received over 5,800 views on Youtube and had three songs in the top ten on the Triple J Unearthed metal charts.

Its two members, Ezekiel Ox (ex Mammal, Full Scale) and Cory Blight (ex Dukes Of Windsor), launched Over-Reactor eighteen months ago, and have already toured nationally with Karnivool, Front End Loader, Floating Me, and COG.

Rehearsing for their upcoming tour and on the eve of releasing their new album ‘Mouth Of The Ghetto’ we caught up with singer Ezekial Ox to talk all things Over-Reactor…

 

Let’s start with the basics first – for those that aren’t aware of the band, what brought the band together and what is the inspiration behind the band name?
We were brought together by a friend of Cory’s who heard that Mammal had split up and was actually helping Cory out a bit at the time and thought that Cory and I would work well together, so he made a call to me, got my number and just said he thought we’d be good.  Cory showed me his demos, we played some pool and had a chat at the pub, I took the demos home and thought this is really good stuff, so we should do some stuff, we just started writing really quickly, it just took off and we wrote something like 40 songs in two months.  There was that as we starting honing the sound and getting this whole DIY thing down which has its perils and pitfalls, it has its wonderful joyous moments as well.  It just felt like something that people could connect with, most people have been an over reactor and most people have probably seen one, it also felt like it had a high octane feel, a feel of high function and intensity that we liked.  We bandied a few names around and that was the one that stuck you know.  Band names are funny, but that’s who we are now and it is what it is.

For those that have never heard of Over-Reactor, how would you describe your sound?
Well we call it Death-Hop, look it’s just a mixture of Hardcore and Hip-Hop really.  It’s getting more and more towards the break beat and hip-hop angle, some people call it Nu-Metal but I think Death-Hop is a pretty accurate description, but it’s just really fuckin’ heavy Hip-Hop.

So you’ve got your new album ‘Mouth of the Ghetto’ coming out any day now, give us your own little review on why people should check it out…
Yeah, we’re just finishing the artwork tonight.  I think they should check out the whole album, it’s twelve songs out of twenty seven; it’s an extremely strong record from start to finish.  It’s become a lot more focussed the sound, it’s more original than the first stuff and that’s saying something, the first albums really did have quite a definitive sound but we’ve evolved more.  I guess it’s more down tempo is probably the best way to put it, it’s a lot more hip-hop beats and a lot more of those feels, and we’re really trying to put something out that inspires people that are waking up to the fact that this system doesn’t work and people are always saying, well give me a better option than capitalism as surely anything would be better, it’s what gives us war, it gives us famine, it gives us alienation and depression and we’re trying to put something out that hopefully you can party to and figure out what the next step in the fight is.

How would you compare it to your awesomely titled debut release ‘Lose Your Delusion’?  Was there something you did on this one that you hadn’t done on the first one?
Yeah I guess.  The first one was a double album that got synthesised down to a whole album, so we had the fans choose the playlist on ‘Lose Your Delusion’ whereas on this one we chose it ourselves, and I think on this one, we put the songs together more, the structures were more in place by the time I got to them because Cory had already spent so much time on them, but this time there were more bits and pieces more than to put together into than actual songs, now we are going through a process of breaking things apart we can play with things.  Process wise there was a bit more equity in the choices of songs and how they worked, we poured over them a little more. We started this album a week after the Karnivool tour finished which was July, so it’s been a bit of an epic journey up to this point, it only got mastered four days ago.  We’ve really been working on ithard throught that time, it sounds fully realised and it’s certainly a unique beast.

In terms of your song writing, what do you consider to be the most important ingredients that make up an Over-Reactor song?
Writing a good song, if I can be so presumptuous to say that we do, would be that it’s really difficult to say one thing, as I think that the arrangements, the hook, everything is so important, and we spend hours and months and in this case a year on the macro part of it.  Macro starts with what songs, we had 27 demos, we took the macro down to a 12 song album and then we took the macro down to each song and within that are all these micro sections.  There’s really no remedy.  OK, I can break it down to one thing and that’s a really strong performance on the recording is really important and that will sometimes be the difference between what makes the record and what doesn’t.  There has to be something about it that’s truly energising, almost heartfelt otherwise you’ll really struggle to connect with people and their hearts and making a record is such a cerebral process in some ways, when I start free styling vocals over whatever part of it Cory has, that’s actually a real visceral and heart moment where I just respond to the song and I think that’s the time when a song is in the make or break stage.

Both lyrically and musically, what or who inspires/influences your music the most?
It’s probably different for both of us, but we’re really huge Beastie Boys fans and I think probably the thing that inspires us the most about them and I was really sad to see MCA pass recently because they truly evolved, they evolved their artistry and they created something unique and they kept doing different things and that’s really inspiring to us.  Lyrically for me, everything from Bob Dylan through to Phil Anselmo, then the poetry of Bukowski and things I see that people have painted illegally on walls, things that people say to me inspire me but I really do rely on a lot of the psychedelic and beat poets as they seem to have a great understanding of that transient energy that can take you a place and make it really clear but also leave it wide open for interpretation.  If you’d asked me that question five years ago I would’ve given you a very different answer, but the older I get the more I realise I don’t know anything, so I’m starting to not know where it comes from.  It’s a build-up of twelve years of reading, listening, watching movies, performing and just as you get older it’s hopefully something you can express more clearly but you understand it less but you get better at it almost.

Talk us through the video for Mouth Of The Ghetto. I think it’s amazing.  How long did it take to make?
It took a day to shoot and about a week in the edit.  I’ve had this fantasy for a really long time of taking the elements of an R&B film clip, those dance based film clips that you see, Beyonce and all those other acts that you see, that I find thoroughly entertaining, I think that the misogyny and often the music I can do without, but I find the dancing quite amazing.  I studied musical theatre at WAAPA and I have a dance degree I guess and I’d always known what I wanted it to feel like and I said to Cory, do you think it’s time maybe to do that, Cory thought it was a great idea when I told him the concept.  Cory really lets me run on the video clips the same way I do with him on the musical side of things in a lot of ways, he really facilitates the vast amount of the leg work and the grunt work and I guess sonically conceptualises what he’s doing.  Both of us have an opinion of what each other is doing but, conceptually it was based on Officer Krupke from West Side Story, the Jets and their ode to being juvenile delinquents and I realty just wanted to pour a lot of battery acid on it and make it something really dark and its own way quite ridiculous really.  I wanted it to be entertaining, I wanted it to look like a gang that were tight and doing something that was a bit dangerous and stalky and a little on the edge and at the same time was just really entertaining and it’s an amazing thing, we didn’t know going in to it, I was sort of performing in it and directing it.  It was a wonderful outcome from Melinda and Anthony who helped me choreograph it and the whole team and we were really proud of it.  I don’t quite fuckin’ know what the concept was, I just knew that’s what I wanted to do ha ha.
How many times did you fuck it up while doing it?
Never, we had one day and two locations and we started at 8am and then we were at the first location and 8:30 and we had to finish at 5:30 because we were losing light.  The dancers were extremely professional, we had all professionals working on it, there was no weak link, we had massive amount of support and what we do we’re good at, we planned and choreographed it and we went in really strongly, everyone did their shit.  I mean a lot of the takes vocally on ‘Mouth Of The Ghetto’ were two takes, we’d spend more time over the idea and what we need to achieve and once that becomes crystal clear then we find it quite easy to execute.  The hardest part is finding something that is good, an idea that is good, because for every really great idea there’s probably a hundred mediocre or poor ideas, so me and Cory have a thing where we like to let the ether filter, so we don’t write a lot of stuff down for instance, we record when we feel like we’re buzzing on something, like that film clip for instance, I just talked to the director of photography and I talked to the dancers and just verbalised, it was all in my head and called the shots on the day and it came together really well.  We changed the third location eight hours before the shoot, we got a call from the director of photography saying he found a better location, so we got in our cars and drove down there at midnight and said yeah this is better, so it was a very much a found objects thing. I really wanted to blend Melbourne’s great street art with some really great entertaining dancing into something that was really aggressive that had never been done before.  I wanted a world first and I really think that we achieved that.

In just over 18 months as a band now with two albums under your belt what was it that clicked with you two to be able to spit this amount of material out so quickly?
It was just work ethic, we really commit to it and we work hard so we understand that some days it’s not going to come, it’s not going to be brilliant but we turn up and we do stuff and run every facet of the business, we’re kind of obsessed with it in our own way. We toured really heavily with that as well as well as pump the albums out, and if you want it to be your job and want it to be your living and you want to have people and wonderful websites to call you to interview you then you’ve really got to take it fuckin’ seriously and that’s what we do, we don’t turn up late and we don’t turn up hung over and we’ve both got children so we have our own lives which are about the good stuff, making music and looking after our families and playing great shows and we’ve just really tried to follow our instincts with it, Cory and I both work really hard and that’s the fundamental of it.  We’re in it for the music and we’re in it to succeed as much as we can, which is why we connected I guess the biggest thing we connected on wasn’t so much a concept other than work ethic where we said right let’s fuckin’ do it and let’s do it as hard as we can so that’s a big part of it.

Was it truly a case of instantly getting Over-Reactor to where you wanted it to be or do you feel that you’re still working towards where you want it to be?
It’s nowhere near where it’s going to be.  I listened to Lose Your Delusion the other day, it came on shuffle and I just finished listening to the master with Cory and I thought, fuck, it sounds very different and in that moment sounded so far removed from anything we’ve produced now, whilst I’m incredibly proud of that record and I think it is a really great album I can’t help but almost feel disconnected from it in some ways as the whole thing is just moving in a completely different direction.  We’ve just got this new equipment, which for the next album, the last two albums we’ve written in the studio, the next album we’re actually going to be playing and writing live with these computers that we’ve got.  We’re not really satisfied , we don’t really know where it’s going to go and we just keep pushing the boundaries of where we can take it, but compared to where it’s going to be in ten years, it’s a child, it’s a very, very young child just learning to walk.  I can’t wait for the teenage years, it’ll be fun, the twenties are the best though, no responsibilities, no obligations.

Touring wise, what have you got in the pipeline in support of this new album?
We’re hitting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and that’s over June and July, I encourage people to go to www.over-reactor.com and check out those tour dates and sign up to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when we’re coming to your town. They can also order the album online if they’re somewhere remote and can’t get to the show, and they can download it from our website, we have this pay what you can afford principle so you can pay $0 if that’s what you can afford but if you want to be fair about it and you’re making $150 grand a year then we’d like you to pay what you think you can afford for our record because we worked really hard writing it, but we don’t want to stop anyone getting the music.  There’s that tour, then later in the year we’re thinking we might make a live DVD, then we’re pushing on to Christmas, but right now we’re preparing frantically for the shows that start next week on the 7th June in Bendigo, then around the country until the end of July, then we’ll see where we’re at.  We’re hitting five states, which we’re pretty happy with.

Now for those that haven’t yet seen you perform before, what can people expect from one of your live shows?
I think something that will polarise them and force them to make a choice on whether they like it or not, it’s nothing you’ve ever seen before, it’s some of the best showbiz you’ll ever see, we can guarantee you will be entertained with what you see.  I guess sonically and with other things I guess you need to make your own mind up, we leave it on the floor  and it’s a unique to the world what Over-Reactor is doing, I spend a lot of time listening to music and talking to other musicians and listen to what it exciting people.  There’s no one else using the same equipment in the same configuration that we’ve got with the same artistry that we have and it’s a very unique and original idea, therefore it is quite confronting for some audience members, but I guess you’ll never, never know if you never, never go, as the saying goes.

What about overseas?  Have you thought about that market or are you concentrating on Australia?
We’ve got very small children so we really need to focus on raising good boys at the moment and overseas is something that we really need to commit some time to.  We have our management and our booking agent who are very interested and our booking agent was just in the UK and our management has everything set up for when we want to go over there and we’ll be looking at getting this album released over there anyway.  So we are confident that once we want to , we can get over there and we really need it to be right and make sure that things are ticking over.  But yeah, absolutely, word domination is the plan and then we just listen to the people we have around us to make that as effective as possible and we use this wonderful team that we now have, we’ve only just recently secured our management and booking deals, it’s the first tour we’ve done with them.  So really we’re just looking forward to being able to focus on the shows and the music, but then they can do what they do so well and we’ve really got a wonderful team around us, so the sky’s the limit, so also we don’t really like to travel during AFL footy season because we’re both fanatics so we want to make sure we stay close to a TV that’s got that on.

Essential Information

From: Melbourne, Australia

Sounds like: Death-Hop

Band members: Ezekiel Ox, Cory Blight

Website: http://www.over-reactor.com


Catch Over-Reactor on tour:

Thurs 7 June – The Pub, Bendigo VIC
Tickets: $12.00 + BF (presales) & $15.00 (door sales)
Tickets through OZTIX:1300 762 545 / www.oztix.com.au & THE PUB,

Fri 8 June – The National Hotel, Geelong VIC
Tix: $12.00 + BF (presales) & $15.00 (door sales)
Tickets through OZTIX:1300 762 545 / www.oztix.com.au

Sat 9 June – Esplanade Hotel – Front Bar, St Kilda VIC
Free Entry

Thurs 14 June – Live At The Wall @ Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
Tickets: $15.00 + BF (presales) & $18.00 (door sales)
Tickets through GO BOOKEM: www.gobookem.com

Fri 15 June – The Great Northern Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Tickets: $12.00 + BF (presales) & $15.00 (door sales)
Tickets through OZTIX:1300 762 545 / www.oztix.com.au

Thurs 21 June – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide SA
Tickets: $12.00 + BF (presales) & $15.00 (door sales)
Tickets through OZTIX:1300 762 545 / www.oztix.com.au

Fri 22 June – Spurs Saloon, Davenport TAS
Tickets: $10.00available at the door

Sat 23 June – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart TAS
Tickets: $12.00 + BF (presales) & $15.00 (door sales)
Tickets through OZTIX:1300 762 545 / www.oztix.com.au

Fri 13 July – Spotted Cow, Toowoomba, QLD
Free Entry

Sat 14 July – Basement 243, Brisbane QLD
Tickets: $12.00 + BF (presales) & $15.00 (door sales)
Tickets through www.over-reactor.com

Fri 20 July – Curtin Bandroom, Melbourne VIC
Tickets: $15.00 + BF (presales) & $18.00 (door sales)
Tickets throughMOSHTIX: 1300 438 849 / www.moshtix.com.au

 

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