Emotive hardcore bands OVERO (USA, members of football, etc., GO HERE to see our introductory feature) and Asthenia (JPN) are pairing up to deliver four visceral, cathartic songs on their new special joint-split record, slated for a September 21st release via Middle-man Records (USA) and Pundonor Records (ESP) (co-released with Forge (JPN), Count Your Lucky Stars (USA), strictly no capital letters (UK), Lilac Sky (NOR), Polar Summer (RUS), Scully Records (USA)), and today, we’re thrilled to give you the first hearing of OVERO’s new song and music video “Near The End”, along with our brief interview with the band.
Originally planned in conjunction with an Overo/Asthenia Japan tour set for November 2020, the split 7” showcases both bands’ ability to balance vulnerability and aggression, light and dark, whispers and gut-wrenching screams. As the pandemic raged across the world, eight record labels across six countries stepped up to support the release despite the cancellation of bands’ tour in support of it. The end result is a response to COVID-19 that’s sonic and substantial rather than literal.
For fans of: Yaphet Kotto, Daitro, Defeater, Moss Icon, Don Martin Three
She told me that love is not enough.
Overo formed in November 2018 when emo stalwarts from football, etc. and Perfect Future teamed up with veteran Houston drummer John Baldwin. The chemistry was instantaneous and fueled by a passion for experimentation, intensity, and a time when emo was much closer to hardcore. In 2019, Overo released their self-titled debut LP and toured the US and UK. The band is currently working on its second LP.
Asthenia is a hardcore band from Toyko, Japan. They play simple, to the point, arpeggio-heavy and screamy-singy-talky hardcore influenced by bands such as Vanilla, Moss Icon, Plunger, Native Nod, Yage, and Turning Point. Lyrics are sung almost entirely in Japanese, on topics ranging from social ills and racism in Japan to politics, depression, lives, loves, and regrets.
In 2014, Asthenia self-released its Four Songs 10” (later re-released by Cross My Heart and Hope to DIY), and since then released a split 7” with Akallabeth (UK), a split CD with Blue Friend (JPN) and Calculator (USA), and a digital EP. Asthenia also appeared in several compilations including My Heart in Your Hand 10”. With the help of their friends and community, the band has organized DIY tours for several bands including Human Hands (UK), Calculator, and Nebraska (AUS). In 2016, Asthenia toured the UK with Human Hands and Arkless (UK).
What is “Near the End” about and what was the writing/recording process like?
Brendan: This is easily our shortest song. When we knew we would be recording for a seven inch, we knew we wanted to try to fit two songs onto our side. This put the pressure on to write a really short song that still felt very much like an Overo song. We recorded with Jay Littleton at Sterrett Street Studios. We recorded a Rainer Maria cover with him last year, but this time we decided to track live.
John: I was more or less trying to play drums the way Isaac from Punch On! would. I hope I’ve succeeded, haha.
What was the video shoot like?
Mercy: We recorded the video mostly by ourselves, with some help from our friend Jessica Baldouf, in our practice space. Our practice space is in downtown Houston in a 1930s warehouse, so the video has an industrial and gritty look to it.
Lindsay: Brendan and I brought our cameras up to the practice space and we shot the performance of both of our songs on the split a few times over. We sent the footage off to two different people who remotely edited the videos for us.
Brendan: The video was edited by Matt Gromley, one of my oldest friends. His primary day job is as a first assistant camera operator and gimbal technician, but I’ve known him back when he was making skate videos. We sent him all the footage and gave him pretty much free rein to do what he wanted with the video, and I think he really captured the spirit of the song.
John: Shooting the video was fun. It was interesting for me to see what we were able to pull off within our practice space. Luckily, we have some very talented friends who helped the footage look legit.
How is the local music scene in Houston right now?
John: It’s definitely unclear how Houston or the music scene here will look in the future. As we are still a hotspot for Covid, it can be tough to look forward. Many friends and musicians we know have lost loved ones and family during this time. Things are pretty bleak. Having said that, some great local bands I think are worth checking out would be Cool Moon, The Pose, Hibernationstate and Sleeping Ancient.
Mercy: Some of the venues are staying afloat with fundraisers (many of which have been led and promoted by local bands and promoters), while others have shifted their business models to focus on selling food and drinks to go. One of the gay bars is even doing virtual drag shows and drive-in movies. But, a lot of people in the community still aren’t taking COVID seriously, so it’s hard to imagine how and when we can come out the other side of this.
Other bands and artists to check out?
Brendan: Even though it feels like years and years ago, I’m still kind of riding the high from going on tour in the UK last November. We played with so many bands that I’ve been listening to almost daily ever since, bands like Punch On, Cady, Kaddish, and Riviera.
John: Some contemporary bands I’ve been really into include Sauna Youth (UK post-punk), Choir Boy (who have a fabulous new album on Dais), Ostraca (who we played with on tour and blew me away), Failed Flowers (great C-86 style indie), Executioners Mask (who just dropped an album on Profound Lore) and Xetas (awesome band and fellow Texans who run Bluebonnet Records, a cool record shop is Lockhart Texas). I’d also love to shout out Bug Bites, a great new indie rock project from my talented friend Daniella Hernandez. She’s a great songwriter and I’m excited to see what she releases in the future.
Lindsay:I have a very small label/distro called Scully Records, which is also involved in the release of the split 7”. But we also just helped to put out a discography tape from the band Riviera from Italy. Everyone should absolutely check out Riviera.
Future plans for the band?
Brendan: I’m sure we’d all love to go on tour and focus on playing shows for a while. But as a band we don’t anticipate doing so until playing a gig doesn’t put anyone at risk.
Mercy: We had some big plans pre-pandemic. This split was originally planned in support of a Japan tour with Asthenia in November, but obviously we had to nix that. I honestly don’t know when we’ll be able to hit the road again, or even play a local show. So for now, we’re focused on writing our next LP.
John: I would love to focus on finishing the second album. I’m feeling pretty excited about the direction the band has taken creatively. I feel like with each new song we’re pushing ourselves creatively, and for me, that is the most exciting part of being in a band.
Anything else to add?
Mercy: It’s a really dark time right now for a lot of reasons, but especially the political environment in the US right now. It’s disgusting how public safety has been turned into a partisan issue. But there’s a quote from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: