INTERVIEW: Overcoats Discuss Their New Remix Album ‘The Fight,’ Their Songwriting Workshop, Interacting With Fans, and More

Shervin Lainez

Catch up with Hana and JJ, also known as Overcoats, as they pull the curtain back and open up about all things music.

The Brooklyn alt-pop duo recently released their remix EP over quarantine for their 2020 sophomore album The Fight. Overcoats will also be teaching a 4-week songwriting workshop in January 2021. Read our exclusive interview with Overcoats below to find out how they got into music, how they celebrate releasing new music, songwriting, touring, and their most impactful lyrics.

GLITTER: When did your love for music begin?
Hana: I have loved music my whole life. My earliest music memory is seeing Britney Spears when I was in first grade. She rocked my world.
JJ: I think my love of music came from hearing English pop music like S Club 7 and Steps. My cousin and I used to know every word…

GLITTER: When did you start writing your own songs?
Hana: I think I started writing songs around 13 when I was in my first band, the whims. My lyrics were really heady; I think I was trying to sound like Kurt Cobain.
JJ: There’s a photo of me, age 6, doing a singing performance for my parents of songs I had written. They were AWFUL. But I had a fake microphone, so I looked cool.

GLITTER: How would you describe your sound and dynamic?
OVERCOATS: Our sound and dynamic are very intrinsic to our friendship. We sing everything in harmony and are constantly tackling life and music as a team. There’s definitely a yin and yang thing going on like we have differences, but we use those to complement each other in our music.

GLITTER: What does your music creating process consist of?
OVERCOATS: It really varies. Some songs get written in an hour; others take years. But generally, each song is a collage of both of our ideas. We often pass things back and forth to one another, each adding bits and pieces until they’re finished.

GLITTER: You recently released your remix album for The Fight; what was your favorite part of making it?
OVERCOATS: We have been working on this remix album during Covid times, and it has been such an incredible way to connect with other artists and breathe new life into the record we put out in March. A lot of the songs feel re-contextualized in the pandemic, and the remix album has allowed us to explore new themes and feelings in the same set of songs. It’s been really cool.

GLITTER: How do you celebrate releasing new music?
OVERCOATS: Our favorite way to celebrate releasing new music is to have a party. We did a great party at a barbershop for the release of our first single from The Fight, “The Fool.” We also did a release party when The Fight came out. We were sad to not be able to throw one for the remix album, but we did a zoom dance party so that we could pretend.

GLITTER: You’re doing a songwriting workshop in January; what exactly can fans that have signed up expect from it?
OVERCOATS: OK, just want to say, fans, don’t worry, we are randomly good at teaching. We both taught classes/student forums in college. Hana actually taught a songwriting course in our senior year. We feel like we’ve got a lot to share, and we’re excited to get the opportunity to do it.

GLITTER: What made you want to do the workshop, and would you like to do more in the future?
OVERCOATS: Again, it’s such an isolating time. We are craving ways to connect with our fans and share our music and process. This felt like a great opportunity to lift up the curtain and show people the way we really work.

GLITTER: Something really valuable about music is that it can give listeners any message; what is the message you hope to give with your music and is there a specific song that you really tried to get a message across to your fans?
OVERCOATS: It might sound obvious, but we would have to say The Fight, The title track of our album. “this is the fight, I know you’re tired, night after night, the great divide.”

GLITTER: Favorite way to interact with your fans?
OVERCOATS: We love having recurring jokes with certain fans that come to every show. One who has become very dear to us is nicknamed shrimp, and she brings those miniature rubber hands to every concert we play in Minneapolis. We love it so much.

GLITTER: Who are your music inspirations?
OVERCOATS: Right now, PJ Harvey, clinic, Nancy Sinatra, Clairo, and honestly all the classic Christmas Carols.

GLITTER: Favorite part of touring?
Hana: Performing and eating fried food.
JJ: Getting up to mischief in the tour van, the amount of poop jokes.

GLITTER: Most impactful lyrics, in your opinion?
Hana: I love the lyrics of “Leave if You Wanna.” They feel really powerful and true every time we sing them.
JJ: The most impactful for me are probably the lyrics of “New Shoes.” They feel so quotidian but true. 

GLITTER: Best piece of advice for anyone wanting to make music?
OVERCOATS: Save everything. You never know when something might be ready to resurface.

GLITTER: Glitter has a celebrity #SelfLoveCampaign. What does self-love mean to you?
OVERCOATS: Self-love is so important. It’s about taking the time to care for yourself so that you can make the biggest difference in the world. And it’s about treating yourself like royalty when the world puts you down. Self-love means taking a non-judgemental stance towards yourself in all things.

GLITTER: Do you have any new projects coming up that you can tease?
OVERCOATS: Collaborating in this time has been really fruitful. That’s all we will say…

GLITTER: What are the best social media platforms for fans to follow?
OVERCOATS: Really, all of them. We sort of tag team. Hana runs the Twitter, JJ is mostly an Instagram gal.