New interview with Overthrow on the occasion of the upcoming full-length release. Overthrow are a Black & Death Metal inspired Thrash Metal band formed in London, UK, in 2011.
Hi! Tell us about the origins of the project. How did you all come together, why this style was chosen?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): Overthrow started in the summer of 2011 with myself and our former guitarist getting together and just coming up with Thrash Metal riffs, inspired by bands like Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead, Evile and Sylosis. Once we had our first stable line-up, we knew we wanted to play fast, aggressive, heavy riff-based but also melodic music, so we naturally gravitated towards Thrash, as it’s what we were predominantly listening to at the time. I don’t think it was consciously contrived planned of ours to play Thrash in the very beginning, it just happened naturally.
How is the preparation/the birth of new material happened? Is it a matter of inspiration or increased practice, hard work? Where does the inspiration for a song begin? Also tell about the role of each in writing the material. Who writes the lyrics, music in Overthrow, how do you assign roles in arrangements?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): Usually, a song begins with a riff or a couple of riffs, or perhaps even a lyric (or even a song title) and we take it from there quite naturally. I write the majority of the musical ideas and pretty much all of the lyrics, while the rest of the band members help out massively with arrangements, tempos, layering and song structure. I might be the most prolific in terms of writing but I believe that all band members must have a say in how a song should come together and they must all agree on the musical direction as a unit, or it just doesn’t work. For me, being one of the guitarists as well as the lead vocalist, the song has to be enjoyable to play and within my ability to handle vocal duties as well, plus it should ideally be memorable for the listener, but whatever I write, I write for myself, first and foremost. Furthermore, when it comes to song-writing, it’s a combination of many hours/weeks/months/years of practice, hard work, dedication and also making sure you keep a record of all of your ideas once inspiration strikes. I have literally hundreds of riff/song ideas I record on my phone and my laptop at home. A lot of them are complete garbage but occasionally I’ll come up with something cool that can be used. Inspiration can come out of nowhere but usually this is not the case; you have to put the work in if you want to get good results, like any other discipline you pursue in life. But, fundamentally, you need to enjoy what you’re doing otherwise what’s the point?
A separate question for my colleague bassist, hehe. What equipment he uses, how he sees himself in the band, what he strives for and what virtuosos he is inspired by (from any genre, not only metal).
Alin (Bass): For the album I used my ESP LTD F Series Danny Kenny signature, which I prefer to use live with Overthrow as well, alongside my Line 6 HX stomp (I used to have quite a few pedals but have simplified everything by replicating the signal chain within the HX stomp, which included a Sansamp, a Darkglass and about 2 levels of compression) and my TC Electronic RH750 and that the exact setup I use live as well, no gimmicks, I also have a Dingwall Afterburner 1 6 string which is my weapon of choice as of late.
Hmmm, it’s a tough question, normally in most bands I was the middle-ground guy, mediator of sorts, however with Overthrow we are all mature enough not to need that anymore, we all have different taste in music and are different people, obviously quite a few converging genres and interests, but enough to make us different individuals with a common goal, I would like to think I bring a bit of fun on stage and that little bit of groovy flavour to the basslines and not keep it just your typical root note standard bass style.
In regards to bassists that I follow and have influenced me I would definitely say Steve DiGiorgio of Death, Testament and Sadus among many many others, but those 3 are some of my favourite bands and his contribution to fretless and fretted bass alike in metal is tremendous, one of the many reasons I play bass with my fingers and not a pick (as Seinfeld use to say: Not that there’s anything wrong with that), Dominic Lapointe for obvious reasons similar to Stevie D. On a lighter side, being a massive Led Zeppelin fan, John Paul Jones always managed to stand out in a band where all of them were pretty exceptional and in an era where John Entwistle was the gold standard in bass playing and showing off and experimenting, lastly Michael Manring for not accepting any limits in regards to his instrument, what that guy can do on 4 strings is beautiful. I can go for hours on this, last 2 mentions are defo Jeff Berlin and Evan Brewer, for mixing genres and styles so well.
Your debut full-length album “Strike Down The Saviour” is out very soon. Tell us about your experience of working on it, about the difficulties, about what worked best and what you liked while working. What are your expectations for it?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): “Strike Down The Saviour” was basically written over the lifespan of the band, since 2011 up until 2020. We’ve had multiple line-up changes throughout the band’s existence; this is one of the many reasons why it has taken us so long to finally get our debut album recorded. The album is a sort of culmination of all the best songs that have been written and refined over the last decade, through the various incarnations of the band. Once we had the recording line-up sorted and spent many months on pre-production, the actual recording process was extremely difficult, since we basically started recording during the first wave of Covid-19. We luckily got all the drum tracks done the week before lockdown but then we had to wait a couple of months to get the guitars, bass and finally vocals put down. Ultimately, we all pulled through and we’re all extremely pleased with the final result. Our producer/engineer, Sam Thredder at Cro’s Nest Studios, did a remarkable job on the production/editing despite the less than ideal circumstances we were all faced with. I expect that we will pick up some new fans with the album and hopefully we will be able to play to bigger capacity crowds, with live gigs becoming permitted again.
Who did the artwork for the release, what meaning did you want to convey? And who did the sound? Tell us what to expect from the album in terms of art and sound.
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): The artwork for the album was done by a guy named Anthony Giles, who did some artwork for the Thrash Metal band Terrathorn from Brighton, UK. The front cover depicts an empty throne room with a throne shaped like a lion, surrounded by skulls. A crown dripping with blood sits on the throne too. The inside cover shows a photograph of my friend, Joe Heraghty, formerly of the band Juggern0rt, who sadly passed away in 2014 and to whom the album is dedicated to. In the photo, he is sitting on a lion-shaped throne, so I wanted to link that photo with the concept for the cover artwork, as well as to honour his memory. As I stated in the previous question, the production was handled by Sam Thredder at Cro’s Nest Studios in Croydon, London. We’ve already had an amazing response from people telling us they love the production from the singles we’ve released and I’m not surprised. Sam did an amazing job and we’re incredibly proud of the album. It’s a great representation of what the band sounds like today.
What musical projects have served as a guideline, a source of inspiration for you?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): As I stated previously, we were originally inspired by a lot of Thrash Metal bands in the beginning. As the band has progressed, so has our musical tastes and I, personally, listen to more Black Metal and Death Metal nowadays, as well as classic Heavy Metal and also a lot of Doom Metal. This has naturally bled into my approach to song-writing in more recent years and you can hear that on the album; all of the songs are different in terms of what the inspiration behind them was from their inception, but you can still hear that every song sounds like Overthrow. Again, this wasn’t so much a contrived decision as it was a natural occurrence, but I am also an avid fan of bands who don’t follow the same formula for every song/album, so it makes sense that each song is it’s own universe unto itself, yet each song still forms a vital part of “Strike Down The Saviour” as a whole piece. Obviously, we still listen to Thrash Metal and are constantly inspired by it (Slayer is still my number one inspiration if I had to pick one). But over the years, our musical palette has grown exponentially, so naturally our ability to write Metal songs has grown too.
Tell us about your recently released music video for “Altar Of The Fallen”. Why did you decide to shoot a video for this particular song? What is it about?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): “Altar Of The Fallen” was an idea I had many, many years ago that was sort of half-finished but then basically abandoned, as the line-up at the time wasn’t particularly enamoured with it. I decided to resurrect it, as I felt it deserved a place on the album and it was finessed and refined with the help of the other band members. For me, it’s an absolute tour-de-force of a song. It’s one of the songs that all the guys in the band absolutely love as well, so I’m extremely grateful that it got what it deserved and became the epic album closer that it is. It was a no-brainer that we were going to release it as a single and do a video for it, since it’s such a grandiose song and merits a grandiose visual impact to go with it. The song itself is a sort of fantasy-based narrative, which tells the listener about an occult ritual taking place at an altar in order to resurrect the dead and wreak havoc on the living. The visuals in the video directly reference the lyrics in the song and is the first time we’ve had an actual storyline in a music video too, as well as shots of the band playing on a massive stage in a prestigious venue. Ultimately, we are incredibly proud of the video and I’m very grateful to the guys for helping me finish the song. It’s pretty cool that the song “Altar Of The Fallen” itself was brought back from the dead!
What kind of movies do you like? Do you have any hobbies besides music?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): I like crime/drama films and also dark comedies. I’ll watch anything by Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock or Mel Brooks. I also like war films and classic horror movies. I don’t really have any hobbies outside of music. I love going to gigs, but I also love being completely isolated at home, where I can work on music in peace. When I’m not doing Overthrow stuff, I’m usually either playing guitar, listening to music or working out at home (as I can’t stand being at the gym with other people). I’m also learning to play the piano, I enjoy reading and I’m obsessed with music documentaries.
Tell us more about how the music scene is developing in your country now, how has the musician’s life changed in general due to the Pandemic?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): In the UK, live gigs have just recently started to come back properly without social distancing, which we are relieved about since our shows tend to be quite rowdy and the album is due to be released in a matter of days. We haven’t performed live since December 2019 but I am optimistic that we will be able to capitalize on the release of the album, plus the easing of restrictions on live music. Our album launch will take place in London on Thursday 7th October, which I am very excited about. Speaking for myself, my life honestly hasn’t changed that much since the pandemic; I spend a lot of time locked up in my house working on and recording music anyway, so the pandemic didn’t really affect me in that regard. Obviously, 2020 was a shit year for all musicians globally and as a band we all experienced personal loss and hardship due to the pandemic, but it certainly hasn’t hindered our progress as far as I can tell nor has it dampened my determination to keep the band going, quite the contrary. In fact, strange as it may be to say this, I’m actually more focused and driven now than ever before, so in that regard the pandemic has actually helped.
Could you recommend some interesting underground bands from your country?
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): Decrepid, Hellripper, Live Burial, Necro Ritual, Deitus, Ageless Oblivion, Voices, Shrapnel, Vacuous, Iron Altar and King Goat to name a few.
And according to tradition, in the final question, tell us about the project plans for the future.
Jay (Guitar/Vocals): We’ve got an EP and about 3-4 albums worth of material that we’re sitting on at the moment so there will be many, many more releases from Overthrow in the future. Hopefully the next release won’t take as long as the first.
Jay White – Rhythm Guitar/Vocals
Alex Harris – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Alin Iordache – Bass Guitar
Scott Lindsay – Drums