New York city production duo, Its Overture has been pumping out genre-bending remixes, blends, and mashups for over half a decade. Surviving the Golden Age picked up on them early in 2010 and have been vehement supporters ever since. The duo recently agreed to do an exclusive mix and interview with StGA.
Bill Withers/LCD Soundsystem “Dance Yrself Lovely (Its Overture Bootleg)”
Nubian Crackers “Clap 2 Da (Remix)”
Poolside “Do You Believe?”
The Weeknd “House Of Balloons (Nadastrom Edit)”
Ohio Players “Ecstasy (DJ Melo & Jon Kwest Remix)”
Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson “Miscommunicaton”
Chilly Gonzales “You Can Dance (Edwin Van Cleef Remix)”
Queen & David Bowie/Daft Punk “Voyage Under (Its Overture Bootleg)”
Mylo “Drop The Pressure”
2 In A Room “Wiggle It”
Treasure Fingers “Your Love”
Switch featuring Andrea Martin “I Still Love You (Original & Heavyfeet Remix)”
Heavy D/Afrojack “Take Over Love (Its Overture Bootleg)”
Jomanda/Sammy Bananas/Fedde Le Grand “Save Me (Its Overture Bootleg)”
The Rapture/Fake Blood “Medieval Love (Its Overture Bootleg)”
What are some of your earliest musical influences?
RiVerse: My first musical obsession was Hall & Oates around the age of 4. Hip hop kind of ran my life all through my teens and still works as the foundation for everything I do.
Macabee: My first cassette was Alvin and the Chipmunks singing Michael Jackson‘s greatest hits. The Beatles were also a big early influence. After that, I started listening to a lot of hip hop and house.
How did you get into DJing?
RiVerse: Being into hip hop as both a fan and in a creative aspect, it naturally evolved into DJing. So it started with listening to everything I could get my hands on, then that turned into making pause tapes and eventually I ended up buying a cheap pair of turntables from the back of The Source. Around that time the independent hip hop scene was really blowing up as well and a lot of the music was being put out strictly on vinyl. So necessity played a role as well.
Macabee: I played guitar in an incredibly fun band in high school, which was forced to split once we all graduated and moved to the four corners of the earth. I quickly got into production on the MPC, and soon after that I started DJing, as a way to be a one man band and keep churning out music. In a way I was DJing since I was young though; making mixtapes on a dual-deck boombox using my huge collection of cassingles.
What equipment/programs do you use to create music?
RiVerse: We DJ with Serato. For production, we both started out on the MPC-2000XL but almost everything we do now is on Ableton Live.
In a place like NYC where there is an overabundance of DJs, how do you think Its Overture stands out?
RiVerse: It’s definitely a crowded marketplace but whenever we spin, our goal is always to play to the crowd while still essentially doing “us.”
Macabee: I think our meticulous track selection is one of the main ways we set ourselves apart from most other DJs. We definitely pride ourselves on relentlessly dropping jam after timeless jam and never wasting a moment with “filler”.
What are some of your favorite records to spin during DJ sets?
RiVerse: That’s a difficult one to answer because it depends largely on what type of crowd we’re playing to. Every genre/crowd offers us the opportunity to play some things we love, either because we know they’ll kill or because we love sneaking in things people might not know.
You created an exclusive mix for StGA, can you describe a little bit about the concept behind it and some of the song selections?
Macabee: We wanted to try to distill the arc of a night into a 30 minute mix using songs from different genres and eras. We often try to do more than just quietly mix one record into another so the mix also includes a lot of new blends and many of the transitions add extra layers, samples or call backs to the previous track. A number of times on this mix we literally create a dialogue of sorts between the two tracks we’re mixing, which is something we like to do whenever possible.
RiVerse: While not an all out “cut and paste” mix, we’ve always been drawn to a more manipulative style of DJing……when it’s done well, of course. As we both said earlier, hip hop informs much of our aesthetic and a lot of that comes out in our penchant for flipping samples, both in our tracks and mixes. So we always try to incorporate that into whatever we do whether it’s through blends, content-conscious mixes, etc because we feel like we don’t hear a lot of that style anymore. Because while the whole age of the “mash up” did some good things for bringing an all-bets-are-off approach to sampling, it also created a stigma because a lot of it was (and still is) done badly: out of key, off beat, incoherent, crunk-acapella-over-indy-jam-of-the-week kind of things. So we’re trying to bring it back to a place that’s more reputable. More Prince Paul than Girl Talk.
What is next for Its Overture?
We’re going to keep releasing remixes and blends/mash ups every couple of weeks and we’ve got another volume of our Classic Rap mix that we’re working on that we’re really excited about. We also have plans for a real all genre, all style, cut-and-paste mix that will hopefully do justice to what we think DJing and sample-heavy production can be.
Aside from that, we plan to keep putting things out that continue to establish our range. Our love for all types of music enable us to move between genres and styles pretty naturally so we want to continue to build on that. We’ve done reworks of everyone from Phish and Grateful Dead to Company Flow (as a Drum-N-Bass remix, no less) and Sister Nancy. Cut Copy and Modular Records gave us props for our edit of “Sun God”, a lot of old school hip hop blogs showed love for our Classic Rap mix and most of our club-friendly remixes and bootlegs continue to get us attention. So we’re proud of that range and want to keep trying to bring a universal standard of quality to everything we do.