TEXT BY SOPHIA JENNINGS ('16), OUTGOING CREATIVE DIRECTOR
IMAGE BY ANI ACOPIAN ('16), STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
“We were infants back then!” JJ Mitchell (’15) yelps over the phone. It’s been a year since METHOD interviewed Hana Elion (‘15) and JJ Mitchell, the now international folk power-house known as Overcoats. In the months following that Foss Hill afternoon, they won Battle of the Bands, opened Spring Fling, released their debut EP and moved to Dublin for the summer.
But now they’re back. Calling me from Hana’s Lower East Side apartment, they’ve just returned from West Virginia where they played NPR’s Mountain Stage Radio Show. There they played to an audience of 500 while Nate Repasz ('14) and Myles Potters ('12) provided live electronics. Even better, this week brought the release of their newest single, “Nighttime Hunger.” Next up? South by Southwest and a possible college tour.
Reflecting on where she was a year ago, JJ admits that she was “totally unprepared for the real world.” “All of my friends were applying to jobs, I wasn’t,” she says. “But slowly it’s become apparent that this is what I’m supposed to be doing. And it just keeps on getting reaffirmed.”
I'm curious how things have changed since graduating Wes. While last Spring the duo talked about writing for hours in bed, today it seems the girls write in a more drawn out process. Hana will think of a line, tell JJ, then JJ will track the line for a couple weeks and add the next phrase. “These are my favorite songs that we write, the ones that bring together two disjointed parts,” Hana says. “Because the tension is what makes things really cool.”
“It’s also what makes us, us,” JJ says. One of their current songs in progress was written by Hana in Dublin as a lonely country-folk song. “I was like there’s no way we can make this sound like Overcoats,” Hana says. “But then JJ wrote new electronic instrumantation and all this percussion and it sounded like us.”
After sharing bills with Matt Corby, Emily Wells and Ra Ra Riot, the girls are keen to book more opening slots. “But our endgame is to make an album before too long,” Hana says. “We have goals and we’re working really hard towards them.” And where are these goals? “On a Google spreadsheet.”