21.02.2019 | Words by: Mathys Rennela
With gems such as Acid Badger and Hackney Parrot, the brothers Tom and Ed Russell, better known as Truss/MPIA3 and Tessela, have made a name for themselves by producing an impressive discography of club bangers. Recently, the brothers have been collaborating extensively together as Overmono, both as DJs and as producers, and released 5 EPs in the span of two years. Ahead of their set in our basement along with Deena Abdelwahed and Zohar, we asked them to tell us a bit more about their Overmono project.Q: Under your respective monikers, Truss/MPIA3 and Tessela, you have built a reputation for yourselves in the UK electronic music scene. What pushed you to start this collaboration and produce music together?
Tom: To be honest I think we’re both still surprised it took us so long to start collaborating!
Ed: Yeah it’s weird… for whatever reason it’s just not something that really crossed our minds until about 3 years ago. We were on our way to our mum’s place and were chatting about music and we came up with the idea of hiring a cottage somewhere remote and taking a load of kit with us to make some music.
Tom: Couple of months later we’re in the middle of nowhere in rural Wales with a make shift studio setup. We spent a week writing what would become the basis of the Arla series that ended up being released on XL. Q: You’ve played back to back together in the past, but Overmono isn’t your first live collaboration. Back in 2012, you joined forces under the moniker TR\ER and released the track UC. This track was a great blend of your respective styles — the right balance between bass and acid. You brought your hardware for a mind-blowing set at Dekmantel Festival 2014. How does this project differs from Overmono and what made you want to go in another direction?
Ed: We never actually meant for TR\ER to be a thing. It just sort of happened after a promoter in Ireland asked us if we’d play live together at their party. Next thing we know we’re playing a bunch of other shows including Dekmantel… It was fun but not something that either of us had planned in terms of an ongoing project.
Tom: Yeah we were definitely massively winging it with TR\ER… we had hardly any direction. Good fun for a little while though.
E: Overmono offers us the chance to be much more expansive in our productions. We’d both become known respectively for particular styles of music. After a while that can start to get a bit restrictive, when people expect something very specific from you.
Tom: It’s a chance to start from scratch. Take what we've learnt and put it towards something new. Q: Between the breakbeats and the heavy use of synths, it’s easy to get some form of early trance/rave music nostalgia while listening to your music, but your sound feels really personal and contemporary. Would you describe Overmono as a nostalgic or forward thinking project? Maybe both?
Tom: There was a tinge of nostalgia to the Arla
series of records. Those three records were very personal to us in trying to establish a blueprint of our references and define what Overmono is about. They were about trying to capture a sense of the thrill of discovering dance music and rave culture for the first time during our formative years, but (hopefully!) presented in a new and interesting way. Those records felt like an important first step for us with Overmono.
Ed: Making music purely for nostalgia reasons doesn’t interest us. I mean, our productions are very much grounded in our combined influences - predominantly UK rave culture and the various genres that exist within it. But this is just used as a starting point, from where we try to experiment and move forward. Q: You recently released the track Raft Living, which is completely beatless, with an odd modular synth playing for two minutes. This isn’t the first time that you release a beatless track as Overmono. Is it something which particularly appeals to you?
Ed: We both like melody. Don’t really mind if it’s beatless or not. Main thing is that it has some emotion to it.
Tom: I think that pretty much sums up what we’re trying to achieve musically. Q: Speaking of Raft Living, it is also part of an EP that you have released under your own label, Poly Kicks. What do you have in mind this year for the label? Which projects are keeping you busy at the moment?
Tom: It’s shaping up to be our busiest year yet for the label. Which isn’t saying much since we’ve never done more than two records in a year before! But yeah, got quite a bit on the go right now. Mostly to do with the ’50 locked grooves’ series we do.
Ed: Can’t give away much right now unfortunately, but we have a new locked grooves record coming out in a month or two from a producer we both hugely respect. The loops are comprised mostly of vocal samples from tracks in their back catalogue.
Tom: Other than that we’ve got three other locked groove records from different producers, a live percussion record and some killer t-shirt designs by Heikki Lotvonen. Q: What do you have in store for your night at De School?
Ed: Trying to represent all that’s good about UK influenced club music.Overmono will be doing a DJ set in our basement on Saturday night. Tickets are still available here and at the door.