What’s Happy Hour without a nice soundtrack? Today we drop by Overcoast (a Boutique Custom Music and Sound House in Richmond and London) to talk with trans-Atlantic producers, Travis Tucker and Colin Beckett about how they stay inspired to create customized music for their varied client base while working on different sides of the same ocean.
Tell us about Overcoast - what do you do, why and how do you do it?
Travis (T): Overcoast is a boutique music and sound house. We compose music for commercials and film, as well as provide final mix services, sound design, voice over/ISDN recordings, and anything music or sound oriented that our clients need.
Personally, I do this for the challenge. When I was doing this freelance, I felt like an outsider to the companies I was working with. I never was really in-the-know. My intention with Overcoast was to make it feel more open - I don’t want the closed door feeling. It’s not a hierarchy, but a team environment.
We have five partners who are also composers. We have varying tastes. I’m more into indie rock, Matt loves hip hop, JL is into psychedelic rock, Chris loves orchestral work, Colin can do everything from dubstep to flamenco. Outside of the five of us, we work with composers from the west and east coast, the UK, Spain, Australia - anywhere, really that allows the capacity for more authentic sounding music from each region.
How did you all meet?
T: We all met when we were freelancing. I was working at another recording company but was also freelancing with Matt and JL. Our relationship started out being based on music, not necessarily just friendship. JL and I were also both in bands, and Matt was doing a lot of custom sound work. We wanted to get together and start a company, but we were all composers and musicians so we knew we had a lot to learn on the business side. Matt is British, but was working here in America, and he had two other “mates” back in England who had backgrounds in music and were interested in getting involved. The rest is history and now we are an international company.
Colin, What are some of the best parts about living and working in the UK?
Colin (C): Well, that’s a bit of an awkward question since I’m currently in the process of applying for my transfer to the US! The UK is fun and it’s steeped in history, but the weather is unpredictable and it’s an expensive place to live.
Travis, why did your half of Overcoast choose to settle in Richmond?
T: We get asked that a lot. First, I was born and raised here. Secondly, I feel that Richmond has a lot to offer creatively and deserves its recognition on the international landscape. One of my goals with Overcoast is to contribute to that more international, or forward thinking trend that I feel is happening in Richmond. It is exciting to be in a city where you can have a noticeable impact, and be a part of exciting progress.
Tell us about your office-inside-an-office. Is working inside the Gather co-working space the best of both worlds?
T: It’s definitely the best of both worlds. Studios can often be secluded places, and of course there is very good reason for that, as it allows you to get into your own creative space. But at Gather, we have the capacity to close the door and shut the world out, or walk out to the community space and hang with all the wonderful people. Plus there are cookies every Wednesday, provided by Sugar & Twine. Overcoast endorses cookie Wednesday in a big, big way.
How often do you guys get to travel for work? Where do you go the most?
T: We get to travel an okay amount, which is pretty exciting. This year I got to go up to New Hampshire to do location sound for a film about lobster fishing, which was amazing in every way. Also, traveling to London to present at Adweek was a huge moment in my life. I’m still jealous of some of the production companies we work with though, who constantly get to travel the world and go to awesome locations. Most of the time it is best for us to hang in the studio to get our compositions mixed and mastered just right.
C: I travel to the states quite a bit, mainly to New York and then Richmond to check up on the other guys. Make sure they’re not slacking. I fell in love with New York the first time I went so tend to visit at least about 3-4 times a year.
Walk us through a typical day in each of your offices.
T: I fly in on my personal one-man smart jet and then put on my 3D glasses, which feel emotion and simulates a space that composes music based on my body motion. (ie. I drive to the studio, check emails, go to any meetings scheduled, follow up on any projects that are in production, and then coordinate / supervise / compose as needed. 3D glasses sound way cooler though.)
C: The days are very long, and usually starts around 9am. Depending on what jobs we have on the day ends about midnight - sometimes later. The beauty of it is you literally have no idea what the next day will bring.
Running your own business is a 24/7 job, how do you make space to relax?
T: Recently I have been really getting into making cocktails. I try to have friends to the studio or to my house as much as possible to make a specific cocktail that the group decides on before hand. A week or two ago I made the Belle Isle 75 with a group, and it was awesome. Just thinking about it makes me want to make one…so I will probably make one later tonight…or now. So good.
C: Being English, we tend to drink allot as a means to unwind! Weekdays are usually very busy with jobs and sessions, so maybe only a few glasses of red to unwind and then the weekend is blurred and before you know it Monday has arrived in all its big beautiful glory! Otherwise, for me - watching football (soccer) is my main source of relaxing, but equally has an added stress value when my team is losing!
What’s your dream gig?
T: Performing in Central Park. Not as a street performer. On a stage. A big stage.
C: One Direction
Meet the guys: Richmond
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Title: Spiritual Advisor
How do you like your ice? In Slurpee form.
What are the best 30-minutes of your day? Whichever ones are the happiest
What does retirement look like? In the south of France - good food and red wine
Hometown: Cartersville, VA
Title: Creative Director
How do you like your ice? Lots of it!
What are the best 30-minutes of your day? Early in the morning in the studio. I'm most creative during this part of the day, and there's a stillness to the morning that I enjoy.
What does retirement look like? I'll make music until I croak; but if I must retire, I'd like to live out my days with my lovely wife splitting time between a VA mountain house and traveling the US in a camper.
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Title: Head Of Production US
How do you like your ice? No preference, so long as it doesn’t get stuck to the bottom of the glass, and then fall in my face on the last sip.
What are the best 30-minutes of your day? Waking up to breakfast and then running down the hall being chased by Indigo and Lou, two crazy French bulldogs
What does retirement look like? Retirement? That still exists? If I ever retire, I will hopefully spend it travelling all around the world, doing cool things and hopefully getting into trouble. Older people can get away with more.
Meet the guys: UK
(Unavailable for this interview - here are the answers his co-workers supplied on his behalf . )
Hometown: Surrey, England
Title: Creative Director - UK
How do you like your ice? Like my favourite 90’s rapper
What are the best 30-minutes of your day? When I’m conditioning my hair
What does retirement look like? Morphing into Spanish Jesus
Hometown: Birmingham, England
Title: Head Of Production - UK
How do you like your ice? Surrounded by Bourbon
What are the best 30-minutes of your day? The snooze time before my next alarm goes off
What does retirement look like? Retirement is owning my own pub and sitting there drinking beer at the end of the bar with my pub dog.
Photography by Alexander Kreher