It’s the worst-kept secret that Music Dies Here is heavily influenced by the ethic of the Scots in Make that a Take. We are pretty sure they are to blame for the plethora of talented Scottish punk bands.
One of those talented bands is the Overbites. MuzzEh, Andrew and Jim are both fixtures in their local scene by now, so when I saw the Overbites was releasing a new EP soon, I jumped on the chance to bother MuzzEh Bennett with some questions.
In the classic Music Dies Here style, we hung on our phones and ended up catching up over chat on our lives, the Scottish punk-rock scene, whether the pandemic changed his outlook on music and affected the band, Goodbye Blue Monday, and what is next for the Overbites.
We did have some issues finding a time that worked best for us, what with the five-hour time difference, until I found myself still awake at 4am right as he was starting up his morning hanging out with his daughter and cleaning litterboxes (the lifestyle of aging punks isn’t all rock&roll, but it has always been a labor of love).
Let’s get into the actual band related questions before we get distracted by catching up! It’s been a long time mate!
Haha, aye sounds good! It’s been a very long time, hope you’re all good in the US!
I am! I’m doing this, so you know nothing really changed with in my life, just the location. Though I spent a lot less time confusing people by crashing in their or their friends living room. That’s an improvement, I think!
To start this off properly! I thought the Overbites was a four piece, but the recent video showed a three piece. Who’s in the band these days?
Yeah, The Overbites has changed since the Mince EP came out four years ago. We had a lead guitarist called Sam, and a bass player called Matt. Both left in August/September 2019, Sam left to go to uni in Edinburgh and Matt left for new adventures away from music. It was all good, I think they are both doing well.
After that we brought in our friend Geordie on guitar, as well as a new bass player. Geordie’s business picked up right when the COVID lockdowns hit and he had to leave the band, so we decided to push on as a three-piece. In December of 2021 we kicked our old bass player out because we found out some horrible stuff about his behavior that we couldn’t stand by and allow, I won’t go into details, but yeah, good riddance.
Literally the same day, I phoned our friend Andrew of Dog Eared to join and we’ve never looked back!
I can just imagine that phone call. “Mate, did you hear about our friend? Anyway, please play bass, please?” Did he immediately say yes?
Haha, I left him a voice note before I’d kicked the bass player out saying “there is going to be a change today and I was wondering if you would like to join on bass?” He got back and was like “absolutely!”. He’s really changed it up for us by adding harmonies, unreal bass playing and fresh ideas, plus he’s a bloody nice guy too!
That’s all you need, people who love what you do and want to be part of it!
The pandemic has been super weird for bands/musicians. Half of those I have talked to said they learnt that they really didn’t care as much and all but quit music, the other half doubled down on their love for music. Obviously, for your band it seemed like both happened – with members leaving for other pursuits, yet the band keeping strong.
Where do you personally – and if you can speak for them, your band members – stand? Did it inspire you to come back with renewed passion, or did you step back and are taking it slower?
You’re absolutely right, it made significant changes to people’s approaches to their music.
For me and the drummer Jim, we never really wanted to stop. I was doing the odd acoustic livestream, which was horrible, but I also started songwriting and demoing loads of new stuff. As soon as the lockdowns lifted, we were straight in the practice room every week. To Jim and I, we started this band and we vowed to make it more enjoyable than previous ventures, so that’s what we do. I feel it shows in our music and live shows, we’re just mates having fun.
I remember watching a lot of those livestreams, I probably stumbled upon one of yours as well. To be fair, most livestreams were horrible – not everyone is Goodbye Blue Monday. I for one am glad to hear you’re back at it (or still at it) and like what you do! How long have you been playing in bands anyway? I feel you’ve got quite the resume (I really do hate that term, but for lack of a better one)
That’s true, Goodbye Blue Monday are just too damn handsome for this scene! I can’t wait for their new album!
Thanks, I appreciate that! I’ve been playing in bands since I was 14 years old. So that’d be… 19 years! Fucking hell.
They’re unfair in handsomeness and talent. I got an advance copy of that new album and I cannot wait to annoy everyone I know about how good it is!
Oh wow, that’s a long time. Your time in music can legally be drunk over there and has been for long enough to learn what not too drink!
Lucky! I was speaking to Derrick of Make-That-A-Take Records last month and he said there’s a 16 minute song with over 100 guitar tracks recorded. Graham, what fuck mate!
I’ve just realised it’s been 19 years, this will take some time to settle in I think!
Oh that song! I think its closer to 10 minutes but I might be wrong. Let me check! Without ruining anything… just imagine playing a punk track live for 10 minutes without a break. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. (Note: I was wrong. It’s 16 minutes and 32 seconds)
So, what sets the Overbites apart from the other 16 or so years in music? I found it almost has a West Coast skate-punk sound to it !
Amazing, I love that band and big love to them for having the guts to put down a song that long. If I get any of my songs past 3 minutes I’m not happy, haha.
For me personally, The Overbites is Jim and I’s creation that has been co-created and built by Sam, Matt and now Andrew. I always played bass in previous bands and moved to guitar to focus more on the songwriting side of things, which I’m absolutely loving.
When starting the band, I reflected what punk rock music is to me, and realised it’s all about energy. So now I challenge myself to make each song as fresh and individual to the others, without it sounding too “samey” to the cliché, while keeping that energy that punk brings to a live gig.
It is about the energy. I think for many of us, it really is the safe space we can release that anger and frustration about life and the state of the world – whether we’re musicians or fans. It’s also why I always loved what MTAT does – they basically barged out that space in your local area by being there for years.
The Overbites have been with MTAT since you started right? I know you had a few bands before with them, when did that relationship start?
Absolutely, there’s nothing better than enjoying a punk band, singing along and having a wee jump about in the pit (although the older I’m getting, the further back I’m going in the crowd haha!).
You’re totally right, Dundee is so lucky to have MTAT & Rad Apples right on our doorstep, it’s great! I believe a good word for it is “thriving”.
I’ve known Derrick since about 2011 (?). My band at the time, Maxwell’s Dead, played a gig for MTAT in Perth with an American band called Spanish Gamble, it was a really good night, I can’t even remember where it was. I’ve been good friends with Derrick since then. I was a very immature guy back then, so I naturally learned a lot more and grew up a lot after going under the MTAT wing.
We were all immature once upon a time! That’s also a combining factor I see a lot in punk rock, it’s a lot of people who once felt lost and found themselves through it and the people they met. You could’ve done way worse than that crowd! With that said, how’s the local hype for the upcoming EP? Are the people there excited about it?
I also miss Maxwell’s Dead now. I’ve gotta listen to those songs again.
Oh yeah, before meeting MTAT, it was all Myspace and trying to find punk scenes in Scotland, I’d also book gigs and fail promoting them, but it was somewhere to play, it was dead, but still a laugh. Then when MTAT and us crossed paths, we never looked back.
Yeah, I think folk are excited, everyone seems to have enjoyed “Anxiety” and its music video (shout-out Hooligan of AllDeepEnds for his help). We’ve let a few friends hear it in full and they are loving it. I’m super proud of this EP, I really hope folk enjoy it when it comes out!
I do miss Maxwell’s Dead, it was a huge part of my life for about 12 years! A lot of chaos and stress, but still a lot of fun and laughs throughout.
I blame MTAT for the amount of great Scottish bands. Seriously though. So much talent for such a small country, within a smaller music scene. Who’s your favorite local? While at it, let’s bring the most stereotypical question into the mix, if there’s any band you could open for, who’d it be?
I can’t pick just one, there’s been so many who I love:
Dog Eared (Andrew’s other band)
Smokey Reaper (Jim’s other band)
That’s just off the top of my head and I know there’s loads more.
That’s a great question, I think I’d still love to open for Rancid, just to say that I achieved what I wished to one day do when I was a teenager. But today, I’d love to support Grade 2. Really enjoying them just now!
… Or Goodbye Blue Monday I guess haha
Grade 2 seems realistic! Set those goals, get it done. Rancid may be harder, but then again, nothing impossible. Besides Goodbye Blue Monday. I heard they’re rockstars now.
That’s a great list. I keep meaning to check out Dog Eared. It’s the only one on the list I haven’t yet.
All right, it’s getting late here. I’m sure there’s about a million more things we can talk about, but we should probably finish this up. So my last questions of my night and your morning.
How hard is it for the band to carve time out for music out of your adult lives of jobs, kids, pets, partners and the such? And more importantly, what are the future plans for the band and how are you gonna make it happen anyway, even now everyone is old and responsible?
Haha yeah! Doubt we’ll ever get a Rancid slot, they aren’t even coming to Scotland on their “UK” tour, big bands play 2-3 gigs then head into mainland Europe now, thanks Brexit!
Highly recommend Dog Eared, it’s Andrews band and they are superb!
That’s a great question to end it on, thanks for having me by the way!
When I started The Overbites, it was just after I’d gone through a whole mental health drop after personal things were going on around when my daughter was born. I took some time out to get my life at home sorted out and I haven’t looked back. Things have just gotten better in life when the priorities were lined up (who knew!). I barely drink now as I know it was making things worse and I only have a few beers when chilling with 1 or 2 close friends. Starting The Overbites after all this meant the priorities were already set in place.
Often we won’t be able to travel for months, as we all have full time jobs, families and stuff. This does mean that when we make the time to do any touring/gigs, we will enjoy it more when it comes along. I feel this is a factor why everything is less stressful in the band, plus it’s less of a burden to make time for mentally.
For future plans, we’ve got a few things in the pipeline, but the focus just now has been getting the “Time To Go” EP out, I’m so happy it’s finally happening!
So am I! It’s been a while since the last stuff.
Mate, never say no to that Rancid slot. Maybe their next UK date will have Scotland just for you. Can always dream, ha.
I’m glad to hear you’ve found your priorities and found a way to keep music as one of them. You’ve been such a constant in music for so long, it’d be a shame if it wasn’t. And I really liked the new single, if the rest of it sounds as good, it won’t disappoint
Thanks for taking some time out of the Sunday morning to catch up! Anything I’m missing? Like… what’s the release date of the new EP?
Yeah, it’s all good, I’m doing house chores while my daughter wants to show me her Among Us character on TV haha.
Yes, our EP will be out on February 3rd everywhere on all streaming platforms! You can pre-order a digital or CD copy of the EP from Make-That-A-Take Records BandCamp page (https://makethatatakerecords.bandcamp.com/album/time-to-go-ep). It has 7 tracks, so there’s plenty to enjoy!
We are also doing an EP launch party at Rad Apples with MTAT on Feb 3rd. If you are local to the area, come along! Tickets available here – https://makethatatakerecords.bigcartel.com/
If only I was local! I know we’ve got some friends in that corner of the world who will be there and may need that extra reminder!
Haha hell yeah! One day we might head to the US, you never know!
If so, we’ll get you that NYC show!
Aw yes, sorted!
Hey seriously, this was a fun way to catch up! It’s 6am here, I’m gonna get some sleep. I got a drum lesson in 8 hours, I probably should be fully awake for that.
Thanks so much for asking me! Hopefully see you guys one day soon! Enjoy your drum lesson!
I’m meeting the band later for a practice, first in a while so it’ll be good!
Enjoy your day with your daughter & tell her some weird friend of yours in America says hi. And enjoy band practice!
Hope to make it over this year, but can’t promise anyone anything. I know Marcus would love to make another BYE. If I do, I’ll make sure to load up on weird American candy for everyone who had kids these days.
Sounds braw! Take care pal, have a good sleep!
You too, have a good day!
If you read this and were hoping we would have asked more generic questions like who they recorded this with and what the sound is, we highly recommend you just pre-order the record instead.
Pre-order the upcoming EP: https://makethatatakerecords.bandcamp.com/album/time-to-go-ep
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Or give their old songs a listen right now!