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The Overtones

May 2011

AN album in the top five, a sell-out UK tour, an appearance on Dancing On Ice, another booked with Elton John, a theatre tour confirmed for the autumn... and yet the group in question look and sound like something from the 1950s.
So how did The Overtones do that?
“A lot of the music in the charts now is about real music,” says Darren Everest.
“Look at Adele. It’s just her voice and a piano most of the time. I think people want to hear the raw talent now.”
There’s no question that hard work has a lot to do with the vocal harmony group’s success, having toured around the UK for six years before the record company came knocking.
“We’ve been working towards this for a long time. And we played everywhere, at every possible event you could imagine; social events, weddings, pubs, you name it.”
He adds: “The last six months have been a complete whirlwind.”
Their debut album, Good Ol’ Fashioned Love, which features interpretations of The Darts’ Come Back My Love, The Chords’ SH-Boom (Life Could Be A Dream) and Billy Joel’s The Longest Time, reached number four earlier this year, shifting more than 200,000 copies.
There’s been a sell-out UK tour and they’ll be joining Elton John this summer for one of his outdoor shows.
Not bad for five lads from Britain, Ireland and Australia who take their inspiration from the early days of popular music, from groups who rarely get played on national radio.
“And that’s a shame,” says Everest.
“We’re trying to bring a bit of that back. It’s feelgood, you know. It puts a smile on your face.
“We try and incorporate fashion into it as well. Back in the 40s, 50s and 60s people loved getting dressed up on Saturday night, going out and having a dance and we love that idea.”
They draw their inspiration from The Drifters, The Temptations and The Platters but also contemporary artists such as Paloma Faith and Michael Buble.
“I’ve always been into vocal groups,” says Everest.
“When I was growing up I was listening to Backstreet Boys, N-Sync and Boyz II Men. My older sisters was in to all the boy bands so I was listening to all those. I guess that had an effect on me.
“But my cousin got me into a lot of the American vocal groups like The Temptations, Blackstreet and Boyz II Men.”
He’s been in a few groups, all based on vocal harmonies but The Overtones were the first to get a record deal. Although it took six years.
“I’d been doing bar work, waiting, spraying perfume in Harrods, painting and decorating... everything you can imagine.”
It was during a painting and decorating job that they unwittingly found themselves auditioning for a record label.
Everest decided to set up a company for all of the group to work for during the day in order that they could earn enough money to pay the rent. One of their first jobs was redecorating an office in Oxford Street and during one of their tea breaks, they gathered together on a side street and began to rehearse for that evening’s gig.
A passer-by handed them her business card.
“She was from a record label,” says Everest.
Three days later they were in the boardroom at Warners. By the time they left, they were clutching a five-album recording contract.
“People think we’ve got lots of money now but we’re just happy to be doing what we’re doing,” says Everest.
“It’s a dream come true. The money and the fame will be a by-product of that. I’m not saying I don’t want a lot of money because I do but it’s not the most important thing.
Which one is most likely to do a Robbie Williams and go off the rails?
“(Laughs) I think we can all do that but I don’t think any of us will be leaving just yet. We want to go down as legends like The Temptations and Boyz II Men. Down the line we might all go off and do our own thing but I think we’ll always come back and be The Overtones.”
Does anyone ever confuse you with The Undertones?
“Yes, especially when we’re in Ireland. They go ‘and here we have The Undertones...’
“I thought of the name so I’ll take all the responsibility.”

Who@ The Overtones
Where @ Royal Concert Hall
When @ October 11
Tickets @ £19.50/£23.50, 0115 989 5555

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