Jer Cole: Punk/surfwave Oversat's on the verge of hip-hop show

Special to Knoxville.com
Oversat includes, from left, Jeremiah LongBear, Jared Cooper and King Doug. (Inset: Johnny Dillon.)

Special to Knoxville.com Oversat includes, from left, Jeremiah LongBear, Jared Cooper and King Doug. (Inset: Johnny Dillon.)

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Genre-bouncing act Oversat has provided Knoxville with punk and surfwave releases in the past, and has often mentioned its occasional hip-hop work. This Friday the band's urban side will be unveiled through the release of its "Verge Culture" mix tape.

Verge culture is described as how through the Internet, all people and aspects of daily life are connected. Embracing this concept, Oversat will promote its mix tape (actually a digital release for the moment) through YouTube videos and free downloadables on www.datpiff.com. The mix is all Oversat (whose hip-hop ensemble comprises Jeremiah LongBear, King Doug, Johnny Dillon and Jared Cooper in a production role), but is hosted by local comic P. Ellis, who provides intros and interludes in the form of skits for which he provides all the voices. Ellis, appropriately, will also host Oversat's mix tape release party.

"The host ties the mix tape together, because a lot of times with these mix tapes, there are a lot of different artists," LongBear explains. "There's got to be some kind of common element to it, and they add commonality. They intro the tape and talk about the idea. This mix tape is 'Verge Culture,' so he kind of talks about what verge culture is and then does some skits in the middle and puts drops throughout it."

"It's pretty much all skits," elaborates Ellis on his contribution. "They came over to the crib, put the microphone up and told me to say whatever I wanted. We jotted down some ideas. We had this premise for a skit called 'Skinny Jeans' for a song called 'Jeans Ain't Tight Enough.' We also make fun of any popular rapper in the game. It was all unscripted. We did close to two hours of me just from the top of the dome. We had a hard time not cracking up in the process, but it was really cool."

Oversat's release consists almost entirely of freestyles, and as with the band's diverse rock outputs, the trio of vocalists/lyricists bring together vastly differing rap styles. Dillon developed his style in a rap battle scene, while King Doug describes his sound as a dirty South trap and LongBear acknowledges himself as more of a hipster rapper. Despite the unlikely combination of disparate styles, the act is still unapologetically Oversat and hides nothing in regard to its interests outside of hip-hop.

"I have no plans to play any other hip-hop shows but this one," tells LongBear, noting the band's live shows will mostly stay rooted in its punk catalog. "The main venue for this music is (www.datpiff.com). If you want people to listen to you and you're a rapper, it's going to be verge culture; it's going to be on the Internet. We're going to do a video for almost every song on the mix tape. Most people have never seen their favorite rappers live, but they have seen them on the Internet. … And we're going to shoot some really weird videos. We were just talking about going up to the Ponderosa Zoo so we could shoot a video with some llamas in it. We'll probably take Doug's most trap rap song and put llamas and skaters in it. It's still Oversat whether we're rapping or playing as a band."

Oversat points out that it has a segmented fan base with little overlap between the followers of its different genres. Previously, the act has told of a large Scandinavian fan base for its punk and garage rock products, and when last interviewed for the News Sentinel, described plans for a lengthy European tour. The tour, unfortunately was derailed by red tape, but Oversat made lemonade out of the government-issued lemons received in obtaining passports, opting instead for a tour of the West Coast.

"For some reason, (King Doug) got verified when we got our passports," says LongBear. "Everyone else's passports came; he gets a packet in a huge envelope stuffed with paperwork. We looked over it, and they didn't like the picture; they also wanted every address he's ever lived at, the ages of current addresses, the phone numbers of all his relatives, they wanted two original identifications from ten years ago. ... We ended up sending them one of his old yearbooks. It took us forever to dig around and find all the stuff they wanted. When they finally sent his passport, it was probationary and had a waiting period before he could get on an international flight. A lot of the venues we were to supposed to play shut down while we were waiting."

The group says it has only postponed the tour, but will likely do another West Coast tour before it gets to Europe. Also in the works for Oversat, who notes the trends in current music sales, is a surprising genre-hopping venture — a teen pop EP anticipated for 2013.

"We don't have a huge following for our rap stuff overseas," admits LongBear. "But our next rap project might appeal to them, because it's going to be exclusively for 12-year-old girls and middle schoolers. If you are not in middle school, you will not like our next rap thing. It's going to be so generic and so poppy. I'm going to look at a lot of Justin Bieber lyrics and go from there on the next one. If Justin ain't talking about it, I ain't on it. It's going to be Top 40 type stuff. That's down the line. In the summer we'll put out this EP of Top 40 pop music for middle schoolers."

Friday night Oversat will play a rare live hip-hop show at Jackson Avenue Market (200 W. Jackson Ave). Hosted by P. Ellis, the lineup will also include Sale$ (www.soundcloud.com/Sales865), Tha Protagonist and DJ Dr. Steam. The converted convenient store welcomes all ages. The show is free, and $5 buys all you can drink (beer provided by Ratchet Brewery). Music is slated for 7 p.m.

RADIO HEADS: Relix Variety Theatre hosts Exam Jam VI Friday night. The show, which benefits WUTK, features Guy Marshall, Yung Life, Senryu and Three Man Band. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. and admission is a $5 donation for legal drinkers and $8 for those under 21.

KNEE JERKS: Dirty Knees joins Mutations and Pujol for a show at The Pilot Light Tuesday night. The show starts at 10 p.m. and costs $5.

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