After a dedicated tenure, widely known D&B gatekeepers Peter ‘Piper’ Maxted (Energy) and Oliver Dumas (Sub-Antics) teamed up late last year to found their very own imprint, Overview Music. The idea came through a culmination of various past projects, team efforts, and a touch of good timing.
The rise of Overview began in late 2018, with an early compilation featuring Lockjaw, MISSIN, Ewol, Klinical and more – it laid the strong foundation of what was to come. With further releases from the likes of LMB, Wingz, and Waeys – things began to get serious. Especially when met with Klinical’s track ‘Around Me’ – a number one mainstay in Beatport charts for weeks and months.
To some it might seem like Overview came out of nowhere, but there’s been a lot happening in the background to reach such fine form. Determined to keep their foot on the pedal as 2019 rolls on, the guys at Overview reflect on what it’s taken to get here.
So first of all, how did Overview Music come about?
Peter: Previously I had been involved in a few different projects. One of those had been co-running Lifestyle Music, and let’s just say things went a bit sour with them and we weren’t able to work together anymore. Following that, I was very nearly going to quit… going to go and build schools in Africa or something. But a lot of people were reaching out, asking if I wanted to start a label.
Oli: Like me!
Peter: Yeah, Oli was a really big factor at that early stage as someone who said ‘look, you don’t have to stop, just start something new’.
And how did you two meet?
Oli: So I was really into the sounds Peter was pushing, and then during a Spearhead night at Egg I bumped into him – I can’t remember anything we actually said, but from there we just got chatting and became friends.
Peter: And we both share similar backgrounds, sharing tunes online. I used to run a YouTube channel (Capital Drum and Bass) – that was before I was involved at Lifestyle. And Oli has a popular Soundcloud channel (Sub-Antics) – where I would send him dubs.
Overview 001 features a compilation of some pretty big names – how were you able to sign those on the first release?
Peter: I’ve been speaking to a lot of those guys for a while now. I let them know we were going to start a record label, and they sent us the tunes, but we didn’t even have a name for the label at that point. We actually had most of the EP put together before we had the name.
It was around 3 months from thinking about starting a record label, to that first release going out to the world.
Although Overview looks like this thing that just came out of nowhere – there has been a lot of work behind the scenes and a lot of history leading up to it.
What responsibilities do each of you take to run the label?
Peter: It’s very shared to be honest. I do feel that we’re both fairly multi-skilled. The A&R, signing of music, direction of music – I think that’s all pretty shared.
Oli: Yeah as soon as anything gets sent to us we sit and talk about it. We’ll discuss if it’s not quite the right direction, or needs a tweak. We’ll talk about how to put releases together, what the title track will be, and so on. That’s all very split, but the social media stuff is more Peter, because he’s that sort of personable, friendly face.
Peter: We each have stronger sides in some ways, but we have other guys helping us out too. Matt Mueseum does the artwork for us, Lockjaw for Mastering, Purav Constant helps me with the podcast, and then Oli’s thing is the animation of videos, which are all sick by the way!
Klinical’s ‘Around Me’ is the tune everyone’s talking about. First of all congratulations, thats massive. I’ve got two questions about it:
When you signed the tune, did you have any idea how well it would be received?
Oli: I had an inkling – it was always my favourite tune on the release – and when I got sent a clip of it I was like ‘oh my f****** god’. But it was the last tune to get finished and it was delaying the rest of the release, because he was trying to work in a little switch on that tune. I was certain that we were not releasing the EP without it – it’s such a unique tune compared to other things about at the moment.
Peter: A lot of people have said it’s tied up a lot different sides of drum and bass. Deep tech heads like it, and jump up heads like it, which is a tough thing to achieve. I’ve done stuff with Klinical before and it’s been really successful, but I mean this really did go above and beyond my own expectations.
Oli: Yeah I mean we talked about it before it went out thinking it would be a big release, but we could never have expected a Beatport number 1 over 2 weeks, and 2 months on top of the beatport hype chart.
Peter: We’ve gotta give Skeptical a special shout out too. The big turning point for it was this Keep Hush mix that he did – someone clipped it and put it on the DNBiD Facebook Group. From that moment it just sparked this frenzy.
Oli: The promo was really successful too, in terms of getting heaps of good feedback from a lot of big DJs. Serum even gave it support, which was a first for us, because he’s not normally playing our type of stuff, but we were stoked about it.
And how would you say that one tune has influenced Overview in these early stages?
Peter: It instills a lot of belief in what we’re doing. It sends out quite a statement like ‘we’re here, and we’re serious about this’. It also brings a bit of pressure maybe now…
Oli: We wanna keep the quality control on that level now.
Peter: For sure, once you’ve got a beatport number 1, you don’t want to just sit back. If we can do that once, we want to try and do that again. Although it’s not easy. We’re a little bit unique in terms of a lot of labels, me and Oli, we’re not top-level producers like those behind most of the big record labels out there. I do feel Oli’s name and reputation (and infamy) definitely helps – but you know we’re not big name people. But we’ve got good connections and we know what sounds good.
You’ve definitely come out the gates with consistency and quality. How do you choose the tracks you sign? Are you searching for a particular sound?
Peter: I think we have started to mould a bit of a sound. We’re starting to notice things that sound ‘Overview’ in a way. From my own personal perspective, I sign tunes that I would want to play, or put in a set – fundamentally that’s one of the driving forces behind it.
For me, I’ve always said it’s a complete package. As in, I want to create a bit of a family or a unit – signing people and artists, not just tracks. There’s an analogy someone said to me and I thought it was kind of interesting: You know the film ‘The Beach’? It’s about this paradise island, and no one knows about it – it’s a well guarded secret – and so in a way I see Overview something similar, trying to be selective – and not letting too many people in.
We also want to sign artists that are synonymous with us, and then they will shape the sound – so we’re quite open, we don’t want to be pigeonholed to a particular sound. But I mean, a lot of what we do sign is those kind of techy rollers.
And which labels do you look to for inspiration?
Oli: My personal inspirations would be Critical, Flexout, and 1985. It’s not like we try and copy other labels, but you strive for that sort of quality control. We might use it as a reference sometimes, but we definitely want it to be our own sort of thing.
Peter: I second Oli on that one. Not trying to copy anyone, but I’m a massive fan of what Kasra has done with Critical. I personally know Badger quite well – who’s the label manager there – and you can just see how really well-run the label is; from the sound, to the visuals, to the events. It’s a well oiled machine.
So you look at what’s successful and what works, and you try to emulate it in your own way.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge in getting Overview off the ground?
Oli: It’s not so much a challenge at the now, but when we first started out and didn’t have that many followers there was a bit of a struggle to find tunes to sign after 001. Because a lot of these producers are trying to propel their careers at the same time. So you can be losing tracks to places like Flexout, and Critical. And you can’t really blame them for it because they’re getting an opportunity to sign to a label like that – which is fair play to them and they obviously should go for it.
I don’t think it was too often, but there was the occasions where a bigger label has asked for a track we wanted to sign – so they get the cream of the crop. But then we don’t want the hand-me-downs, because that’s not really what you strive for.
Peter: Yeah more so at the start to get things up and running. And to have had the success of Klinical, we’ve been able to show people what we’re capable of doing. I also think our offering helps in this regard too – we want to make each release really special and we don’t want to a producer to just feel like they’re on a conveyor belt, or like things are just getting rushed, or they’re having wait forever. This, as well as the online promotions, video content, and the contacts we can get the tracks out to. We really do feel like we’re capable of offering producers something quite special and something a bit different.
With Waey’s Ropple EP and Neve & Synth Ethics’ two-tracker just gone out, it looks like you’re continuing on fine form. What’re the plans for the rest of 2019?
Peter: So after the Neve and Synth Ethics release we’ve got an EP from Wingz, which will also feature a remix from Phentix. That’s coming out early August. We’re actually flying out to Vienna to do a release party for it, which is exciting.
Oli: Yeah that one’s a really solid 4-tracker, which is in my opinion his best work so far. As for the rest of the release schedule, we’ve lot loads and loads lined up for the rest of the year and into 2020. It’s looking really healthy right now.