Set #5: Paul Overbey

I first met Paul at the Double Wide down in Deep Ellum at a Walker Lowe & Sons show back in April. I was late in getting to the show and unfortunately missed 40-Acre Mule, Paul’s band, play their set. However, I walked in to find Paul on stage with Isaiah Evans doing a stripped down song as a duo. It was on point. Paul definitely had full command of the guitar as Isaiah’s voice floated in and out of each rift. After five minutes of conversation with him, I knew we would be fast friends. Paul studied composition at the University of North Texas, which is highly noted for its premier music program. When I asked him what made him want to become a composer, he couldn’t quite pinpoint the initial inspiration. “I don’t know…that’s what I dreamed of. I just wanted to be a composer in whatever capacity. I didn’t think past tomorrow. I don’t know how it got in my head, it just happened.” That calling to art has always fascinated me, the factors that tie in to provoking a person to pursue a particular avenue of music, art, writing, etc. What makes a composer a composer or a painter a painter?

Paul’s knowledge of music theory is impressive as he explains the concept of microtonality to me, a method he often employs in his own music. "You get in between," Paul describes in layman's terms, breaking down or shortening frequency interval ratios, finding all the notes between the notes. There's also a heavy blues influence on his music that seeps out in pieces like Cicada Heat. Paul reflects on the day he sat down and created the piece. He was living in a top floor corner apartment in East Dallas during the middle of the summer where the thermostat would never sink below 85. "I just wanted to make something that sounded hot." His ability to create a soundscape so powerful it can evoke an image and idea in one’s head is a testament to his skill. The seven-piece volume, titled the Furies, which was recorded and produced by Chris Moock in East Dallas, is a perfect example of Paul’s innovation in using a variety of objects, such as dropping change onto a tin metal lid, to create unique sounds that can be incorporated into each composition. As I have slowly navigated through them over the past few months, I’ve found that there is a cohesive dissonance that traverses his body of work, a tone and atmosphere that screams David Lynch, which is especially reflected in the video art and production done by David Lee Price for Fury No. III and Fury No. IV. The project was well thought out with the defined purpose of experimenting with electroacoustic techniques. Bending and manipulating sound from real time, into something almost indistinguishable in the final product yet hauntingly beautiful all the same. There's a definitive vision of sound from Fury No. I through Fury No. VII. His atmospheric approach of capturing a particular setting and mood makes me wonder why he isn't creating film scores, something he tells me he is very interested in pursuing. With the strong indie film scene in Dallas and even stretching down to Austin, there's seems to be great potential for local collaborations of this kind.

- Brittany Griffiths