Lead singer Elias Armaos talks about their place in the puzzle of Denver’s music scene.
The blazing sun outside contrasts nicely with the airconditioning blasting inside Capitol Hill’s Pablo’s coffee shop as Elias Armao sips on his iced latte. Elias Armao, mellow with an almost-disguised enthusiasm, is the type who looks tactfully put-together; he dresses neat, with a nice haircut and tortoise-shell glasses yet there’s something about him that conveys that he could care less, in the best way possible. As he chatters about Lil B’s release of 140 songs all at once, it is clear that Armao is a cerebral musician.
Armao is the lead singer and guitarist of the Denver band Overslept.
“I went to Denver School of the Arts, but I was a visual art major,” Armao said. “There was this weird hyper-competitive environment where you couldn’t go outside of your major.”
Armao doesn’t look like the rebellious type but his actions and intellect say otherwise. In Armao’s youth, metal and hardcore bands were his preference, a bit ironic considering the “prettiness,” as Armao would say of his own music, though you can certainly hear the prog-rock influence.
“I played drums first because it was the most intrusive instrument that I could find,” Armao said. “I went to school with kids who played violin in the hallways. It’s hard to be a rebel in an art school.”
It is difficult in a city with such a vast range of music niches to find people who can fit the puzzle pieces together. “I didn’t really like the people I was meeting so I taught myself other instruments and how to record,” Armao said.
“Actually on our first full length, I played drums, guitar and sang on it because I hadn’t met a lot of the guys I met now”.
Armaos met the band members that perform with him now by playing acoustic shows around Denver.
“I made a goal to play acoustically every song on our first record twice a month somewhere for a year.” Armao said.
Armao admitted to missing one or two of these shows but his persistence resulted in his current four-piece band consisting of Evan Zeller, Mickey Postillion and Corban Roberts.
Overslept embrace the DIY ethic; they have their own recording studio and mix their own records, preferring to keep their process inhouse to primarily cut down on costs. Along with the band’s numerous musical talents, Armao works as a graphic designer and designs the band’s merch and aesthetic.
Overslept is at a point in their career where they’re hovering in limbo in Denver’s music scene. “Our music is too pretty for DIY but too loud for pop music.” Armao says about their music style. Armao’s metal and hardcore influence still linger in their songs despite the pop overtones that make their music so infectious. Overslept recently released an entire acoustic album entitled “That’s Not Very Punk Rock Of You”, because they were considered to be too loud.
The band’s disposition and inspiration for the band name comes from the realization of oversleeping and the gnawing anxiety of not being productive.
“We have had a weird run because that is what our songs have always been about.” Armao said. “I really like to challenge people and people don’t want to be challenged.”
Armao considers their first record to have a more aggressive tone and was lyrically more confrontational, but still carried the band’s inherent solitude. “This new record is about asking people and asking myself why I am the way I am in a way that is hopefully easy to digest, that isn’t just shock value.” Armao said. “I’m trying to get a more intellectualized response from people.”
Armao quantifies the groups approach to music in a very precise and technical manner. He talks about his music with a logical ease but with enthusiasm. The new album’s instrumentals are based in hardcore while the vocals remain soft.
Overslept will be playing at Globe Hall with Massachusetts-based band, The Hotelier, and Idaho-based Thick Business brought to you by Red Bull Sound Select, on Sept. 6 and will be on tour in October.
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