Berlin's Overthinker Mob is putting out unfinished or "overthought" music from artists anonymously.
The concept launches with The Biotech Issue, a six-track release that the label is calling a "moodboard" instead of an EP or album. The goal is present music that might have been never released otherwise, and though the artists are named, the individual tracks are presented anonymously.
"It's 2020 by now and about time to invest in a format that eases the listener's compulsion to assign the music to a genre," the release notes say. "The resulting lack of expectations enhances the listening experience to be an exploration as opposed to flattening the learning curve."
The Biotech Issue features tracks from Eno Gata, Diessa, Mordio, Porter Brook, Polygonia and Niklas Bühler.
The Overthinker Mob first launched with a series of pieces called Thought Cue, featuring reflections on the creative industry in the COVID-19 pandemic—and how it might or should change—as well as personal experiences of racism and discrimination in Berlin's creative community. Both Thought Cue and the moodboard releases will continue under the Overthinker Mob umbrella, with new concepts and ideas to come in the future.
Watch a video teaser for The Biotech Issue, and read an interview with The Overthinker Mob below.
How has the reaction been to the Thought Cue pieces?
The three last episodes of the series happened during the short timeframe in which the struggle of being non-white seemed to get the public's attention but turned into a theatrical play where people and companies suddenly profiled themselves as samaritans to tick that chore off their social media bucket list.
The series starts by me reflecting on my upbringing in rural and conservative Bavaria and seemingly upgrading to progressive Berlin, where racist encounters and dynamics are still an ubiquitous phenomenon in the creative scene. I brought up a representative incident that happened earlier this year and involved a company that counted to the most influential in the Berlin creative Industry—yet I didn't mention their name.
Only hours after publishing the first piece (not knowing that I'd have to write two more), one of the executives calls me up and instead of apologizing for the horrific incident, turns it into a whole shitshow and tries to gaslight me to keep it low-key. Yet after this trainwreck I published another piece explaining the incident in detail, still not mentioning names. A few hours after publishing that piece, my inboxes got out of control with messages of people expressing their gratitude for me blowing the whistle.
Heaps of people could instantly identify the company by the similar—but in part way more terrible—experiences they had with them. The next evening, the company lied and announced to seize their operations. Following this announcement, the shitshow continued, with them trying to spin the narrative against me and with people trying to get into my social media and mail accounts and sending me hatemail. Still, the positive response of the oppressed individuals feeling a tiny bit liberated and motivated to enforce the invoices that the company didn't pay them, made that move worth it.
Where did the idea for releasing "overthought" music come from, and what does that term mean to you? Why is it important to release it?
There was a point in time when I felt surrounded by the most talented creatives and felt blessed to be immersed in their processes, and in this time there was always a huge divergence between what they showed me behind locked doors and what actually ended up on SoundCloud. So many project files blew my mind but were never rendered and were abandoned because the inner critic got too loud, because the they heard the tune they were working on once too often in the process, or because it ended up not quite fitting the public narrative they established for their artistic persona.
Yet someone that listens to the track with fresh and unbiased ears can still be blown away and emotionally touched by the work. Think about it: if *insert artist you are obsessed with* made a track that in their mind slightly misses their standards and therefore wouldn't be released, it would likely still be a heater. I'm convinced that even if they don't get tweaked to perfection, original ideas deserve to be put out into the world and have their organic effects there.
How and why did you decide to keep the artists' contributions anonymous?
Since artists usually only want to have perfect work tied to their names, and works that are 100 percent in line with their musical narrative, keeping the contributions anonymous eliminates this barrier and frees a lot of music from their hard drives. In addition, the second problem we are trying to tackle, is that the listener always feels a compulsion to project a context onto the music. By concealing a work's originator, a big chunk of context is gone and the music can speak for itself.
You're calling the new release a "moodboard." Can you explain?
Overthinker Mob isn't tied to a scene or culture and therefore the featured artists come from different backgrounds (the first release ranges from Sheffield‘s queer underground to Munich's hypnotic sound forefront). Every release within our anonymous series on Overthinker Mob will compile tracks with a certain mood. The accompanying visual compoment, like the short film for "The Biotech Issue" aim to transcend the release from traditional formats like LPs or compilations to where the mood becomes the defining factor, rather than arbitrary categorizations like genres. We call this new format we are prototyping, "Moodboard."Listen to The Biotech Issue and check it out at Bandcamp.