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Overseer expands his horizons

Rob Overseer
Rob Overseer

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(CNN) -- British DJ Rob Overseer is used to being heard, not seen.

His music has been used in television ad campaigns, on movie soundtracks and in video games.

Tracks from his first full-length album, "Wreckage," were incorporated into movies such as "Any Given Sunday" and "Snatch." The song "Slayed" plays in current TV commercials for Victoria's Secret.

Despite the wide exposure of some of his songs, Overseer deliberately set out to make his debut album the kind of recording that people would want to listen to at home in its entirety.

TMR sat down with Overseer to talk about "Wreckage" and how he got started in the music business.

TMR: What are your musical tastes and influences?

OVERSEER: Well, I was brought up on many different genres. ... I first sort of got into music when my brother was listening to AC/DC and Motorhead. I used to steal his tapes and listen to them in my bedroom. And then as I got older I was kind of a bit of a goth kid, listening to the Cure and the Sisters of Mercy. [I was a] huge Smiths fan as well.

So basically I come from an indie background, and it wasn't until I went to college that I really was introduced to hip-hop and a lot of the sample music. You know it was about the same time as the big raves were starting. And a friend of mine came from London -- he used to bring up white labels of break beat stuff -- and that's what kicked it off for me.

TMR: Were you in bands? Or did you record stuff at home?

OVERSEER: Well, I started off in bands at school. I used to play the drums in one band, bass in another, then guitar. You know I was basically always interested in being in a band. And when samplers became affordable, I could see that it was basically a way of having a whole band to myself.

TMR: At what point did music seem like a career for you?

OVERSEER: Well for me, I never wanted to do anything but music, and I always thought it was a pipe dream. I mean I didn't think that I'd be allowed to make enough money to live off from music. And I guess I was that obsessed with it that I stuck with it. And I think that if you do stick at it, then eventually you'll get somewhere. As long as you're not dreadfully awful.

TMR: Up to this point, a great deal of your audience has been listening to your music through TV commercials and movie soundtracks and things like that. How did you break into that area?

OVERSEER: Well, I never write intentionally for movies or computer games. It just seems that we've hit some sort of symbiotic relationship, and it's always been other people who have picked up on what I've already done. You know, it's not like the phone rings, and they say, "Can you give me a track for this movie?" It's purely a process of tracks I've already recorded being sent out. And they always seem to pick up on them, you know, at an alarming degree.

TMR: Can you name some of the stuff that your music has appeared on?

OVERSEER: The first big film I had was "Any Given Sunday"-- I had three big tracks on that -- the Oliver Stone film. I've been in "Snatch." I think I've been in about 50 percent of all the big movie trailers this year. I've been in the "Animatrix," and I was in the "Matrix" trailer. I've been on [the video game] Gran Turismo 3. I think if you're exposed to any kind of media, unless you've been living in a hole, you've probably been exposed to some of my tracks.

TMR: So you can walk down the street, and nobody will recognize you, but they've probably heard your music. Is that a nice feeling?

OVERSEER: I was in a video shop the other day just browsing, and they had on a trailer with one of the films, and I heard a track of mine. I got a very quiet satisfaction, and I smiled to myself thinking, "No one will know."

TMR: When you're putting together an album, for you is it a collection of individual tracks? Or is it more a case of the sum being greater than the individual parts?

OVERSEER: The album that I did was very intentionally an album. There's quite a few different styles there, and I wanted to make it an album that you'd listen to at home. So it does range from the really fast break beat stuff that I'm known for, but there's some -- much more what I'd call thoughtful, melodic items on there as well.

And the recording process was definitely with a view to recording an album as opposed to going in and doing an individual track each day and finding out which would match up at the end.


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