hard-working locals The Over Unders mix punk, alt rock, and power pop
From cover bands and band class to the local rock stage, one young up-and-coming rock band is making its mark on the Chippewa Valley.
Brothers Sam and Matthew Hellman and Raymond Remes make up the three-piece rock outfit The Over Unders, an Eau Claire group specializing in original material and covers which complement their ’80s punk, alternative rock, and power-pop sound. The band has big aspirations and has garnered a reputation of being one of the hardest working outfits in the area.
The Over Unders formed in the summer of 2014 when guitarist and singer Sam Hellman and his younger brother, Matthew, a drummer, formed the group out of pure musical and personal chemistry. The brothers had played music for years prior, but Sam said the need to do something original was burning inside him after playing in a cover band for a number of years.
“It’s a rush. Every hour of the day there’s something playing in my head, so sitting down and actually playing it helps ease the constant noise up there.” – Matthew Hellman, The Over Unders
“I’ve played covers to a lot of excited drunk people until two in the morning, but I just wasn’t getting a lot of fulfillment from that,” Hellman said. “This band came from a need to express myself and express my personal music interests. I write about everything under the sun. Lyrics come second to the melody when I write. I like telling stories that don’t necessarily have anything to do with me.”
Following The Over Unders’ formation the duo released two EPs, 2016’s self-titled The Over Unders and 2017’s Bet on Us. While the brothers enjoyed writing and recording together, Sam said there was something missing in the musical experience.
“We got to a point where it was a lot of fun to record, but we really needed to start playing live,” Hellman said. When they took to open mic stages, they found they were lacking bass. Hellman could have taken up the role, but his songwriting abilities were dependent on playing the guitar, he said. “I really understood the importance of getting the right bass player. It took a long time and we tried a few people, but nothing really stuck until we found Ray.”
When the summer of 2018 rolled around, and after a few failed attempts at garnering a third member, The Over Unders added Raymond Remes to their lineup on bass. The threesome met after Remes had taken a few bass guitar lessons from local bass aficionado Eric “Pedals” Thompson, and Thompson gave him a copy of The Over Unders Bet on Us EP and connected the two parties.
Once they found their third member, The Over Unders released their first full-length record, One Fine Day, last year and began playing live consistently throughout Eau Claire at venues such as The Plus, Stones Throw, and The Mousetrap as well as at other locations throughout Wisconsin.
The group has hung their hat on playing a collection of original and upbeat cover music tinged with layers of Brit pop and ’80s and ’90s pop reminiscent of Oasis, Green Day, and The Clash. When the group plays live, a party-like atmosphere arrives and playful and youthful cuts such as “One Fine Day” and “Top of the World” sing out and deliver a sound Eau Claire had yearned for.
After the recent release of their latest single, “Go All Night,” Matthew said the reason the band keeps going is primal and necessary.
“It’s a rush,” he said. “Every hour of the day there’s something playing in my head, so sitting down and actually playing it helps ease the constant noise up there. I love to be able to sit down, play it out, and allow the flow of ideas come through.”
Remes said the reason the band continues to record and play live as much as possible is due to a pure love for music.
“Having that musical piece in my life is really big and it’s what keeps me going,” he said. “It helps with anxiety and depression and all sorts of things. It’s hard to think what my life would be like without it.”
The Over Unders have humble personalities and big plans. The band is planning to release three more singles over the next few months and then plans to hop back into the studio. While releasing new music consistently is a priority for the band, touring the Midwest and beyond remains a goal for the group as well in order to reach as many fans as they can.
While Eau Claire may be known for its indie rock scene, The Over Unders are one of the few remaining pure rock bands, and as long as they’re around, they will continue to release and perform original rock music until the last fan has left the venue.
Learn more about the band online at theoverunders.com.