Originally established in 2001, Overeasy Records is a techno and house label based in Downtown LA. The label is partially headquartered in the backroom of the Local Leaf, a cafe/gallery on Main Street, in the Old Bank District. Both the label and the cafe were founded by Trace Martin, a veteran house DJ who has lived in Downtown LA off and on for the better part of the last 12 years.
“My partner and I moved to downtown in March of 2001 and we kicked things off with the Sunday EP which is by the D&D Project. From there we did another six releases. But we kind of went through a little bit of a trying phase when the digital age and MP3s took over vinyl. So we shut the label down and did a little bit of song placement and publishing stuff after that to keep the vibe alive.”
However after spending a few years away from Downtown LA, with its electric DJ, music and art scenes, Martin found himself back in the neighborhood at the end of 2010. It was then he decided to relaunch Overeasy with his partner David Hopper.
“We brought it back last year and put the label and the website back together,” explains Martin. “We’ve already got probably 30 different tracks that we could do direct to Beatport, but we’re actually looking to get a very big Italian artist. I can’t say the name, but they’re very big and that’s going to be our debut release.”
In the meantime Martin and Hopper are using the Local Leaf as a platform to showcase different DJs at events like Art Walk; a monthly Downtown happening in which galleries, restaurants and cafes throughout the district throw open their doors and DJ music spills out from just about every one of them.
“We’re using the Local Leaf cafe as a launchpad to boost up the nightlife in downtown, to bring in different DJs and allow them to get familiar with us again,” says Martin. “We’re also playing around town at venues like the Crocker Club.”
For Martin, the motivation to bring Overeasy Records back after several years of inactivity was clear.
“There’s not a big presence of a dedicated tech/house label in Los Angeles right now we kind of bookmarked it a little bit by having it in the past, but now we’re much more business oriented.”
So just how did a techno and house label wind up operating out of the backroom of a cafe?
“I had put the cafe idea together when I came back in November of 2010 and slowly put myself back into the loop,” explains Martin. “That was when we were talking about the resurrection of the label and in April of 2011 I got the lease for this place and then we just opened for Art Walk last November and it just kind of took off.”
In addition to planned releases by yet-to-be determined artists, Martin and Overeasy have plans to throw events around the Downtown area. “We’d really like to get one of the vacant parking lots to host a non-profit free event where we bring in five to seven different DJs and also bring in some of the different local street artists and really just tie it in and give somebody that lives in downtown something to do and enjoy without getting in the car and having to drive.”
Keep an eye out for new releases and events from Overeasy Records in the coming year. In the meantime the next time you’re in Downtown LA, be sure to check out the Local Leaf Cafe.