Sparse, erratic beats and confessional lyrics blur together beautifully on South London based otta’s latest single “sick inside”.
otta - who’s half-Finnish, half-British - produces all of her own material from her home studio, which she affectionately dubs “a cupboard under the stairs-meets-shed”. This DIY approach gives her the liberty to develop and experiment with her raw, poetic sounds, and she explores this freedom in new ways on her upcoming EP songbook.
She describes the record as “nearly free form in places", which accounts for the mix of meandering yet surprisingly gritty sounds on her new track “sick inside”.
“I’m sick of being sad,” otta confesses, as she weaves her way through dejected thoughts via echoing vocals and intoxicating electronic sounds. “When did I get so tired?” she questions further, gently drawing listeners deeper into her pensive mood with her smooth voice.
“Writing 'sick inside' was a natural reaction to working in the music industry,” she explains. “I was 19, and from where I was standing it was largely a white, male-dominated toxic environment, that's what the lyrics are about.”
Otta collaborated with Warp Records' kwes (Kano, Tirzah, Solange) for songbook, and his label BOKKLE is releasing the EP. Working with others seems to have been a cathartic experience for her: "It can feel scary sharing such personal productions with someone but I see it as a trust exercise,” she says, “sometimes you need to just trust that their outlook and energy will bring out the details that can be so easily buried into a song over time, as your relationship with it inevitably evolves."
This ability to trust and let go of anxious thoughts permeates “sick inside”, which soothes rather than scars.