Full Time Hobby-signed trio Ohtis open up about influences and intentions ahead of their show at our new music festival, the Five Day Forecast.
Ohtis aren’t a totally new prospect, with some semblance of a sonic relationship between Sam Swinson, Adam Pressley, and Nate Hahn floating about since school, but they’re finally making a proper push into the spotlight. Derailed by heroin addiction and personal fallouts (Swinson is exceptionally candid about his and the band’s journey), the creative core has now born fruit ready to be shared with the world: and debuts “Runnin” and “Settling” are emotionally wrought Americana odes that strike a rare chord. Slide guitars, country-western twangs and dashes of bright, acoustic pop cavort in these bewitchingly sincere tracks - the first tastes of a full-length due in 2019 via Full Time Hobby.
Check out "Runnin" below, and read the band's Q&A afterwards.
Could you introduce yourselves for us please?
We are Ohtis, which is Sam, Adam, and Nate.
What do you try to do with your music and how do you achieve this?
Some of the songs were written during traumatic times when singing them may have been the only alternative to suicide, so some of them are quite sad. I hope others with mental illness can identify. Whether they are as therapeutic in a time of crisis for them as they were for me when I vomited them out I don’t know, but some may feel hopeful that recovery is possible. Supposedly there’s an old Swedish proverb that says 'a sorrow shared is a sorrow lessened'.
Can you tell us what musical and non-musical influences have shaped your sound?
I grew up singing old timey country gospel at a backwoods Pentecostal Church. Of all those hymns "Power In The Blood" is a definite hold out. The first CD I ever bought myself was Björk's Vespertine at Best Buy, which was a happy accident.
I met Adam at 14 and he introduced me to a world of good music starting with an MP3 CD with every Beatles record, which I listened to exclusively for a year. After that I got into Johnny Cash pretty heavy. I went through about a four year hardcore Bob Dylan phase in my early 20s, now I’m pretty well just settled on the album John Wesley Harding. Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen, Malvina Reynolds, Pete Seeger, The Kinks, Doc Watson, and Mississippi John Hurt are probably big influences of ours in terms of sound and writing style. Adam likes a lot of hip-hop and he recently got me into a good album by Shabazz Palaces.
I’m more about specific instruments nowadays than bands. We all like Sabicas and Luiz Bonfa for guitar, and I like a Czech guitarist named Zsofia Boros. There’s a Welsh harpist named Catrin Finch that makes top-notch fusion records with a West African Kora player, Seckou Keita. Fretted Zither is probably my favorite instrument, although duduk and veena are not far behind. I found a bunch of old zither records by a lady named Ruth Welcome that are sublime.
What should people expect from your Five Day Forecast show?
Sleepy, weird, sad, country music.
What are you working on now/next?
Working hard on a song about an alien.
How is 2018 shaping up? What are you looking forward to next year?
Next year we can’t wait to explore Europe and put all of our team’s work leading up to our Full Time Hobby release to good use by playing lots and lots, making a big splash and hopefully becoming verified on Twitter.