Ohtis Reveal Short Film Inspired By Their Single RUNNIN, Debut Album Out 3/29
Ohtis have revealed a short film inspired by their captivating single "Runnin" - a track Line Of Best Fit have noted the band "project their adept storytelling ability and team it with an elegant country melody." It was directed by Claes Nordwall (Parquet Courts, Steve Gunn) who states, "I was really entranced by the beautiful pedal steel laced Americana music and the heart wrenching back story and wanted to make a delicate film portrait of a young person struggling with addiction. The line in the lyrics referencing the situation where Sam almost lost his dog in a car accident in New Mexico made me want to make something that shows the life saving impact an animal can have."
Of the song the band's frontman Sam Swinson recounts this story:
"It's a song about the power of 'We as opposed to 'I'.
The song was conceived In 2011; I had moved into what I thought was a drug treatment facility in Springfield, Missouri, except it turned out to be more of what's called a "Home Plan" halfway house for guys coming out of prison. It was a rough crowd. I was feeling out of place but eventually I got to know them and started identifying with them on another level. I realized that in spiritual terms I was no better or worse than any of them, or anyone else.
Each verse is about a different friend or family member that I felt I had let down in the past. The Missouri verse is about a drunk driving accident I got me and my dog Bobo into. I credit my life to this moment: sitting on a curb outside a truck stop in Las Cruces, New Mexico after retrieving Bobo from the animal shelter virtually unharmed, lost with no money, no where to go, wondering if I should beg for enough money to get me drunk, when suddenly an intense feeling of gratitude for Bobo’s life came over me. So much so that I said “thank you” out loud to no one in particular, maybe to Bobo. And then I felt the same gratitude for my own life. That was a revelation to me, because up to then I had really been feeling like I wanted to die for a while.
The last verse is about overdosing on heroin in my parent's basement early one morning on a relapse. I went to the basement bathroom, shot up, overdosed and fell out hard on the floor unconscious. The next thing I heard was a very faint, indistinct, echoey reverby voice and I actually had the light at the end of the tunnel thing happen, where it started very small and got closer and the voice became two voices and got louder and louder, and then I heard them screaming my name pounding on the door. The voices were my dad and my little nephew, who was only about four at the time. I quickly hid the syringe and spoon and convinced my dad I had just blacked out drunk. I spent the next hour or so sitting up on the couch in the basement, making myself breathe because I wasn’t breathing involuntarily and thought I might not wake up again if I went back to sleep. The extent of my addict insanity is that I woke up some hours later, shot up some more of this laced Rockford heroin and drove back to Bloomington, nodding out and having to force myself to breathe the whole time. I'm not sure I would've woken back up if they hadn't somehow known to come bang on the door that early morning.
'Runnin' is an extension of the thank you I said that day in Las Cruces out loud to no one in particular, maybe to Bobo, maybe to that voice I heard calling me back from that overdose, maybe to my nephew and my dad and Adam and to all the voices calling me back up over the years."
Watch the clip here.
Ohtis will release their debut album Curve of Earth on March 29 via Full Time Hobby and the NME have just dubbed it "near-perfect."
Last week saw the band play a handful of mesmerizing shows at SXSW and they will soon be hitting the road as direct support for The Murlocs. The dates kick off in Los Angeleson April 9 and conclude on April 21 in Cleveland, OH. Further, Othis have just confirmed a headline show at Brooklyn's Union Pool on April 23. All dates including UK are listed below.
The beautifully dark country-Americana and vivid lyricism on Curve of Earth is a fitting introduction to songwriter Sam Swinson's autobiographical journey through indoctrination and addiction; an endlessly inviting confession from his past battles with substance abuse, and the religious demons lingering from his upbringing in a fundamentalist evangelical cult.
Ohtis originally formed when Swinson and co-founder Adam Pressley were sophomores at high school in Normal, Illinois. They self-released their first material on small run CD-Rs while still teenagers, primarily to a local audience. Their partnership has defined Ohtis, accompanied by a revolving cast of local musicians joining the live act over the years, including re-joining mainstay member and multi-instrumentalist Nate Hahn.
The band took a hiatus staring in 2009 as Swinson's addiction had become life-threatening. Weighing the odds of maintaining a creative partnership in those conditions, Pressley and Hahn decided to distance themselves and the band dissolved.
Redemption eventually came in the form of sobriety for Swinson. After making 9th step amends to both of his re-joining bandmates, they brought Ohtis back to life.
Ohtis on tour
4/9 - Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom *
4/10 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel *
4/12 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios *
4/13 - Vancouver, BC - The Fox Cabaret *
4/14 - Seattle, WA - Barboza *
4/16 - Bozeman, MT - Filling Station *
4/19 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club *
4/20 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall *
4/21 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern *
5/9-10 - Brighton, UK - The Great Escape
5/15 - London, UK - The Lexington
5/24 - Manchester, UK - Dot To Dot Festival
5/25 - Bristol, UK - Dot To Dot Festival
5/26 - Nottingham, UK - Dot To Dot Festival
8/29 - 9/1 - Salisbury, UK - End of the Road Festival
* = with The Murlocs