Illinois trio Ohtis recently shared “Schatze” with Stef Chura, and today sees its physical release on 7″ for Saddle Creek’s Document Series. That means that the B-side, “Failure”, is also now available to stream, and we just had to highlight it for its bizarre greatness. Songwriter Sam Swinson says:
“‘Failure’ was written many moons ago after visiting a walk-in clinic for an STD test attended by a ‘Dr. John’ and psyching myself out waiting for the results. They eventually came back negative, but not before spawning this insane fucked up stream of consciousness song. I had always stood by the song living up to its title until Adam and Nate dug it back up and added this Bonnaroo-worthy outro to it.”
Visiting a sexual health clinic is likely to bring up quite an array of thoughts and feelings, and Swinson unfolds his here, and they’re made unsettling by Ohtis surprising production choices. With a foundation in the golden-spun indie folk sound they’re known for, “Failure” finds them incorporating more atmospheric arrangements and electronics to animate Swinson’s paranoid thoughts. “I’m so fucking afraid / I am fucking terrified of sex disease, of cigarettes, masturbating, eating pills, getting close to each other,” he sings through a vocoder that adds a de-humanising effect to his admissions, as if he’s trying to distance himself from the gritty reality of a clinic waiting room. Ohtis then play out “Failure” as a gorgeously glowing dream – it’s as if Swinson has escaped the clinic and is just floating down the street in a haze of pure relief.