It’s been a busy few months for rising alternative hip-hop outfit Otiuh. Between releasing their 3-track project Downlights, recruiting a live band, gigging, honing their production style and getting down to writing new material, they’ve made grand leaps in carving out a unique sound and stage presence.
At the centre of the group’s style is the chemistry between MCs Cesare and Jahmiel, developed from nights spent at The Bird’s Hip Hop Kara”YO!”ke, with both of them feeling at home on stage together from the start.
“Seeing Cesare going wild on stage and getting a back and forth going between each other really opened up the idea for us [making the project],” says Jahmiel, “we’ve been friends for a long time so nothing really needed to be planned, it would just happen on stage.” From that point the two gigged as a duo, releasing their self-titled debut OTIUH, which showcased their superb, buttery flows and penchant for funkified beats.
After a stint at SAE, Cesare began producing the beats for the project, enlisting the help of guitarist Will Johnson for the tracks on Downlights, who brought an inventive, Santana-esque guitar sound to the mix, and then eventually the live setting. The now full band (also joined by drummer/dj James Coomber) are now finding their feet with an enigmatic live energy unique to the Perth Hip-Hop scene.
As Cesare describes, the new single “Bread & Circus” developed from a loop he discovered, “I found this trumpet loop and it really just happened from there … when Jahmiel laid down the line “In the Bread and Circus found my purpose/in the furnace of the freakshow”‘ I became fixated on it,” leading to the title. As Jahmiel added, “I had always heard that term in old English movies, [signifying] a distraction (sic), something to stop the masses from worrying about political policies.” But the song doesn’t simply focus on politics, as Cesare describes, “we didn’t go out to write a song about anything in particular,” his own epistemology when it comes to songwriting being “a song should be about everything in the world, but also nothing,” a laconic phrase that does well to sum up the band’s incredibly varied and distinct approach to Hip-hop music.
Otiuh are launching their single at The Bird tonight (Friday/02), supported by Dub A, Bonney Upwelling and Your Girl Pho. Event is here!