Original Writeup

OTNES – “Light As A Feather”

by wpengine

“…the artist is mourning, singing of how they lost the one that was always there for them. The person that held their hand; a constant.”

OTNES makes genre-bending pop full of nostalgia in Nashville, TN. Combining 1980s synth-scapes and modern pop sensibility, OTNES explores both vulnerability and the extremity of emotion in their music. Formerly a Chicago resident, they are heavily influenced by its vibrant music scene, having shared the stage with artists like K Flay, Alice Merton, and DRAMA. They are a proud member of the nonbinary and queer community and believe music should be used to celebrate all identities.

OTNES’s past projects have been featured in VICE, Hulu’s Maggie, shows like Love Island, and they recently participated in Disney’s Recital of Remixes Season 2.

OTNES self produces their newest releases with the help of the amazing artistic support system they have built up over the years. Their debut release ‘Spin’ showcased the dreamy yet poignant new sound, including lush guitars and vocal layers drenched in character. Their goal with this new project is to cultivate authenticity through experimentation in sound and texture.

The LIGHT AS A FEATHER video demonstrates OTNES’ prowess as a producer and director. Their vision is ethereal, with colorful retro aesthetic choices that combine the past and present. “Light as a Feather” was recorded and produced by OTNES with the help of producer Joseph Meland (Chicago) and co-director Luke Harvey in Nashville.

“Light as a Feather” flutters in with ethereal golden-hour shots and the musical backdrop of vibey electric guitar with synth-like vocal ahs. The initial visuals look like they’re straight out of a feel-good movie from the eighties, but the lyrics immediately tell a much darker tale. 

“I don’t know how to miss you

Under the gray skies, I’m thinkin’ of you still”

Gentle harmonies enter as it becomes clear that the artist is mourning, singing of how they lost the one that was always there for them. The person that held their hand; a constant. In the video, OTNES sits by the water and elegantly raises their arms so that their white feather wings can be revealed. Despite the loss, there is still beauty here. 

As the single progresses, a heartbeat-like 4-on-the-floor bass drum comes into the mix. OTNES’ phrases become more staccato, and the repetition of the pre chorus quickly increases the tension of the tune: 

“Wish I could empty all these memories from my brain

But I know, I know there is no other way

To bring you back, to bring you back, to bring you back…” 

The peak moment of “Light as a Feather” is the sagacious, mature chorus that turns the initial bleak theme on its head: 

“And all of our wasted time

It made me better

And the heaviness of life

Is light as a feather 

…light as a feather”

Despite not knowing where to wander or how to fill the endless silence, the awareness that they’ve progressed as a person made everything feel a bit brighter. 

The wording of “Light As A Feather” alternates between reality and imagination, speaking of this timeless connection, lasting forever- but then only in their mind. What was initially a calm, sad-yet-ambient tune becomes electrified at the end.

The videography depicts these contrasting feelings by showing the artist crowd surfing, then flashing to floating on their back in a body of water. OTNES is at a party one second, and jumping on a trampoline, practically into the clouds, the next. This yin-yang/party vs. nature theme is immensely satisfying to watch. As the piece comes to a close, everything cycles through OTNES’ mind all at once – and then goes black. 

OTNES is a complex and beautiful ‘mourning’ dove in “Light as a Feather”. As a whole, this artist has a culturally and emotionally pointed musical voice that is comforting yet realistic. I believe that the world could use more of that today. 

‘LIGHT AS A FEATHER’ is my proudest moment as a producer and director. I learned so much in the process of recording/filming this, involved my whole live band in the experience, and also found it to be very healing for dealing with loss. I wanted to show the duality of grief in this video, from the peace I find within my own mind to the chaos and calamity of feeling your feelings out in the world. One of the most poignant parts for me was the ‘alone at the party’ scene, which was made possible by an incredible community of extras here in Nashville and the location Inglewood Lounge (huge thanks!).

We filmed the floating scenes on a trampoline and my goal was to show the feeling of lightness, levitation, and peace. We played with the different angles of that feeling of being lifted up. Sometimes your emotions carry you away with them, and sometimes a group of supportive friends is lifting you up out of those feelings.” -OTNES

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