Three distinct personalities and three separate styles give OTTTO three dimensions. The Venice, CA trio draws its strength from the inimitable interplay of Bryan Noah Ferretti [vocals, guitar], Tye Trujillo [bass], and Patrick “Triko” Chavez [drums]. The three-piece strikes an elusive balance between non-stop grooving, punk recklessness, funk bounce, and melodic hooks. Packing shows and inciting the applause of Revolver, Consequence of Sound, Guitar World, and more, the band’s dynamic members shore up a sharp signature sound as a unit on their 2023 full-length debut album, Life Is A Game.
“Everybody in this band brings something different to the table,” notes Bryan. “Triko is like our quarterback. He keeps the time. Tye gives us this crazy energy. I’m very laidback. You need all of us for it to be OTTTO—me the quiet one, Tye the loco one, and Triko in the center.”
As the story goes, Tye and Bryan commenced jamming back in 2015 under the influence of artists as diverse as Torche, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Four Tet, Floating Points, and Helmet, to name a few. They unleashed their self-titled debut EP in 2020. Between raucous underground gigs, they graced the bills of Lollapalooza and Bottle Rock, opened for Suicidal Tendencies, and ignited a buzz across their native Los Angeles. With the release of the Record Store Day Exclusive EP Locos Live In Venice, Revolver proclaimed, “OTTTO are making moves,” and assured, “Fans of Corrosion of Conformity will definitely appreciate the direction.” Along the way, they recorded what would become Life Is A Game at Henson Studios in Hollywood and at studios in Silverlake and Venice with producer Tim Harkins [Korn, Jerry Cantrell]. They pushed themselves to progress, and their vision naturally evolved.
“The vibe of this record was getting out of our comfort zone and being free,” Bryan goes on. “We were opening our eyes to what could be done. There were some cool harmonies, and we focused on the overall structure. It had a constant flow.”
Tye adds, “In 2020, our self-titled album included lots of tunes we had sitting around for a few years. With this record, the experience was different. We really took the time to find a vibe for each track..”
Speaking of, they initially bulldozed a path for the album with “Skyscraper.” Anchored by a thick bass groove, the melodic riff underscores an instantly chantable refrain. Loudwire hailed it as “some of their best work to date.”
“Tye had just gotten in a really bad car accident,” recalls Bryan. “He totaled his first car, which was a Subaru Baja. We wanted to write a song being thankful he was alive. Lyrically, it’s about the car crash, but we likened it to a business executive in a skyscraper who’s being too greedy and driving his company straight into the ground.”
Meanwhile, the opener “My Pain” hinges on a trudging distorted guitar and a hypnotic hook. “When I was seventeen, I saw this beautiful girl, and I wanted to approach her, but I couldn’t,” Bryan admits. “It’s the pain of not being able to even say, ‘What’s up?’, because you don’t feel like you’re even there.”
Soundtracked by distorted chunky guitars and another airy refrain, “Dance of the Dead” addresses the horrors of the Rwandan Genocide inspired by Bryan’s high school history class. Elsewhere, “The Void” slips from ethereal clean guitar and bass into an upbeat verse punctuated by dynamic vocals and arresting instrumentation.
“It’s like you’re cruising through space and traveling through a void,” Bryan goes on. “You don’t know what’s in it or what’s waiting at the end, but you’re charging straight ahead.”
Then, there’s “Night Howlers.” It raises a middle finger to media bombardment with ponderous lyrics and a pummeling and punchy soundscape.
“It’s about getting outside of yourself, putting your head down, and ignoring all of the billboards, hidden messages, and bullshit society wants us to follow,” the frontman reveals. “Instead, go through life the way you want to and don’t pay attention to what you’re being told. These images everywhere of Kim Kardashian or some political figure are just messing with us. So, make your own way.”
In the end, OTTTO’s three architects encourage escape.
“We hope you’re able to sit back, forget everything, and vibe to the music,” Bryan leaves off. “You don’t have to follow the rules. Maybe we can open your eyes to another way.”
“It was an incredible journey writing and recording this record,” Tye concludes. “Expect to hear many diverse elements in some of the songs. We hope you listen and enjoy.”