OTR‘s highly anticipated album Be Quiet, They’re Listening via Astralwerks Records follows up on the success of his 2020 debut Lost At Midnight. Collaborating with artists Bipolar Sunshine, Lizzy Land, JONES, Devault, and Kacy Hill, the album’s tracks weave a tapestry of diverse tempos and emotions, showcasing therapeutic dance music with a progressive edge.
According to OTR, the album mirrors a period of personal reconstruction, resonating with themes of comfort, inspiration, and motivation. The track ‘In The Summer’, embodying these sentiments, takes a central role, encapsulating a fusion of emotions within a single song. Its video, directed by Kevin Clark, extends the narrative of a couple from earlier videos, immersing viewers in a kaleidoscopic journey through time and perspective. Kevin Clark remarks, “‘Be Quiet, They’re Listening’ feels like a door into deeper mysteries of ourselves and the universe… A layered fractal of life and space where time can slow down.”
In the midst of crafting the shimmering ‘In The Summer’, OTR found himself creatively blocked until a return to his Cincinnati roots rekindled his inspiration, leading to the completion of the track. The album launch coincides with a North American headline tour this fall with special guests Sam Feldt and Com Truise.
The album title draws from a science fiction tale influenced by the Fermi paradox, a concept that explores the universe’s vastness and the disconnect in communication. OTR aimed to capture this eerie sensation in his work.
Be Quiet, They’re Listening resonates with an explosion of ethereal synths and precise percussion, showcasing OTR’s emotional depth and meticulous craftsmanship. These electronic compositions emanate positivity and catharsis, reflecting Ryan Chadwick’s own journey. From an aerospace engineer with an affinity for music, Chadwick transformed into OTR during an internship in Japan in 2014. His musical pursuit evolved into a flourishing career, accumulating over 200 million global streams that includes previous collaborations with artists such as Lane 8, ford. and Petit Biscuit. Alongside the album release and ahead of his live performance tour we got the exclusive interview with OTR.
‘Leave You Behind’ with Bipolar Sunshine seems to be leaning toward jamtronica, live electronic music. What inspired that release and can you share how that one developed?
It was a natural progression from the session Bipolar Sunshine and I had last year. He put down some vocals that seemed to live in that world and I was excited to put my spin on them. It took me almost a year to really nail down the vibe but it turned out to be one of my favorite tracks so I’m happy I stuck with it.
The whole album truly offers a refreshing take on dance music, using bright progressions, plenty of energy for the dancefloor, and dynamics that create the OTR experience. What is the fastest BPM you hit in this album and ever in any song you produced?
Thank you! I appreciate you saying so. I think the intro is the fastest at 147 BPM but I purposefully used 3rd notes in the beginning without drums to make it feel like it lives closer to the 110 range.
Can you describe some of the samples you use or more about the sound design you explored throughout the album?
I mainly sampled from vocal sessions throughout the writing process. I love taking bits and pieces of what is written vocally and stretching the audio, shifting the key, and rearranging the melody to fit what seems to feel right. For sound design, I had bought a prophet rev2 during the pandemic and fell in love. That in combination with the Moog Subsequent 37 helped me find new ways to create.
How are you preparing for tour?
Luckily for the most part I already owned a live rig because of my (canceled) first tour during the pandemic. I’ve added the prophet to the rig and set it up in my garage. I’ve been running through the set for the last few weeks and it’s really starting to take shape.
Can you share a little about your approach or flow while performing live?
There are a few techniques I’ve learned through DJing that I’ll be emulating over some live keys and synths I’ve curated to help elevate the set in combination with an APC40 along with a Maschine for sampling. I want the set to feel familiar yet surprising to people who know my music and exciting for people that don’t.
Aerospace Engineering, truly impressive! What did you do in your internship? What are some recent advancements in that field or exciting technology in development? What advancement in aerospace science (or in science in general) do you predict or is feasible in the next 5 years?
Thank you! Seems like a lifetime ago – The first internship in Japan was more of a material science role, which sounds cool until I talk about the part where I was just watching steel rust for like 6 months. The job was like watching paint dry but on steroids. The second internship was with Lockheed Martin at Fort Hood working with Apache Helicopters and was able to test fire out of the cockpit once which was just insane. But for my master’s I was mostly involved with control theory.
I’m most excited about the reusability of rockets at scale which is an incredible accomplishment from a controls theory perspective. For science in general though, I’m rooting for cancer development and research. There have been some substantial developments in recent years with those great achievements, I hope as development continues accessibility is widespread.
What Super Bowl commercial and Netflix soundtrack was your music synced with?
My track “Midnight Sun” with Ukiyo was synced with the “upcoming releases” Netflix commercial that aired during the 2022 Super Bowl. Creatively it was probably my favorite sync because it seemed like the commercial was built around the music itself.
What is something about your life that made you stronger?
Definitely the internship in Japan. It was the first time I was really alone and I think prepared me to take more risks in life.
I actually lived in Japan as well. I was outside of Yokohama. What part did you live in? What did you like about their culture? What was difficult about living there?
Nice! Kindred spirits here. I lived in Kurashiki which is close to Okayama towards the western part of the country. I loved their train system so much and the accessibility of travel along with how kind people were to me. But most importantly the food was incredible. Okonomiyaki is still something I seek out regularly. The difficulty came from the isolation and initial culture shock. I was a last minute replacement so never fully prepared for the experience.
Please leave our readers with one final message…
I’m on tour this September! Tickets are available here. Thank you for the amazing questions!