OTR Takes Us Into The World Of “Be Quiet, They’re Listening”

Sometimes in life, your career in music just sort of…happens. At least, that’s the case for OTR, who started out as an aerospace engineer while creating tracks in the meantime. After leaving his job, his music quickly began to manifest into something much bigger when, in 2020, he released his debut album, Lost At Midnight.

Since then, OTR has made a name for himself in the electronic music world. On his sophomore album, Be Quiet, They’re Listening, he’s collaborated with vocal powerhouses and production geniuses like Bipolar Sunshine, Lizzy Land, JONES, and Kacy Hill and mixed them in with songs of his own to establish who he really is as an artist: a star.

He’s detail-oriented, which you can hear in the synths and drumbeats in his music, or within the lyrics that somehow perfectly match the tone of the song. With 14 tracks full of life, this album has something for everyone. Ryan Chadwick, the mind behind OTR, has the makings of a staple producer-DJ in the music industry, and Be Quiet, They’re Listening feels like just the beginning.

You can listen to the album here:

I spoke with Ryan on the making of his new album and what’s next for him this year!

Congratulations on your second album, Be Quiet, They’re Listening. How was creating this one different from Lost At Midnight? Does making music feel any easier in a way for you now?

The first album I was lucky enough to have been traveling A LOT so was inspired by that travel. However, the first half of creating the second album was during lockdown, so that was a bit of a roadblock. It forced me to be more creative on my own and be inspired by what is around me. Making music feels just different now. I think the hardest part about creation is feeling creative. The technical skills are a bit easier now though, but it’s good to always have a learning mentality.

You went from being an aerospace engineer to a DJ/producer extraordinaire…What inspired you to make the switch to music?

I think I was forced to make the switch. When I was studying for my masters in aerospace engineering, after having quit a job at Lockheed Martin, a bunch of faculty members at my university decided to leave the program. I didn’t have a way to finish my Masters thesis so was sort of kept in limbo for a year. During that time my music started to take off and I was like “damn I might as well see where this takes me”.

You have many great collaborations on the album like “Heat Of The Sun” with JONES and “Close Enough” with Kacy Hill. Does your production process change with collabs at all?

Yeah, if I’m collaborating with someone in person on a new idea the process is to sort of just get the raw idea down initially then I can work around it later in my own studio. Producing around an idea is a lot easier than being sent a complete topline with less room for growth and variation. If I’m writing an instrumental by myself there’s a lot more free flow consciousness on my end, which does not work when there’s another person in the room.

If you had to pick, what are your favorite songs on the album and why?

It really is hard to choose haha. My favorite tracks tend to change too. I’ll say right now my favorite is “In The Summer” which releases with the album. I wrote it in London with Lees who is an amazingly talented artist based in the UK. Something about it keeps me coming back. Now that it’s summer I’m really feeling the intro instrumental which is the title of the album “Be Quiet, They’re Listening” along with “Forever” and “Leave You behind”.

Your singles “Heat Of The Sun”, “Apart Of Me,” “Looking Down From Space,” and “Leave You Behind” are out now. How do they best represent your album?

I think they represent the growth of the project and how the album as a whole has a sort of arc to it. Each single has a purpose with how it flows into the next section of the album and I think we get a glimpse of that with these tracks.

You’re looking forward to your North American tour this fall. What can fans expect from your tour?

I’m building out the live set now and I’m so excited to show everyone what I’ve been planning. Like with the album, I really want the show to have the same feeling of movement and an arc of emotion as it progresses.

What’s your favorite memory making this album?

Writing in London was a transformative experience and one that I’d love to try and replicate in the future.

Jai Phillips

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