Second Exclusive Interview with Electro-Pop Producer OTR
OTR's debut album, "Lost At Midnight", is out now
OTR, born as Ryan Chadwick, is an electro-pop producer who used to be an aerospace engineer. OTR uncovered his passion for music in 2012, when he began tinkering on a dusty, run-down piano in his college dorm lobby. The name “OTR” is from an area on the outskirts of Cincinnati, Ohio called, “Over The Rhine”. Now based in Atlanta, OTR just released his debut album titled, Lost At Midnight, which covers his signature electronic-pop elements. Notable songs on that album include “Broken” featuring Antiguan-German singer-songwriter Au/Ra and “Moon” featuring Australian electro-rock band Vancouver Sleep Clinic. The album released on April 24, 2020, click here to stream it.
Lost At Midnight is also the name of his upcoming North American tour. The tour for OTR starts on June 26, 2020 at Beat Kitchen in Chicago and it ends on August 1 at Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver. Other cities that OTR will also perform at include Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, and New York City. Tickets for the Lost At Midnight tour stops are currently on sale. The tour poster is located at the bottom of the post. Although One EDM has already interviewed OTR last summer, here is the second exclusive interview.
Kenny Ngo: How has the quarantine been for you lately?
OTR: I finished practically all of Netflix but I’m hanging in there. I’m trying to see the positive in things despite the state of things right now. From a working standpoint it’s not too different since I’ve been working from my home studio for the last few years.
You recently released a track called “Moon,” is there a meaning behind the track?
The lyrical meaning behind the track I think is pretty literal – in that someone is willing to go to the moon for someone which takes a lot of effort or self-sacrifice. I wanted the song to evolve and become more tense as the lyrics also progressed. When Vancouver Sleep Clinic says “I know you’re tired” at the very end, I envisioned being at the breaking point in a relationship and but holding on to it because it’ll be worth it.
How was it like working with Vancouver Sleep Clinic, your partner on the track?
It was a great time to be honest. He’s an awesome guy to hang with in person and the setting in which we wrote the track was unbelievable. We were able recreated our home studio set up and from there our creativity was pretty effortless. Given our current circumstances with quarantine, I’m a bit sad I didn’t fully appreciate everything during that weekend.
What are some significant features of “Moon” listeners should look out for?
I think the coolest part is how I was able to get his voice to float on top of the epic moment in that track – around the 2:16 mark. I wanted it to seem like we made it to the moon at the end of an epic journey.
“Moon” will be one of the tracks on your newest album, ‘Lost At Midnight,’ set for release on April 24th. How was it like producing the album?
Producing the entire album was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done so far. It took a great deal of time and effort to make sure everything fit the way I wanted. With that said it’s equally as rewarding to see it come to life. It was a lot of fun being able to meet everyone involved. Writing it has been in itself a journey of self-discovery. I will never forget the great moments tucked away throughout the process.
What were the positives and negatives that came from producing ‘Lost At Midnight’?
The positives are I was able to grow as an artist and as an individual. It has helped me deal with some intense moments of my life and gave me the ability to share those moments with others. The most glaring negative probably is something that every artist has to deal with due to the nature of creating – it’s something that never sleeps. I’m always away from family and friends and that’s something they understand is part of the life but sometimes I wish I could be there. It’s nice right now because everyone has time to chat and catch up – I feel like I’m getting filled in on what I missed the last two years.
What was it like working with Au/Ra on “Broken”?
Au/Ra is an extremely talented artist. I was initially very surprised she chose to work on the project because of the caliber of artists she has worked with before. In studio though it was pretty effortless. I’m fortunate that we were already on the same page and she fit the vibe of the song rather organically.
You interned in Japan in 2014, what were the pros and cons of staying in Japan during your internship?
The biggest con was missing out on a year of life from my family and friends – but that’s something I knew going into the experience. The thing that surprised me was how isolated I felt there. As for pros, I think I grew a lot as a person from that isolation. I think before I left I was a bit unfocused and afterwards I had a new sense of drive that I definitely lacked. Also I discovered a ton of music that shaped my taste in music – ranging from electronic artists like Porter Robinson to bands like M83 and Daughter. I basically came back a new person with a new outlook on life and what I wanted from it.
“Lost At Midnight” is also the name of your upcoming North American tour. If the tour still goes according to plan, which city are you looking forward to performing in?
Ah that’s a really tough question. There are so many venues that I am already connected to because I have seen artists there as a fan. I think I’m most excited by Rough Trade in NYC. I saw Petit Biscuit there and we had just released a remix together. Also, I think that was the start of me believing this could be something bigger than myself. It’s also where I met my management team for the first time in person – and from there we’ve grown this into something beyond what I imagined.
Do you have anything that you want to do once the quarantine is over?
I am going to be the first person on a flight to Seattle. I keep dreaming about camping in a state park by the mountains. Last year, I did that for my birthday and would love to be able to do that again this year.