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Ryan, the 25-year old aerospace engineer-turned-producer behind OTR, uncovered his passion for music in those tiny moments that separate the important parts of your day. It started in 2012 when he tinkered on a dusty, run-down piano in his college dorm lobby to break up the routine of classes and studying. Shortly thereafter, he picked up a guitar and began experimenting with Logic on his MacBook Pro. Two years later, he was selected for an internship in Kurashiki, Japan at the last minute. Suddenly, he was living solo in a small town with no friends and a major language barrier. To combat the isolation, he purchased a keyboard and a train pass and spent all his free time making music and traveling to bigger cities. When he returned to the states, Ryan moved into a neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown Cincinnati known as “Over-the-Rhine” or OTR. The once-neglected area had undergone a renaissance that mirrored his own journey of discovery as music went from hobby to career goal, so it became the perfect name for this project. His influences include modern producers like Odesza, Petit Biscuit, and Porter Robinson and the Indie-sounds of artists like Daughter and Bon Iver, but his sound is, at its core, an autobiography with Japan, mini keyboards, and a mathematical mind as key components.
Speaking on “Close,” OTR shares: “I was really drawn to the chill,vibey instrumental that has kind of a crazy built up tension. Thankfully Kai’s vocals harnessed the tension in the chords super well.”
Listen to OTR latest track “Close” featuring Kai Straw above and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
An Interview With Boston’s Donald Grunge
Premiere: Sean Gast Hits the High Seas for Love in “Buena Compańia”