Interview: ONR

We asked ONR (Robert Shields, producer & singer-songwriter based in Dumfries, Scotland) our interview questions to learn about his new single “Must Stop” and to discuss his own music tastes and ambitions.

Your new song, “Must Stop” (featuring Sarah Barthel of Phantogram), has just been released. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it?
Must Stop is really a pretty simple track, but I think it speaks pretty honestly and genuinely about the realities of dying relationships – the embarrassing, repetitive, awful nature of how dating and the ending of bad relationships can feel. And if you are someone – as I am – who wears their heart on their sleeve a little, you can stand to get hurt. It’s one of the simplest songs I’ve ever written, it felt like writing something from memory rather than creating something. I think that’s why it has resonated so much with people.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
It’s a real mix of a lot of genres – because I produce as well as perform, I feel I’ve got a bit more license to push into other genres and styles. I guess mainly, it lives in the electronic-indie-pop world. But like I say, I like to branch out of that quite frequently. Working with other artists also allows me to tap in to their genres a little too, which is always fun,

What have been highlights for you so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
I think this year, releasing Must Stop with Sarah, was incredible. The response that it had, the support that we got, it was amazing. I also released a track with Nile Rodgers, which was just unbelievable. He’s a real hero of mine, so to have him support what I’m doing and want to be involved in the music I’m making was a huge privilege. He’s an icon.

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
That’s a tricky one… but I think I’d have to say Arcade Fire. I’ve seen them so many times now, I’m such a huge fan of the energy of their live shows. They’ve also had a massive influence on my writing and production, so that would probably be the dream one!

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
This week, I’ve been listening to a lot of Phoebe Bridgers, London Grammar, shame, Arlo Parks. There’s been some really great stuff released in the last few weeks in particular, so I’m hoping that bodes well for the rest of the year!

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