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Low Roar's new album, Once In A Long, Long While... is the follow-up to 2014's 0, which earned Karazija a large new audience after his music was discovered by iconic Japanese video game creator Hideo Kojima. Kojima used Low Roar's "I'll Keep Coming" and "Easy Way Out" on two high-profile trailers in 2016 for his Death Stranding video game starring Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, and director Guillermo del Toro.
Born in the Bay Area to a mother of Mexican descent and a Lithuanian father, the frontman spent his formative years playing in bands around Northern California before relocating to Iceland in 2010, where he recorded Low Roar's self-titled debut in his Reykjavik kitchen. Quietly building buzz, he cut the critically acclaimed follow-up, 0, in a converted garage in 2014 before going on to grace the stages of ATP, Eurosonic, Airwaves France, The Great Escape, Lowlands, Iceland Airwaves, and beyond.
After touring the world in support of 0, Karazija spent most of 2016 as a solo traveller, visiting everywhere from Iceland, Sweden, and Poland, to the Bay Area, and Mexico before settling permanently in Warsaw. During this time, he carefully assembled his third full-length record. "I was alone for most of the process," Ryan affirms. "There were a lot of great things that happened, and there were a lot of bad things that happened. There were really beautiful moments like the birth of my nephew, and there were really hard moments as I dealt with relationship changes. It helped to get it all out. I don't think I would've made the same record if I was in one place."
In the midst of his travels, he entered a London studio for a week in April 2016 with longtime collaborator Mike Lindsay [Tunng]. Recording wrapped with a final three-day session at producer/mixer Andrew Scheps' [Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adele, Hozier] studio in Wales at the end of August.
"This was the first time I recorded in a professional studio with these guys," he goes on. "It was the first time that Mike, Andrew, and myself all worked in the same room. When the record was done, we turned the lights off, put the Christmas lights on, listened, and each had a bourbon. It was pretty emotional."
Penned in Mexico, today's single "Bones" begins with a delicate piano punctuated by glitches as Ryan sings, "I'm exactly where I want to be, but I'm a long way from home." As the beat builds, he duets with Icelandic songstress Jófríður Ákadóttir [aka JFDR, Samaris, Pascal Pinon, whom Bjork recently named as her inspiration ], yielding a haunting and heavenly harmony.
"I was in Sweden until March [of 2016] and I then wound up in Warsaw, Poland, which brought me full circle," he recalls. "A recent relationship had just ended. 'Bones' tells this story. You're in a relationship and you don't want it to end, but your significant other does. That's the way it is."
Ultimately, Once In A Long, Long While... reflects Low Roar at Ryan's rawest. "I didn't think that much about it," he leaves off. "I just needed to get these songs out. I was documenting my life as it was happening."