Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Advice to the Young | Louisiana Channel

“If you focus on money, you’re never going to get the stuff. And the stuff is what makes your career.” Ruban Nielson of Unknown Mortal Orchestra shares his advice to aspiring musicians.

“A lot of young people ask me questions about how you can get signed or how you can get your career started,” Nielson says. “I hope it doesn’t sound like it comes from a place with too much privilege, but I think those concerns about career and things like that are really dangerous. Especially early on in an artist’s journey.” To Ruban Nielson, it’s fatal that young musicians focus on their craft rather than how to get money, fame or success. “You have to go away, make something good and then the labels will come to you.”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is a New Zealand band formed in Auckland. It consists primarily of Ruban Nielson, Jacob Portrait and Kody Nielson. The band was formed by Ruban Nielson in 2009. The band’s first album was released in 2011 on Fat Possum Records; four subsequent studio albums have been released on Jagjaguwar, the most recent being V (2023).

Ruban Nielson was interviewed by Malte Bruun Fals in June 2023. The interview was recorded in connection to Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s participation in Brodie Sessions, a non-profit YouTube platform of curated music sessions. For more, visit https://brodiesessions.com/

Camera: Simon Wehye
Produced and edited by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2023
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