Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Ruban Nielson on Finding Clarity Through Music

We speak with the musician about the four years of work and life that have gone into the band's fifth studio album

A lot has changed since 2019 when singer, songwriter and musician Ruban Nielson began working on Unknown Mortal Orchestra‘s fifth studio album, V. Initially named Guilty Pleasures, the project transformed and evolved over time. “It’s like four years of music,” Ruban (who is Hawaiian and Maori, grew up in New Zealand and is currently based in Palm Springs) tells us. “There were quite a few different …

Limited Edition “V” Vinyl

On limited edition gold-hued vinyl, V is Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s fifth studio album, and their first double album. Singer-songwriter and musician Ruban Nielson wrote the music for the record over four years and between Hawaii and California during a time of worldwide and personal tumult. The result is a diverse selection of songs but all possess Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s enduring tenderness.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Layla

Following “I Killed Captain Cook,” Unknown Mortal Orchestra has released “Layla”—both tracks from the highly anticipated upcoming double album, V (out 17 March). Frontman Ruban Nielson, who is of Hawaiian and Maori heritage, says the sound was inspired by “the rich traditions of West Coast AOR, classic hits, weirdo pop and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music.”