Earlier this month we picked up the old banana phone and called Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, the progressive and genius duo behind ODESZA to talk about their music, tour and life on the road.
We caught them driving through the blazing Arizona desert looking for a gas station and a cold soda. Eager to chat regardless of the anticipated rest stop in sight, the duo shed light into their world and ground breaking music.
Betty: You both started DJing in your own respective projects as Catacomb Kid and Beaches Beaches. How did you meet and how was ODESZA born?
Harrison: We were both going to Western Washington University, that’s where we met and we both knew a mutual friend through DJing. We got together and played his basement one time and started working from there.
Kora: You guys came into the scene very rapidly and have had immediate success as ODESZA on Hype Machine with several of your tracks hitting number one. Hype M is powered by music blogs, do you know which ones started posting about you first?
Harrison: I’m not quite sure. It was very under the radar.
Kora: Is there another online publication or site that has garnered a lot of attention aside from Hype M?
Harrison: I think Hype M is the only one on our radar. I guess we owe them a lot of credit!
Betty: We assume that being in the music world for so long that you guys have attended several music festivals (correct us if we’re wrong). You guys are playing absolutely massive festivals this year. From Coachella to Shambhala http://www.shambhalamusicfestival.com/artist/odesza/ you both have a lot on your plate!
Harrison: We haven’t attended either one yet but hear great things! We are so excited.
Betty: You guys are going to get your minds blown.
Harrison: Have you been to Coachella before?
Betty and Kora: Oh yeah. Three years and counting! That’s where our blog was born!
Betty: Back on point…what is it like to play massive festivals? We’re not DJs or artists… what is it like to play to massive crowds of people?
Clayton: It’s the ability to reach out to far more people than regular shows. It’s a similar environment but you get to hang out with a lot more artists which is fantastic. You get to see a lot of people you admire.
Kora: You guys often refer to yourselves as two dude in a basement. We’re wondering where your inspiration for writing music comes from and if your basement is very interesting…because basements can be a bit boring [we all laugh].
Harrison: There isn’t anything on the walls that is particularly interesting. Clay listens to a lot of soul which is always a big inspiration behind the music we create. There aren’t any genres that we don’t touch or play with. We listen to a lot of rap and old school hip hop.
Kora: Any artists in particular you find inspiring?
Clayton: We love the group C2C.
Harrison: We listen to everything. Keep open minds. Kids these days need to learn how to expand just from electronic music.
Betty: Coming from neighbouring cities – Vancouver and Seattle, we’re huge electronic music fans. In Vancouver as much as electronic music is blowing up, it’s still very much an underground scene over here. What is Seattle like? Is it the same vibe?
Harrison: Yeah, not too much different.
Kora: What was your reaction when Pretty Lights asked you to do a remix of “One Day You’ll Know?”
Harrison: Very humbled. That is someone who we look up to in the industry and it was one of the best feelings you can have! We were stoked to have the remix so well received by everyone. After this tour we are going to sit down and write more music.
We said goodbye and went our separate ways. We hoped they found their cold soda oasis on such a smouldering afternoon down south. It was great to speak with ODESZA prior to their show in Vancouver which we attended on April 10.
Entering ‘Venue’ on the night of April 10 created memories we will soon not forget. Aside from the intensely profound music ODESZA created with every track, we spent the evening with Clayton and Harrison who were not only hilarious, kind and humble but we also created a new secret handshake.
ODESZA’s music reverberates through your chest demanding you pulsate on the dance floor. It’s those long drawn out beats with soft melodic undertones that get me. You can’t help but hang on every minute sonic detail in their endless creative masterpiece. Certain tracks hype you up while others calm you down. All things aside, in a short amount of time ODESZA has risen exponentially and it’s no wonder why.
Words by Betty
Photos by Kora