By Vanessa Tam
VANCOUVER – Seattle was and will always be the home to a plethora of internationally recognized artists across multiple genres, one of which being EDM wunderkinds Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of Odesza.
“I was [actually] born in Wisconsin,” explains Knight. “I moved out here when I was younger to [go to] school at Western Washington University where [I first met Harrison]. We’re basically full blown Seattleites at this point; I have a place down here [and] we live right next to each other. We [also] have a studio here, so it’s home.”
“[While] L.A. is kind of the epicentre of the electronic music scene, we have deep roots here,” he adds. “You know we have family here and we love writing up here. [It’s] a very unique vibe and setting that I think we’ve both grown really fond of. And for the writing process [of our new album] we did pop down to L.A. quite a bit but we’d always come back and be able to set up in our homes and kind of lose ourselves in our own little world. I think that’s a really important thing to have, that comfortable headspace to write and be creative in.”
With new singles being dropped on Soundcloud every day in a battle to be seen as the most relevant person of the day, Mills and Knight continue to stay true to themselves as by giving themselves the time and space to create longer form albums at their own pace.
“Albums have just kind of been [the] way that we like to release music because it gives you a chance to show people a little more range opposed to just a couple singles here and there,” explains Knight. “When we first start writing, we usually just start with a bunch of ideas and during the writing process, we created close to 50 different tracks. We try to make as much as we possibly can and show as much range and diversity as we can. But you gotta take breaks and come back to it. Keeping up and being relevant is important, but [this is] just how we’ve learned to enjoy music. We love albums that you can just put on and sit with for a while and you know, kind of take you on a journey.”
When it comes to watching a live performance by Odesza, most expectations are blown away by their larger than life productions that often feature live instrumentalists and, more recently, a marching band.
“For the U.S. tour we’re trying to bring more of that with us, you know strings and whatnot,” says Knight. “We’re [also] revamping a lot of the songs so we’ll do for the live show. What we’ll do is take a lot of these songs that have some lower energy on the album and kind of remix them ourselves to give [them] a little more live energy. So we’ll do some dance remixes, some special VIP edits that make the sets feel a little more special instead of just you know playing tracks from the album. I think, eventually, as we get better at performing and doing live sets, a lot of it will just be custom for that moment. So a lot of the music you’re gonna hear [at a live show will be] unreleased and reinterpreting stuff that you might [already] be familiar with.”
“Something [else] we’re working on right now [is doing] more in studio sessions,” he adds. “So what we’ve kind of done is taken songs that have a lot of production, like “Line of Sight” and “Higher Ground,” and kind of pared them down by [adding in] some real basic piano lines and strings.”
In addition to their unexpected sound, the duo love working with artists that aren’t known to work with other electronic acts in order to create something never heard before like their latest single “Across The Room” featuring soul singer Leon Bridges.
“We’ve been huge fans of him for a long time; getting Leon and Regina [Spektor] as well as the others to work with us was a big step. We’ve always been huge fans of Panda Bear [from Animal Collective too] so hopefully at some point we can work with him. We really like taking these indie artists that live in different realms than us and then working with them because it usually makes something pretty unique.”
Odesza plays the Vancouver Forum on November 3 and 4, and their new LP, A Moment Apart, is now available on iTunes and Apple Music.Counter Records, EDM, electro-pop, Foreign Family Collective, Ninja Tune, ODESZA, Seattle, synth-pop