2, 4, 6, 8… we appreciate odesza!

​Combine former Physicist Clayton Knight and one-time Graphic Designer Harrison Mills and you get ODESZA, a soulfully electronic duo straight outta Seattle who concentrate on constructing subterranean bass combined with a gorgeous chorus. We are fans...

by Hattie Collins
14 April 2015, 2:05am

2 things that make Odesza happy
1. "Right now, sleep. We haven't had a lot of it. We would like a lot more of it. Having time to be creative and write." (Clayton)
2. "Time, basically. We're on the road so much, we don't get a lot of chance to sit down and write and be creative. And sleep, see above!" (Harrison)

4 Fun Things To Do in Seattle
1. Take the ferry "I grew up in a place called Bainbridge Island. You can take the ferry from downtown Seattle to Bainbridge Island. It's like a 30 minute ride there and a 30 minute ride back and during a good day you can see the whole city, the mountains, everything. It's probably one of the prettiest views you can get. It's the ferry rode that you see in The Killing, yes." (Harrison)
2. Go out in Capitol Hill "There's a lot of fun, interesting bars. It's really good nightlife; small and compact but there's loads of bands playing and there's a really awesome nightclub next to this other venue and both just play really great music constantly." (Clayton)
3. Eat seafood "We have the freshest seafood, some of the best fish you'll find in the States. The salmon is pretty incredible. Stuff your face with oysters. There's a place I went to recently called Blueacre Seafood that was absolutely insane. There's some great upper end spots, but there's seafood anywhere so you can go simple or fancy." (Clayton)
4. And biscuits "There's a hidden gem called Morsel that makes custom, handmade biscuits every morning. They do biscuits and gravy and then sandwiches of prosciutto and fig on cheddar-chive. You need to nap after that." (Harrison)

Six things that inspire Odesza's sound
1. The UK. "It's always been the leader in Electronic music and we're always lagging in catching up with you guys. But it feels like we're getting there now. Dubstep and EDM is still pretty strong here but it's on its way out; it's not 'the sound' right now; it's saturated, formulated and it all sounds the same. It's great that melody seems to be coming back." (Clayton)
2. Clayton's dad. "He was classically trained and he was constantly playing piano throughout my upbringing." (Clayton)
3. The Gorillaz. "Not only because of the artwork - I was an illustrator for a long time after studying Art at school - so I loved the artwork, but also because it opened my mind to genre-blending; they had rappers with pop and old drum breaks and then funk. To me that was mind-blowing. It made me realise there was more to music than what was played on the radio. I started listening to instrumental hip hop then abstract hip hop and trip hop and electronic music. I never stopped digging after that. I was obsessed with finding weird sounds." (Harrison)
4. Bellingham. "That's the town we went to college in. Indie and folk is really popular there, it's really prominent. So we were exposed to a lot of that at college and I got into the blending of electronic music and indie stuff - like Animal Collective. That's the band we have the most mutual love for. That's what generates a lot of our sound; that indie/ band oriented stuff with heavy electronica behind it. Like Bobobo and Animal Collective meets… some sort of pop artist!" (Clayton)
5. The Drive soundtrack. "I was a little more close-minded when it came to more recent music; I didn't even like eighties music and all of a sudden I was really into this modern take on it. I was a really big film fan so scores have been a big deal. I literally went home after seeing that film and downloaded as much eighties music as I could find. That [director] Nicholas Winding-Refn is incredible too." (Harrison)
6. Phillip Glass. "There's a lot of beatmakers that take a loop and center an entire song around it where you're hypnotized by it, and I think Phillip Glass does a similar thing where he'll have arpeggiated beautiful thing and it builds and climaxes to this thing that grows without it changing somehow but you feel it inside you. It puts me in a trance. I love it." (Clayton)

8 things you should know about Odesza
1. Clayton studied physics and was planning to go into Computation Finance (aka algorymic trading). "I studied Maths and Physics. Music was just always a hobby, a way to decompress after class and mess around on Logic. I never thought it would be something I would end up doing. The beginning was rough. We were broke college kids trying to tour the world. All our friends had jobs and we had debt. To stick with it was a hard choice. Your family is like, 'What the fuck are you doing with your life?'".
2. Harrison was a graphic designer. "I was probably going to join a design firm and design Doritos packaging for the rest of my life."
3. They met in college over a shared love of the MPC and were then known as Catacomb Kid (Harrison) and BeachesBeaches (Clayton). "Harrison was using this MPC and I was using this software called Machine, but they were basically the same thing. We have the same taste in music, we were on the same level somehow so we just started making music together."
4. They're named after the Ukraine city of Odessa, but added the Z because of the Scottish synth band, Odessa. Harrison's uncle also had a boat, called the Odessa, which sank.
5. Harrison used to scam people but it wasn't his fault. "I spent a summer working for the city, digging ditches for a pipeline. But actually that was way better than when I worked at a certain sportwear shop. They had all these ridiculous things they would make you do. like sell fake shoe warranties. It was a total scam. I hated it."
6. Their favourite TV character is True Detective's Rust Cohle. "Matthew McConaughey is so great. It takes the cake."
7. They've remixed everyone from SIA, ZHU, Charli XCX and Slow Magic but they're pausing that for now. "We're taking a break from remixes. We're trying to start writing more for our next project." Including new single, Say My Name."
8. They are creatively ambitious. "We just launched our own label. We've signed a couple of artists, just for singles; we want to encompass lots of mediums; albums, singles, visual art, documentaries, so it's less a label, more a creative place. We have a lot of vision for things we want to try and we know a lot of really creative people."

Odesza play the Laundry, E8 on 1 May


Text Hattie Collins

music interviews
hattie collins
2 4 6 8
clayton knight
harrison mills