Since forming in 2012, Seattle producer duo ODESZA (Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight) have quickly risen to prominence, gathering a multitude of fans online and winning more through their highly rated live performances.
Following a stream of successful tracks and 2013’s My Friends Never Die EP, the pair has just dropped In Return, their debut full-length on Ninja Tunes imprint Counter Records. Comprised of 13 pop-infused electronic gems, the album stands out for its coherence and depth of production – an impressive feat for such a recently formed act.
We spoke to the guys from ODESZA about the new record, their career so far and what the future may hold.
Hi, how are you both and what have you been up to today?
We are good. We are on a little break before we go on the road again and have really enjoyed being home for a bit. Most of our time off has been spent in the studio working on incorporating a lot of our new album into the live set.
Some time off must be nice, your rise over the last 18 months has been impressively fast, how have you found the whole experience?
It’s all pretty surreal. We really haven’t had a minute to sit back and really soak it in. We are sure it will hit us at some point but right now we really just want to sustain our momentum as much as possible.
How would you describe the different styles of each of your solo productions? How do they compliment each other when you work together?
Clay has a more dance & pop background while Harrison came from a darker hip hop sound. The difference in styles actually worked to our benefit. It helps us take a balanced approach to our music and gives us a wide range of influences to pull from.
How does the songwriting process work between the two of you?
Usually someone will have a really simple idea be it a couple chords or a melody they have stuck in their head. Once the initial idea is laid down we start adding layers back and forth ‘til we think we have enough material to form a complete track. We then go back and start removing pieces that we think clash with other sounds or take away from the track.
ODESZA has received massive support from within the blogosphere, what do you think it is about your music that leads to it being shared so enthusiastically by online tastemakers?
We aren’t really sure why it’s had such traction in that area. We pull from such a large library of different sounds, which we think helps create a unique style. We believe that this distinctive approach to our music plays a large roll in separating us from other artists.
How would you describe the evolution of your sound from last year’s EP to In Return?
The In Return album was us really trying new stuff, specifically working with other artists and vocalists. We really wanted to push ourselves as producers and really try to make something different than what we have done in the past.
Can you tell us a little bit about the recording process – where it was recorded and who you worked with etc.?
Each song had its own process. For a couple of the tracks we were actually able to get in the studio with the vocalists and sit down and share ideas, while other tracks we went back and forth during the writing process until we had something we were into.
So you’re about to embark on a huge US tour featuring sold out dates at some pretty iconic venues. Which shows are you most excited about?
We always love playing the major cities like NY, Boston, and our hometown of Seattle but also have had some of our most fun shows in unexpected places. Last time we played Salt Lake City we had a blast and the crowd got pretty rowdy.
Sounds like fun, what have been some other highlights of your previous live performances?
We just got done with festival season and had some really fun shows at Shambala, Osheaga, and the Winter Park Festival in Chicago. The Chicago show we actually closed out and had one of the most fun crowds we have ever played in front of.
So what can UK and Europe fans expect from your Set it Off tour with Slow Magic later this year?
We like to bring a lot of energy to our shows and hope we can get people as into the set as we get. Slow Magic has such a great show so we feel the pressure to really try to play the best show we can every night.
Other than the this brand new album, is there any new material or remixes that you guys have been working on, either collectively or solo?
We have a couple of remixes in the works including one for Slow Magic as well as talking with other artists we would really like to collaborate with. We like to stay busy.
In Return is out today (September 8, 2014) on Counter Records and can be purchased from odesza.com.
Interviewed by Will Van de Pol. Image by Tonje Thilesen.