Smile Politely

The warm sounds of Odesza

The glitched out collaborative effort between BeachesBeaches and Catacombkid (aka Clay Knight and Harrison Mills, respectively) have combined efforts, and on both of those pages are known as “1/2 of Odesza“. Well, with that said, while talking to them before their visit to Champaign-Urbana this upcoming Sunday, they chose to conduct this interview as just that, two pieces of Odesza, forming one.

Smile Politely: How did you guys come up with the name Odesza?

Odesza: It kinda came out of nowhere. We liked the way it looked with the two “s’s” actually. Also, one of our favorite songs is named that at the time. After doing a little research, we found that there was a UK band, a screemo-metal band named that so we kind of boxed the idea. So we decided to put a z in it and added our own little twist and it was born. Odesza was born.

SP: So how long have you guys known each other? I know that you guys went to college together?

Odesza: We met around our junior year in college. We’ve known each other for about two and a half years. We basically met and started making music.

SP: When did you guys become more serious about it [the music]? I know that this was all kind of quick but before that, when did you guys decide to make this a real thing [the music and underground rise]?

Odesza: I think after first seeing the possibility to make this into a real career and being able to play shows around the U.S., we’re both kind of untraveled people so it just felt like the perfect opportunity to do something we’ve always wanted to try and we’ve always wanted to travel. I know we’d both regret it if we didn’t go for it. A couple months after Summer’s Gone, we started touring and working on more music. Just getting more and more serious with every show that we played. 

SP: What was your first gig together that kind of kicked this off?

Odesza: Our first gig was with a band called Beat Connection. Another local Washington artist and they were nice enough to let us tag along on tour with them. Our first show was at our school at this little venue called, The Wild Buffalo, and we did our first show there and then we kind of tagged along for their tour. We did some Washington dates and then we went to Portland and that was our first out of state gig.

SP: So seeing as you’ve guys have known each other for a little while, was this all a part of your plan? To make music together?

Odesza: We thought about it as a fun kind of thing. We shot for those goals but we never really thought anything would come from it, it was more of like a fun experiment in the beginning. As soon as we saw things happening for us, it was kind of a mind blow for us. We were really just surprised by it all.

SP: How exactly did you guys meet?

Odesza: We had a mutual friend named Sean and I went over to show him my music. He was into film and stuff and we were thinking of doing a music video and he would always say that Clay was doing some similar music stuff. And since neither of us knew anyone else doing anything similar in production and things like that, it was a really cool idea to share ideas and stuff. Slowly after sharing music and ideas, we decided to jam on some music together and it went really well and we tried to make a profit out of it.

SP: What inspires you guys’ music and your sound?

Odesza: Well we really just like ambient music to a combination of other sounds along with an analog warm sound.

SP: Any particular favorite artists that you have in mind?

Odesza: Well I [Harrison] really like Gorillaz, Pink Floyd, Pretty Lights and people in Australia are making some really good music now. I too [Clay] like a lot of music coming out of Australia. Also Panama Future Classic Waves.

SP: So I know that you guys are having your first headlining tour. How exciting is this for you from your short rise to fame?

Odesza: it’s safe to say that it’s really exciting. We’re going to be going to a ton of cities, about 22 in total.

SP: So, what’s next for Odseza? Any other collaborations in the future?

Odesza: We’re just looking to make more music, new music. We really just want to keep evolving the music. As far as collaborations, we would like to collaborate with some vocalists and we’re also hoping to collab with some bands as well.

You can catch Odesza at the Canopy Club on Sunday, February 2nd with Emancipator Ensamble and Real Magic. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Top photo by Marybeth Coghill.

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