Beers by the bathroom: An interview with Odesza


by Rose Blanton

A few hours before their set at Park West I sat down with two boys from the Pacific Northwest that call themselves Odesza. I was excited right off the bat because they were both in sweats and offered me a beer. I knew I was going to be able to hit them with really arduous questions like what their super powers would be?

Rose Blanton: Who are your major influences?

Harrison Mills: Uh, we have a lot. Nowadays with being on sound cloud we hear so many people that it’s hard to pinpoint. I could say where we originated?

RB: Yeah, definitely.

HM: For me in High School, I heard the Gorillaz. That really changed things for me. I got into hip hop, which turned into sampling, and then moved into more indie stuff, like Animal Collective.

RB: Do you guys like Wu-Tang or A Tribe Called Quest?

HM & Clayton Knight: YES!

HM: Tribe was just huge for me.

RB: What would you classify your music as?

HM: I think we struggle with that one a lot.

CK: Synth pop with like a bright sound.

HM: And a hip-hop backbone.

RB: Why do you think you guys collaborate so well?

HM: I think what it really boils down to is that we both like so many different kinds of music. It’s hard to find someone who not only makes similar kinds of music but likes so many different things that they want to incorporate. So that’s something, that’s a huge one.

CK: We’re both really open-minded as to what we listen to. We listen to everything from old soul to the newer stuff that’s coming out now.

RB: You met when you were seniors at university, the name of your album is Summer’s Gone. Is the album inspired by the end of the era?

CK: I would say there’s much more freedom and happiness. It’s about the transition.

HM: We wrote most of the songs over the summer and then spent the end of the summer mixing them and that was really fun and nostalgic. That’s what it felt like, memories.

RB: What’s been the hardest part so far?

HM: Learning the business behind the music that we didn’t understand.

CK: Yeah, it’s an ugly thing.

HM: You have to make some serious decisions if you really want to do this. Like touring nine months out of the year. There are a lot of things you have to give up.

RB: You both started out as solo artists and now you’re collaborating. Which do you prefer?

CK: Oh collaboration for sure.

RB: Do you ever feel that your creativity is hindered?

CK:  I think it’s great to have someone to bounce ideas off of. And if someone doesn’t like what you’re doing, you must prove yourself to them. It’s fun.

HM: We try to not get in each other’s way, and it’s so nice to give away a song that you’re sick of.

RB: Obviously you draw inspiration from other music but do you ever get inspired by art or the outdoors… or I don’t know, your mother?

HM: Yeah my mom was Summer’s Gone [laughs]. No, but I was a design major, so I am inspired by art and illustration and stuff like that. I really like the film too. The Truman Show is one of my favorite movies.

CK: I’ve always been a science geek. The patterns in math as well. When you can recognize what parts of a song you like, and break those down, you can see more.

RB: What’s the next step for you guys?

HM: We’re about to finish a huge project, a new LP. It’s us working with musicians, not sampled-based. So people don’t call us DJs anymore.

RB: Ok time for my last question, and probably my most important one. Would you rather be able to fly or touch a book and absorb all its knowledge?

CK&HM: OHHHH BOOKS! Books would be cool.

CK: Flying would be cool too though, you could like get out of situations.

HM: Yeah… Sorry guys, I don’t want to pay for this sandwich [laughter].

On that note we wrapped up the conversation and carried on with the beers, looking forward to what was to come from Odesza.