Odesza: EmeraldCityEDM Interview

Odesza is Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of Washington.  Odesza has performed at Sasquatch Music Festival, Lighting In A Bottle, What The Festival, Summer Meltdown, Capitol Hill Block Party and the 10th annual Decibel Festival in 2013. After spending the majority of October on an east coast tour with Michael Menert, Odesza will be opening for Pretty Lights on the Pacific Northwest stops of the “Analog Future” tour!

EmeraldCityEDM spoke with Harrison of Odesza in anticipation of their upcoming supporting act slot on the Analog Future tour:

Origin:  Odesza is Harrison Mills of California/Washington and Clayton Knight of Washington.  Harrison, originally from California, moved to Washington when he was about 8 or 9.  Harrison now lives in the Seattle area, while Clay, originally from Bellingham, now lives on Bainbridge Island.

Odesza met in their senior year of college at Western Washington University in the summer of 2012.  Introduced via a mutual friend, the two spent months of sharing music together and eventually decided to “head downstairs” and try producing an original track.  They ended up creating three songs in only three hours!  The two clicked instantly, and the music creation process went so well that they decided to truly collaborate on a project together.  This project evolved and eventually became the first official Odesza EP “Summers Gone”.

“Odesza” Name:  The story behind the name Odesza is “horribly anticlimactic” per Harrison:  We liked the name Odessa, which is a place.  When we went to register the name, we found that a hardcore UK metal band had already claimed it.  So, we tweaked it a little and added a z and the name Odesza was formed.

First Live Show:  Odesza first performed live as support for Beat Connection on a mini tour of the Pacific Northwest.  Now, Odesza has toured the east coast and midwest, along with a multitude of live shows up and down the west coast and northwest.  2013 notable tour dates include Sasquatch Music Festival, Lighting In A Bottle, What The Festival, Summer Meltdown and the Capitol Hill Block Party.

Odesza performing at the 2013 Capitol Hill Block Party:
Odesza - CHBP

Decibel Performance:  About their most recent Seattle performance, Harrison stated “we appreciate all of the attendees coming out to the show.  Sean Horton (Decibel Founder) cares a lot about the local music scene and bringing in a lot of really talented people, so it was an honor for us to play it.  We got to play with people that I really love, Gold Panda & Slow Magic, I’m huge huge fans of both of them.  Overall, the experience was amazing, being able to play in your hometown with people you really like is just a dream come true.”

Odesza performing at the 10th annual Decibel Festival (Neumos):
Odesza neumos

Summer’s Gone EP:  The Summers Gone EP, Odesza’s debut release, is an “ode to hanging out in the summer, finishing school and trying to enjoy life as much as possible, while feeling nostalgic that it’s over”:

Me Friends Never Die EP:  EmeraldCityEDM noticed a heavy use of samples in the duo’s second EP.  About the sampling, Harrison stated that “a lot of the songs on the EP we were making purely for live performance.   Since we had started touring a lot once Summers Gone dropped, we wanted to make stuff that really made the crowd have a really good time and go off, and make it so our set would build build build and be more climactic towards the end.  So we used bigger, bassier heavier sounding stuff, hopefully more mature sounding.”

My Friends Never Die was never expected to be released, but once Odesza had 4 or 5 songs, they decided that “We might as well make an EP out of it”!  Regardless of the original intentions, My Friends Never Die is a beautiful treat to the ears:

Unreleased Archive:  Odesza is working on “tons” of music, with Harrison stating that “we have tons of unreleased stuff that we want to put out, but it doesn’t feel like the right time yet.  When the right time does come around, we will be releasing much much more.”

Label:  Odesza has not signed with any label as of the date of this interview.   Under Red Light Management, Odesza has certainly come a long way without the support of a traditional label.  About the lack of a label, Harrison stated “it’s kind of the future” and that “the hardest part is just getting people to listen to you!  If you can somehow find a way into a market, or at least to people who care about you do, they aren’t going to throw you to the curb unless you give them a reason to.”

Thoughts about working with the PLM label?  Odesza has heard that Derek (Pretty Lights) is a fan, but there hasn’t been any discussion of working with the label yet.  Odesza is currently working on an unofficial remix for a Pretty Lights track, which Derek played live once during the Analog Future tour.  Odesza is excited to hopefully release it as Harrison feels that it came out “really good”.

Live Performances:  “We have been working basically nonstop on shows, touring & music since Summer’s Gone dropped, so it’s been kind of a crash course of us  learning how live music goes, and how to be good at it.” Anything you’ve learned as a result of live performances?   “We’re constantly working on it, every show I’d say we’ve changed our performance somehow, in either song structure or adding a bunch more music or changing how we play stuff.  Watching a lot of different people and being inspired but what they do to make our performance better.  It’s been really really fun to be able to play in front of so many different kinds of people.  Live music is a whole different beast from producing; it really is, like two totally different worlds.  It’s definitely been a learning process”.

Pretty Lights “Analog Future” Tour:  Odesza:  This booking is “huge for us, we didn’t think that it would happen at all.  Management hinted that it might be a possibility and don’t get your hopes up”.   Now, Odesza is booked for seven opening act slots on the Analog Future tour, with six dates scheduled for the west coast and one Missoula, MT date.

Any plans to incorporate a live instrumental aspect to your performance?  Harrison:  No, we do not want to incorporate a live instrumental element, but we do want to incorporate more of a live performance element via us “doing more, as a lot of people probably don’t really know what we’re doing, we still get people saying “hey great DJ set”.  We’re probably going to get more controllers and make breakdowns so that we jump on to a different machines and show that were actually doing stuff live, so it’s a little bit more apparent and more fun for us.  The more room for error the more fun the show!

Anything Else?  Harrison:  “I just want to say that I really appreciate all of the hometown love Seattle has given us so far, and people like you who care enough to interview us – it means a lot”.

Odesza is online at:

Kent/Seattle Pretty Lights “Analog Future” tour with special guest Odesza:
Facebook event page
Purchase presale tickets online
All EmeraldCityEDM coverage of the “Analog Future” tour

Stay up to date on upcoming public electronic dance music events in the Seattle area by following the EmeraldCityEDM Event Calendar.



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