ODESZA SummerStage Interview

ODESZA, the electronic production duo of Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight hailing from Seattle, has only been in operation for a couple of years, but very early on, their career caught a spark that quickly turned into a fire, that shows no signs of burning out any time soon.

Okayfuture caught up with the boys as they make their way cross-country to New York City, where they will be performing on Sunday, July 13, as part of our summer’s most iconic of music festivals, Central Park SummerStage.  As Harrison and Clay lounged on their hotel beds prior to soundcheck for their sold-out show in Minneapolis that evening, we chopped it up about funny tour stories, the up-and-coming artists they admire from around the world, the Games of Thrones character that Clay most resembles, and the music they each would make love to.

Read our interview with ODESZA below, along with a special selection from their impressive body of musical works.  Be sure to see them perform this Sunday, July 13 at Okayfuture’s Central Park SummerStage show with Bonobo and Cibo Matto, in celebration of 15 years of Okayplayer.

Okayfuture SummerStage Bonobo Cibo Matto Odesza

On playing Central Park SummerStage this Sunday…

Harrison: Yea, I’ve watched videos of other bands playing there, and just thought the opportunity to play Central Park is such an incredible one.  It’s kinda crazy to say, “Yea, I’m playing Central Park.” I feel like every time I’ve said that to anyone, they’re like “WTF!” so I feel pretty excited about it.

On New York City…

Harrison: We were just there almost a month and half ago.  It was pretty hot.  I just like the ability to go anywhere so quickly and any time of night. If we wanted to go to a really cool restaurant, we could go at 2 a.m. if we really wanted to.  That kind of stuff is not available anywhere else in the world.

Post-show Rituals…

Harrison: We’re usually pretty drunk by the end.  Just rounding up our friends if we have friends where we’re playing that we haven’t seen in awhile.  And then just all meet at a bar or something and hang out.  Nothing too crazy.  A couple of our friends are coming to the show so we’ll probably hang out with a couple of friends before we leave the next day.  Fly back to Seattle.

We’re playing Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle the next weekend, and we’re kinda preparing some special stuff that we’re going to try to play.  It’s somewhat similar [to SummerStage] in a way.  It’s a closed down main strip of Seattle and then they put the stage in the middle of the road.  A$AP Rocky, Chromeo, Spoon, Matt & Kim….

Clay: Yea, all over the map.

Dream collaborations

Harrison: I think there’s personal people we really like.  We’re really open to a lot of different things.  We like experimenting with different sounds and stuff.  One that I’ve always thought would be a cool collaboration was CocoRosie. They had a couple minor hits.  They’re like weird electronic.  We like soul music too, like Lee Fields or Charles Bradley, one of those guys would be cool.  A lot of indie singers.  Like the girl from Phantogram.

Their respective dream jobs, personal endgame or where they see themselves in 10 years…

Harrison:  For us, as far as the business world goes, Diplo is someone we would like to be like in the way that I’d like to be a curator for music because we’re into so many kinds of things, that it would be really cool to point people in different directions on sounds we’ve heard across the world that don’t get a lot of shine.  We listen to a lot of people or play shows with a lot of people who have small fan base, that could easily be way bigger than we are.  I’d definitely want to be a part of that somehow.

Clay: Producing for other people would be my dream.  Being in the studio all day, I love that shit.

Their respective solo careers prior to ODESZA…

Harrison: Those were really like hobbies and we weren’t serious when we were doing it.  When we met and started making stuff together, it just happened to be a more commercial sound that people like, and it sorta snowballed effect from there.  So we haven’t thought too much about it.  We’re just kinda focusing on one thing and trying to do the best we can.

Clay: Yea, all that’s on hold right now.

Top artists to look out for…

Together: Hayden James

Harrison: I love that guy.  He’s in Australia.  He’s awesome.  We just played some shows with him.  We were already fans of his, but after seeing his show and hearing stuff that he’s working on that’s not even out yet, it’s super good.

Clay: ASTR

Harrison: Yea, ASTR.  They’re really good.  They’re from Brooklyn.

And Galimatias.  He’s going to be way more underground than those two.  He makes some really interesting beats, and he’s made a few pop songs with this girl Alina Baraz, who’s also really really talented.  I think he’s from Denmark.  He’s just this really awesome producer, and he’s done a wide variety of things and everything he’s done I’ve been a fan of.  So, I see him doing some really cool stuff.

Clay: And Dawn Golden

Harrison:  Yea, Dawn Golden’s cool too.

Guilty pleasures…

Clay: I have a couple.  Do cigarettes count?

Harrison: I’m pretty open about all my problems.  I like Coldplay.  Everybody shits on them but I always thought their music was sweet.

Clay: I like to binge on shows like Game of Thrones, True Detective…. I’ll just sit down and watch those for hours on end.

Are you up to date on Game of Thrones??

Clay: Oh, I’m above up to date. I’m reading the books too.

Do you identify with any of the characters?

Harrison:  He’s Arya.

Clay: I think I’d be Jaime.  Deep down I see myself as a Jaime Lannister character.

Harrison: He’s in love with his sister.

Clay: I don’t have a sister!  Besides the incest thing, I see myself as a Jaime.  He’s a complex character.  People will judge him fast, but there’s a lot more going on I think.  I think I get that all the time.

ODESZA Interview Summerstage

Harrison: Don’t judge him too fast.  I don’t watch a lot of TV.  I’m very specific though.  I really liked True Detective a lot though. I think I like darker series.  There’s this one show.  Nicolas Winding Refn, the guy who did Drive.  He did Bronson, a movie with Tom Hardy that I really like.   And Tom Hardy did the show called The Take, it was like six episodes and it’s not like very well-known, but it was on Netflix for awhile and it’s really good.

Touring as ODESZA and dream travel destinations….

Harrison: We haven’t been to Europe yet.

Clay: Just Australia and the U.S.

Harrison:  Our dream is Red Rocks in Colorado because we’ve never played there before.  And my family is from there.  And I think that’s the only way I could ever impress them. But we’re playing a version of that stage – above it.  We’re playing this festival there, Global Dance Festival.  So we’ll be there, but I don’t know if I’m counting that one yet.

I think my mom is going to want to come, but I might tell her you don’t want to see what’s going to happen there: A lot of kids on drugs.

Clay: I want to go to Berlin.  I think that would be sweet.  I’ve heard a lot of good things, so that’s my dream right now.

Funny stories from tour…

Clay: There’s one.

Harrison: We always tell this one because it’s so ridiculous.  A couple months ago, we played in Montana and there was this couple that was dancing, and the girl was dancing/leaning over the stage on my monitor, where all of my sound was coming from.  And I kept looking down because I was like, why can’t I hear? And she was blocking the sound.  And I realized that this guy is straight up having sex with her over the speaker… for like 20 minutes, throughout our entire set.  And I had to keep looking because where my laptop is, was like directly within eye contact with her.  It was terrible.

Clay: It started light, and then they just started working their way up.  They were grinding hard and then it just turned into full on sex.

Harrison:  The crowd was cheering them on I think.

Clay: In Montana nonetheless.

Harrison:  It was a weird night.

Clay: Young and crazy!

ODESZA SummerStage Interview 1

Thoughts on the idea of people making love to their music…

Harrison:  That’s cool.  I’m into that.  Why not?  Sexy beats.

Would you make love to your own music?

Clay: (laughing)

Harrison:  That’s probably a little too much.  I would just stop in the middle and be like, “I MADE THIS.”

Clay: I don’t think I could do that.

What music would you have sex to then?

Clay: Old soul is always pretty classic. 50’s soul usually sets the vibe pretty well. Like Aretha or Sam Cooke.

Harrison: I had sex to the Toro Y Moi record, the newest one.  It’s good.  It’s a warm vibe.

Travel must-haves while on the road

Harrison: I think we live off of showers in the hotel.  Those are life-revitalizing.  Coffee and beer.

Your coffee of choice?

I think we both order the same thing because I think I got what he got one time when I didn’t know about coffee. But I get an Americano with vanilla.  And I go to The French Bakery, this place near my house.   It’s a chain, but there’s this one with a particular owner, and the dude that makes coffee there is crazy. It’s so good.  I go there like every day.

Clay: I sleep with a fan, it’s really weird.  I have to have a fan near my head to sleep basically.  I just bought a new one because mine burnt out in Australia.  It’s definitely the sound and I just get really hot at night too, I guess.

Harrison: ‘Cause he’s always playing Aretha at night!

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