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Interview: ODESZA

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on June 19, 2014

By Emma Jones

Seattle electro-lords ODESZA are hitting Australian shores soon ahead of CIRCO and a few sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne. With their mixtapes, album ‘Summer’s Gone’ and EP ‘My Friends Never Die’ all up for free downloads, and their unique style of futuristic, bass-driven dance, these guys have seen huge success in a mere eighteen months. With a Coachella set already under their belts, we caught up with them ahead of their first ever time out of the US to talk beginnings, being seen as DJs, the future of music and what’s still to come.

So your first time in Australia is coming up!

Yes! I’ve never been there in my life.

What are you looking forward to most apart from CIRCO?

Well we’re on some line-ups with some really exciting people who we admire, but the main thing is I’ve never actually been outside of the US apart from Canada!

On the CIRCO line-up, who are you most looking forward to seeing or meeting?

One of the guys we’re playing with, Hayden James – I’m a really big fan of. Also I like Onra, Touch Sensitive and Nosaj Thing a lot. And I really like Sable.

Yeah man, it’s such a sweet line-up! I’m on the other side of Australia so it’ll be a tough day!

I can Go Pro it for you if you want?

Please! I read a while ago that you’re focusing on greater instrumentation in your sets, so people won’t mistake you for DJs. Why is that?

I don’t mind being seen as a DJ. The main thing that bothers me with being a DJ is people assume you aren’t playing your own music, and all the stuff we play is ours. We never really play anything else. That’s what bothers me. When people ask, “what was that track you played? Who made that?” and it’s like “well… we did…”

That’s the only thing that bothers me.

Well you and Clayton have been playing instruments for years so you’re obviously quite experienced and talented in that regard…

*laughs* Clayton is more classically trained than me. I learned the trumpet when I was quite young, but I’ve lost those skills now!

Oh no! Can you tell me a bit about the decision to make your EP and album free to download?

A big part of it is that we think that’s just the future of music. It’s so much easier to send someone a link then expect a bunch of people that have never really listened to it to buy it. I think it’s more important to just be able to build a fan base and get people to listen to it. I think if people really like what you do, they’re going to find ways to support you like coming to our show or getting a t-shirt or something.

Where do you see your music within the current state of EDM, amongst all of the music coming out of Australia and internationally?

Well yeah, I think Australia is making it’s own genre of music at the moment. That’s definitely impacted on us. We’re very honoured to get to go over there and see what’s going on. That’s one thing I’m really looking forward to – seeing this music scene. Does it feel like people are connecting to that scene?

I don’t know – I think I’m pretty biased because I actually really enjoy that music, but I have a lot of friends who wouldn’t know the first thing about what’s happening here.

*laughs* That’s funny, that’s how Clayton and I came to be working together! We went to a school in the Seattle area, and that area is just known for rock and folk music. We were really electronic and hip-hop and into production, we didn’t know anyone else producing or doing what we did. When we met each other it was just like, “Woah! You have the same equipment as me! You use the same things! What do you make? Oh my God, you make the same stuff as me!”

So how long have you been working together?

I think it’s about two years, maybe a bit more.

Well you’ve only really JUST started playing on an international platform, for not an even a year, right?

Yeah. I think both of us are excited to see how the crowds are. I’m interested to see the changes in the people, and how different people react to our music.

Well I stumbled across one of your NO. SLEEP mixes, that’s how I came to know you guys. What was the idea behind those?

Well there are four of them. We went to a store in Seattle, and they asked us to do a DJ set – but we’d never done one. We just went in and played a bunch of stuff off SoundCloud that we liked. A lot of people were asking where they could get the songs, and someone asked us to do a mix tape for them. So we made it, and they put it out on their website. It got a lot of really cool feedback. It’s just a lot of stuff that we listen to, including new stuff or old stuff that we think didn’t get as much recognition. It was just kind of cool to show our friends, and people who like us, what we listen to. I was kind of amazed by how many people liked it honestly.

So what is next for you guys? You’re coming to Australia, are you going to do any collaborations whilst you’re here? Is it a holiday or a bit of work too?

I would absolutely love to collaborate with some people! That’s funny, I had never thought about that.

You have to credit me now!

Yeah! You’re going to need to get some commission now! I think we have a few days off. The Pilerats guys had a big hand in helping us get listened to in Australia. Sun Models was on their first compilation release, so probably seeing them.

What about when you go back to the US? You’ve just finished an East Coast tour there, any other tours coming up?

Well we have an entire new album that we’ve been working on for about a year and a half. That’s going to come out sometime this year!

Will you come back to Australia and play up in Brisbane on the East Coast after that?

I hope so, I would love to!

ODESZA Australian tour dates:

June 21 – The Roller Den, Sydney (DJ SET W/ RUFUS)
June 22 – Enmore Theatre, Sydney W/ RUFUS
June 25 – 170 Russell, Melbourne  W/ KELE (BLOC PARTY) AND HAYDEN JAMES
June 26 – Metro Theatre, Sydney W/ KELE (BLOC PARTY) AND HAYDEN JAMES
June 28 – Circo Festival, Claremont Showground, Perth


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