Before meeting electro-pop duo ODESZA backstage at WayHome Festival and witnessing their incredible performance, AMBY had the pleasure of giving the band’s Clayton Knight a call. Enjoy our exclusive interview below as we discuss playing festivals, listening to Temples, hanging out with influences, and their work ethic.
AMBY: Thanks for taking the time to have a chat, Clayton! One of my staffers actually covered the band a few months back in Barcelona and said it was one of the best shows he’s ever been to. We’re stoked to speak with you.
ODESZA: Awesome! Yea, that was a fun show, I remember that one.
AMBY: Where does our interview find you today?
ODESZA: I’m at home in Seattle, Washington. I live in a little area called Magnolia.
AMBY: You’re currently riding the festival circuit pretty hard as you’re playing almost every major festival this summer. How has the circuit been treating you?
ODESZA: It’s been pretty intense! A lot of flying and a lot of travel, but it’s been worth it. The shows have been really good and they just keep getting bigger and bigger. I’m excited to play some more this summer and then the fall tour. So we’ll be busy.
AMBY: Do you find that you prefer playing more intimate club shows or the festival sites like the one you’ve been heavily playing to lately?
ODESZA: My personal opinion, I prefer when it’s our show. The festival shows are fun and all but you don’t get to use any of your production, like behind the show, it’s hard to implement a lot of that. So when you’re doing a tour of your own you can bring on all of the effects and kind of designs that you wanted, and you can soundcheck and other things. Usually the crowds are there for you, where in a festival you get people wandering in and out. I would definitely say our shows are a little more fun for sure.
AMBY: As you’ve mentioned, once you’ve finished with the summer festivals, you’ll embark on Phase 1 of the In Return 2015 World Tour which is your biggest headline tour ever. Its months ahead, but many of the shows are already sold-out. How pumped are you for what’s to come?
ODESZA: Very pumped. It’s really good to see people buying tickets and the response has been more than we expected, so we’re pretty excited.
AMBY: And Phase 1 of the World Tour takes you to Australia, New Zealand, and across North America. Are there any cities you look forward to exploring or returning to the most?
ODESZA: We loved playing Australia; it’s always a good spot. It’s beautiful and we have a bunch of friends out there and a pretty good music community out there, so I’m really excited to go back there. Then we hit up New York again, New York is usually fun, we’ve done a couple of those spots but it’s always nice to go back.
AMBY: I was actually looking at the shows you’re playing and it looks like you don’t have too many breaks in between each city, so when you actually get some downtime and you get to explore a city, what are some of the things that you and Harrison look for in a town or place?
ODESZA: Well, any downtime we usually have is spent editing our new music or doing interviews. A lot of the time it’s spent working, unfortunately. We just did a run not too long ago in Europe where we had some downtime and it was really nice to explore. Most of the time it’s just any free time you have is spent working on new music and trying to get the set better, so we really just don’t stop working.
AMBY and ODESZA: [laughs]
AMBY: Since you brought up new music, it’s the perfect time to bring up your latest record In Return. With all of the touring you’re doing, how’s material for a new album or release coming together?
ODESZA: Yea, we’re definitely trying to get some ideas together at the very beginning stages. We have a couple of remixes we finished a bit back and we’re excited for those. Once those are out we’ll probably switch gears and go full out with the writing process and hopefully get some new material out.
AMBY: For the album, I read that some of your influences range from artists who create hip-hop, ambient, and electronic music. If you could hang out with any of your influences for a day, who would you choose and what would you like to do with them?
ODESZA: Oh man, that’s a good question! If I could hang out with some of my biggest influences I would just like to sit in the studio and watch them work. I’d be the guy quietly observing, not really knowing what to say. That would be really cool, especially with some really good producers and other musicians, to watch how they work and they go about writing and seeing those processes I think would be really cool.
AMBY: I was Twitter stalking you both yesterday and saw your Tweets about the new Tame Impala record being incredible and then a separate Flaming Lips Yoshimi quote. Which other artists have you been listening to lately that you would recommend our readers check out?
ODESZA: Well obviously Tame Impala, they have an almost retro kind of rock feel. There’s another band called Temples that I’ve been really into.
AMBY: Yea, Temples are a favourite for us.
ODESZA: They’re so good and surprisingly underrated actually! I ask a lot of people what they listen to and if they know that band a lot of the time they don’t. But that album is actually amazing and definitely one of my favourites. What else am I listening to right now? Hold on one sec, let me look… I’m on my Spotify right now. I’ve got the Rhye albums. I’ve been kind of going back and listening to some older music that I really feel in love with. The Rhye album has got Woman which is really good. I don’t know if you know a band name Grouper, it’s really ambient cinematic music, but she’s super talented, so I’ve been listening to a couple of her albums. M83, I’ve been going back to him and Panda Bear also. So I’ve been going back and listening to the roots of what I really actually like from the beginning.
AMBY: That’s great! I also saw something on there that said you’re inspired by movies and cinema. Which films or shows would you love to have your music featured in?
ODESZA: Oh man, it’d be an honour to do really anything! Scoring Drive would be amazing but I don’t think we could ever get anywhere close to the soundtrack they have already. The movies I really like already have good soundtracks, so I don’t want to mess them up. I really like the soundtrack on The Social Network, Trent Reznor did a great job. We just really enjoy all sorts of music, and cinematic being one of those.
AMBY: To wrap everything up, other than movies and music, what else are some hobbies that both of you bond over?
ODESZA: We’ve kind of grown to like travelling and exploring big cities. We’re both pretty big foodies, we love a good meal. The simple things. We see each other so much you don’t really think about it anymore, it’s basically just like a family. I see him more than anyone else. Food is definitely one of them. Sitting down and having a good meal with both him and the crew is nice because usually everyone is working nonstop. But besides music I would say sitting down and having a good meal together.
Thank you ODESZA, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout