Last month, Slow Magic – a live electronic act with a flashing neon face mask – came to Los Angeles to play a show at The Roxy for The Do Lab. If you didn’t know – they’re the magic makers and rump shakers behind Lightning in a Bottle, my favorite festival. Pretty much any time I get the chance to shoot or work with them, I take it because I love their go-get it attitude, or as I put it – their Do Lab-ness; it’s not called the Maybe Lab, ya heard? =)
Anyhow – got some snaps and I dig how they turned out; enjoy!
Hands down one of the best sets at Global Dance Festival in Red Rocks. I’ve never considered myself much of a Drum and Bass fan, but apparently it’s because I haven’t been listening to the right stuff! My fiancee turned me on to Andy C and now I’m addicted; slightly bummed we left Shahmbala early to miss Round 2, but they’ll be in Los Angeles over Thanksgiving Weekend and I’m ready for it.
The first time I stumbled upon ODESZA was at Lightning in a Bottle ’13 – and ever since, I’ve been following them around – seeing what they’ll get up to next. I shot this video while I was shooting at Global Dance Fest at Red Rocks in Colorado, and recently I even had the opportunity to interview the Seattle duo (well, half of them at least) ahead of the release of their Sophomore EP ‘In Return’
“Catapulting onto the scene 2012 with their Freshman EP ‘Summer’s Gone‘, Seattle duo ODSEZA have provided an emotionally mature shift in the direction of modern dance music. Between their ethereal vocals, body-hugging bass and serene synths – Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight have rediscovered the formula for musical success, and in the process have gained quite the fan following….
DJL: To start, where exactly on the planet are you at the moment?
O: In Seattle, WA in our basement studio at a friend’s house; it’s a nice little break from the road.
DJL: Always nice to settle down for a bit. So, where did the name ODESZA come from?
O: The name ‘ODESA’ kind of encapsulated our sound. We Found out that a UK screamo-hardcore band, with a pretty solid following had the same name…so we had to rethink it a little, threw the Z in there and there you go. A little anti-climactic, but we like it.
DJL: The best names come from humble beginnings. When did you first start to feel like music would become your career?
O: We never really had a plan to make a career out of it, it was really just a hobby of mine. I played piano and classical music for most of my life and got into production in College. And me and Harrison met up, and just started messing around with some sounds. And then summer of my last year of college we decided to put something together, and that was basically “Summers Gone” and that got some major attention. After that when we started talking to our manager, that’s when we decided maybe we can work at this more and make something out of it….
DJL: What does it feel like now that you are starting to blow up? You guys are arguably one of the most sought after bands to book right now.
O: That’s nice of you to say, thank you!! It’s all kind of surreal, it hasn’t really hit me yet; maybe one day it will…but all the love is great.
DJL: During a live set you guys definitely have a awesomely different vibe – how much of it is a planned track and how much is improvisational jam?
O: The way we have it set up allows for a ton of freedom; it’s not just a DJ set where we are mixing 2 songs together. We have everything stemmed out in little tiny pieces which gives us a ton of control for song structure and how we want to take it in between tracks. So if we’re really diggin’ a piece and want it to repeat a few more times or want to try some new drums on a different song, I can try a new vocal track over a different track we’ve made or we can mix and match pieces of sound that we’ve produced to make something completely new and unique. We kind of allow “happy accidents” where we actually kind of screw up but it ends up working really well, we were like “oh wow, maybe we should just keep doing that”. So a lot of it is really free form in structure; we start with some of our tracks and then just jam on it.
DJL: can you recall a recent experience where a “happy accident” was your most fun on stage??
O: Decibel Festival here in Seattle. We accidentally mashed up some some tracks we didn’t plan; We mashed some vocal pieces over our newer beats and it came together quite well. It was a great show overall and the crowd had great energy I actually knocked my lap top off the table because I was jumping too much and getting too into it! laughs
DJL: Too into it? No such thing!! Haha
O: hahah I know right?! It was a fun show
DJL: I’ve seen your shows at Lightning in a Bottle 2013, then this year at Global Dance at Red Rocks, and Shambhala; as festival season comes to an end do you prefer a more intimate venue like the upcoming Fonda or Mezzanine or do you like a festival setting??
O: I personally would have the more intimate setting. We got our first chance to tour with Emancipator, who was absolutely crushing the west coast, we got to open for him and Little People..
O: …yeah; totally! It was an amazing experience. We played a lot of theaters including the mezzanine and we loved it, but I’ve never played the Fonda, I’m excited to check it out.
DJL: Now that you are the main draw with 7 or 8 sold out dates, how have the shows and the fans changed?
O: Yeah….it’s kind of weird, we draw such an eclectic crowd: from the heavy EDM kids to the more adult oriented music all the way to the girl pop crowd. We get people from all sides and it’s developed into something pretty interesting, and brings a wider group of people together which I am totally cool with. When we first started out with Emancipator we were really vibeing with that crowd, so it started that way. Then we toured with Pretty Lights, so we gained some more EDM fans and now it’s reached into what I can only call, “the girl crowd”. It’s a weird crowd for sure.
DJL: The weird crowd is becoming the “new normal” and might explain the insane buzz around the highly anticipated release of your new album next week.
With singles “Sun Models” “Memories That You Call” and “Say My Name” all climbing the charts, I feel it shows a maturity shift in dance music. With the new album, what story do you want the album to tell or what emotions are you trying to convey?
O: It’s definitely a little more low key than our other album and our live, more heavy hitting stuff. We experimented with totally new sounds and all new stuff; we featured quite a few new vocalists which is a completely new process for us. We just wanted to grow and try new things with this one, and I think it came out pretty well. I would say this is more of a headphone album, one that’s more personal and one you can really get lost in.. Not so much something you would play at a big house party; there are some tracks that work that way for sure, but it’s more individualized and meant to be more personal music.
DJL: Where did you personally draw inspiration from when producing the album?
O: We just got done doing a tour with some heavier EDM acts, and we kinda got over the heavy drop scene and wanted to go a different route – so we went about making some low key tracks, more atmospheric sounding stuff and a lot of the album came from those ideas.
DJL: I’ve seen your live show a few times, and it definitely has energy, but it’s incredibly thoughtful. You never know where it’s gonna go but it’s always right on time.
So, you said you prefer an smaller setting and only have a couple festival dates left this year. One of which is HARD Day of the Dead; which has a reputation for having a more eclectic mix of artists.. did that have anything to do with you guys choosing that one as opposed to other “big drop” festival?
O: Yes! It’s always been a dream of ours to play that one. Absolutely one of the favorites. We did the festival season this year and did some heavier stuff, but we kind of like to live in both worlds. Once this came up, we jumped at the offer to play Hard DoD, and then the album is our lower key, personal headphone music. But everything else now, aside from DoD & Holy Ship, is taking a back seat to the tour.
DJL: How has tour life been??
O: It has it’s pros and cons. It’s awesome going to cities and places I’ve never been and meeting new people, and playing shows is always a blast; but you start to miss home and get a little homesick. The road takes its toll, and lack of sleep all catches up to you after a while. But It’s definitely like no other experience and I’m so blessed to have this as my career.
DJL: Hell yeah man! Ok, let’s have some fun. I’m going to say a word or phrase and you say the first thing that comes to mind.
O: chuckles ok, let’s go.
O: Iconic. I grew up on his stuff and loved it
DJL: Room Service
O: Still expensive
DJL: Las Vegas
DJL: That’s awesome man. Thank you for your time. Is there a message you want your fans to hear?
O: Just that we love you all so much and thank you for the support and listening to our music.
For the Original Post, head over to The DJ List – and remember to snag