Odesza is Seattle production duo Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight. The two beat-makers met while both were students at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Each was forging an individual musical path -- Mills making music under the moniker Catacombkid, and Knight as BeachesBeaches – when their paths first crossed. And even though they didn’t immediately join forces, it wasn’t long before they were holed up in Knight’s Bellingham basement, putting a diverse array of sonic puzzle-pieces together.
The result is the self-released/free LP, Summer’s Gone, which they describe as "sun trickled melodies, glitched-out vocals, crunchy drums and large, sweeping bass lines."
The pair will be at the Belly Up on Sunday night, opening up for fellow Pacific Northwest beat maestro Emancipator, but they recently took some time to speak with SoundDiego before heading out on tour.
Scott McDonald: Are you guys surprised by all of this?
Clayton Knight: Yeah. Defintely. We sort of expected that a niche market might dig our stuff. But in no way did we expect what we got.
Harrison Mills: The whole thing is completely f---ing surreal. We never expected this. The response has been good and we’re just riding along with it.
SM: How did it all get started?
HM: We both were doing it for fun originally. We didn’t have really have plans beyond that. But then we were introduced through a mutual friend that also made music. We said something like, ‘We should collaborate sometime,’ but it just never happened naturally. Then, just through luck, we were at the same place at the same time and ended up banging out three songs together. And that’s when we realized we should work on an entire project together.
SM: Where was the common ground when you guys first met?
CK: We had very similar loves of music. From old '50s, to tribal to all the way to the new beat scene, we had very similar tastes. I don’t think our individual styles were as matched as much as our musical influences.
HM: We’re both just huge music nerds. We’re always trying to show each other something that they’ve never heard before.
SM: Was it always the plan to take it beyond the studio?
HM: Our goal was always to play shows. It was a bit of naïve idea. We had no idea how much work it was going to be to do that. But when we started, it was about making an album that we could play for our friends and have them dance, but could also be a headphone album. We wanted to make songs that you could play at the party, but also listen to it on the bus on the way home.
SM: Well, it seems like so far, so good, right?
CK: I think that we’re just trying to make as much music as fast as we can and we’re a bit numb to all that’s happening at this point. We’re in the studio all the time, but it’s completely crazy.
HM: You just need to rise above the noise. That’s the nature of the music industry these days. There are just so many great artists, and so much great music, you need to try and be unique when you put your music out there.
SM: Are you still consuming as much music as ever?
HM: We just try to get as broad of a perspective as possible and then get that to reflect in the music. The wider the variety of sounds we have, and the more we have to draw from in the library, makes it better. And then we make music that we like from all of those influences.
SM: What would you guys be doing if this didn’t take off the way it did?
CK: We’d both probably be back in school or working a day job. But we’re young. And this is a shot at something, so we figure we might as well jump at it. But we love making music and designing sound. We’d do it regardless. That’s why we started it all in the first place.
SM: What’s next?
HM: We’ve talked about it. And we’re not going to do the same thing again. That’s pointless. We want everything to sound as good as it can possibly sound. And it’s great because we’re learning more and more about mixing and mastering. We’re trying to grow as musicians and mature our sound.