Seattle duo Odesza chat to us about their newly announced record A Moment Apart and share two new tracks - "Meridian" and RY X collab "Corners Of The Earth".
Odesza are a duo with a story. Named after the band's Harrison Mill's Uncle's sunken vessel, Mills and cohort Clayton Knight have been defying expectation and genre with their own twist on anthemic, cinematic electronica rooted in sonic exploration and the pushing of boundaries.
Earlier this year Odesza released AA-side "Late Night" / "Line Of Sight", a taste of their highly anticipated third studio album featuring the likes of Regina Spektor, Leon Bridges, and Mansionair.
We caught up with Knight and talked homegrown record labels, sinking ships, and the new wave of electronic music.
What was the inspiration behind your new album?
We definitely wanted to retain some of our old sound. This one definitely has a bit more of a cinematic and epic feel to it, there are some darker tones as well. We are essentially trying to go for something a bit bigger and a bit more grand. We studied quite a lot of film scores when writing this album.
Do you have any specific examples?
Nothing too specific. I loved the Inception score. We kind of just sat down and listened to the darker ones just to get in that head space and to try and bring it into our world. We wanted to take some of the scary/foreboding elements and balance it out with our sound but keep the epic feel that they captured as much as possible.
How did the album process differ from Summers Gone and In Return?
It wasn’t too different from In Return. Like In Return we started with some blanket ideas and demos then build on what we think has some potential and who we think should be doing the top line then reach out to them. It was just a little more organised on this record, a little more together overall.
What was it like working with Regina Spektor, Leon Bridges, RY X and all the other contributors to the album?
It was good. We’ve been a fan of all of the contributors for quite a long time. Working with Regina was actually my all-time dream and it is kind of a funny story about how it all came together. We sent her this simple demo a long time ago and she said she had written something for it but didn’t want to send it to us, she wanted to perform it for us. So, she was playing in Seattle one day and said "come over to the hotel and I will play you what I’ve been working on". Usually we do this all very remotely, we don’t usually meet the other artists until it is all finalised. So, we went over to the hotel and she played it to us on a laptop and we were just blown away by it. We actually went back in to the demo and tried to mimic the feeling we got when we heard her do it, we stripped down the production and tried to let her vocal shine a bit more and capture the energy.
Do you have any favourite tracks from the record?
The Leon track is definitely one of my favourites. It is such a throwback and just awesome overall. We used a basically undiscovered artist on one song and she wrote an amazing top line, it was beautiful. I love them all. Between Leon, "Higher Ground" [featuring Naomi Wild], and a couple of instrumentals... those are my favourites. I can’t get them out of my head!
Why did you decide to bring out "Line Of Sight" and "Late Night" at the same time?
We actually spent a while figuring out what to release and how to do it. We figured it had been so long since we released anything that either track by itself wouldn’t have had the same effect as when they are together. They inhabit two different worlds but I think they complement each other at the same time. I think that was the big reasoning by having a double release. It worked really well in my eyes because they balanced each other out a little bit and I think this is how we are going to release stuff from now on. The single is old school for us now, it’s all about the double!
Leading from that, you are quite a visually and sonically striking band. Do you have difficulty reciprocating your sound and your image live?
It is always a challenge. The live show is something we are working on all the time so I mean as soon as we got the album done we went straight on to the live album. This album has this epic, cinematic feel that I think our live show will benefit from. We have built some new production that will mimic theatrical experiences and bring cool orchestra moments to give the audience something very unique.
Alongside your musical output you run a record label called Foreign Family Collective? Tell us a little bit about that.
When we were first starting to produce, we were finding all these incredibly talented kids on Soundcloud and we were sharing music together and all kind of coming up at the same time. We had all these incredible artists but we knew they had no outlet for their music so it was an opportunity to use some of our success to give these guys a platform because we really enjoyed what they were doing and they deserved a force out there. That’s how it started. With the album going the way it has and in the midst of writing our new show the label is kind of taking a back seat but once things get rolling this fall we will have a little more time to put back some energy into it.
Finally, who do you think is carrying the electronic music banner at the moment?
You know it was an Australian scene last year with Flume winning the Grammy, definitely Australia and Future Classic lives pretty close to the cutting edge sound but I think the demise of Soundcloud and other streaming platforms has left this gap in the scene. No one really knows what the next thing is. There’s not a clear leader or sound being developed as it was like a year or two years ago with the rise of pop bass music. I think hopefully some of the stuff we release can spark a new wave of electronic music and try to get people into some new space and into some new territory. I think people are ready for something new and exciting.