Odesza Talk The Future of Dance Music & Why Music Should Be Free
Odesza capped off a hugely successful tour which saw them take the world by storm on their In Return: World Tour and the remix album for 2014’s In Return that debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 100 for Electronic by adding a Grammy nomination to their resume for RAC’s remix of their smash hit “Say My Name” with vocalist Zyra.
The duo, consisting of Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, recently sat down with Rolling Stone for an interview which made for plenty of interesting sound-bytes.
The first topic that comes up is whether or not the US seems to be moving towards a more “intellectual” sound of electronic music, rather than the usual build up, drop-heavy EDM that more people are familiar with. Personally, I’d say that’s reflected in the sheer number of cities that were sold out for the In Return tour (I attended the Toronto show which was just jam-packed; and our EIC has seen them at HARD DOTD 2014, Coachella 2015, and HARD Summer 2015) and Clayton Knight seems to agree.
“I hope so. I hope we can go that way. And the future is bright. We love Sigur Rós and all that ambient kind of stuff. We’re big fans of that, so it’s a huge influence on us, and we love all those different elements and would love to kind of be the ambassadors, I guess, in the U.S. that would try to bring this into the U.S. crowd. Because there’s definitely a market for it, and people want to hear it.”
Moving on how they met, Clayton shares the incredibly spontaneous way that they first started making music together and how that manifested itself as their debut LP Summer’s Gone in 2012 – which they released for free.
“That was Summer’s Gone, basically — us dicking around in the basement of my house, in some shitty studio. It was a cool setup, though. A lot of creativity in that room.”
As advocates of free music, working with Counter Records a record label may seem counterintuitive, but to Harrison it was about finding a partner that understood Odesza’s vision for the future.
“It’s kind of like the way everything is changing. When we signed up with [Counter Records] it was something we talked about right away from the beginning. Like, ‘This is how we see music changing. If you’re on board with this, we think we should be a part of it rather than trying to fight it the whole time.’”
Knight also agrees that “streaming is the future” and that “youth these days, they don’t download.” Adding that, “they just have Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube. You can find anything and stream it. And the networks are so fast now, you have 4G everywhere.”
Would you describe Odesza as one of the pioneers in that “internet-savvy” group of producers who operate around that space? I’d certainly say so and so would Knight.
“It’s very true. It’s a new world out there. The whole streaming thing is changing everything. The record labels, this is all very new territory and they don’t really know how to handle it, how to approach it. So it’s uncharted territory. […] There’s a lot of old-school people, record labels in particular, who want to run it the way they’ve been running it for years.”
The future of electronic music looks to be extremely bright as music-makers start to figure out how to operate around the virtual space we know as the internet. Odesza has been ahead of the curve in that respect creating a “weird music world” in their own words, I don’t seem them slowing down at all through 2016.
Check out the full interview with Rolling Stone here for more insight into how they met, their fear of flying (which seems incompatible with having to do huge world tours), and even their special White House Tour!