ODESZA talks electronic takeover


Courtesy Tonje Thilesen

From left, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight met at Western Washington University and formed ODESZA to stand out from the indie music they were used to hearing.


Electronic duo ODESZA has made waves since forming in 2012 while its members, Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, also known as CatacombKid and BeachesBeaches, were attending Western Washington University in Seattle.

In the time span between its debut album Summer’s Gone and its most recent In Return, ODESZA’s fanbase has grown to include much of the world. The band has sold out North American and Australian tours and remixed songs for artists such as Sia, Charli XCX and RAC.

ODESZA is set to perform twice Nov. 21 at 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. at the Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave.

The Chronicle spoke with Knight about ODESZA’s origins, his favorite performance and the band’s upcoming Chicago stop.

THE CHRONICLE: What are the origins of ODESZA?

CLAYTON KNIGHT: We met our senior year in college through a mutual friend. There weren’t really a lot of people making electronic music up there; it was very folk- and indie-oriented. We bonded over that right away, tried to make a few songs and ended up making quite a few of them. Then we released an album, and it took off from there.

Where did the band’s name come from?

There’s a Caribou song we really liked that embodied the sound we were going for named “Odessa.” After doing some research, we found there’s a UK band, “Odessa,” as well as some other bands that actually had some pretty good followings, so we were like, “Scratch that, we can’t do that.” So, we threw a “Z” in it.

Did you expect ODESZA would become this popular?

No. When [Mills] and I started, it was like a little, fun side-project we would do after class. We thought maybe we’d get a good tour in or something like that before we had to go back and [work] day jobs.

What has been your favorite venue or festival to play?

Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado, we did not too long ago with Chromeo, and that was definitely one of my favorites. I love going home, [so] playing Seattle is a blast. We went to Sasquatch not too long ago, which was really fun. Those are the big ones.

What else do you do while touring?

It’s usually rehearsal dates or tweaking the set in some way, writing new music [and] doing interviews, so there is rarely any downtime. Any downtime is usually spent sleeping or trying to watch TV and decompress.

Do you have plans for future remixes?

We’ve done quite a few. I think we’re going to take a little break on remixes for right now and try to focus on writing our own material. Once this tour is over, we can hopefully get back in the studio for a bit.

What are your plans for after the tour?

We’ll have a couple more shows, and then we’re going to take a good amount of time off. We’ve basically been on the road for the past two and a half years off and on. It’ll be nice to take a break for a minute and then go back in the studio [to] start writing stuff for another album.

If you could tell your fans anything, what would it be?

I’d say a lot, but mainly, we are completely humbled by the love and support everyone has shown us and just happy to be able to do what we do. [I would] thank the fanbase for allowing us to do that, and hopefully we can supply more good music in the future and better shows.

What are you planning for Chicago?

We have two shows in Chicago. The first one sold out so fast, so we gave [Chicago] another one. I love the city. I haven’t been to the venue yet, so I’m excited to check that out and eat some good food as well. Chicago has some of the best restaurants in the world.