Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills, who make up the DJ duo Odesza, bring an eclectic mix of influences to the turntable.
The Seattle-based musicians blend glittering IDM beats with melodious samples and vocals with dizzying dexterity. The pair released their first album, Summer’s Gone, in 2012, which garnered a great deal of notoriety in the underground electronic scene, but they quickly achieved mainstream success with the releases of 2014’s In Return, and their most recent effort A Moment Apart. They are veterans of the festival circuit, having brought their high-energy sets to stages at Outside Lands, Coachella and Bonaroo.
Knight and Mills will also wrap up the inaugural Lost Lake Festival at Steele Indian School Park on Sunday, October 22. They admit that serving as the festival’s finale is a bit daunting, even for a seasoned act. But Odesza never fails to keep audiences on their toes, whether it’s with live instruments, lighting, visuals or new music.
“Theres a certain expectation to perform a great show, but we kind of treat every show, especially when we’re touring, like we’re closing out on a big main stage,” Knight says. “For this one in particular, there are a bunch of new surprises currently lined up. I don’t want to give too much away but we definitely spent a lot of time working on it and we’re really excited for it. It’s definitely got a lot of moving pieces and it should be quite the show.”
According to Knight, the duo has developed a new catalog of unreleased music that they’ve been building specifically for their Lost Lake set.
“We have a bunch of new production. We revamp a lot of our older songs; basically we remix them to be completely new songs and we’re playing a lot of songs that we’ve never played out before from the album,” Mills adds.
The new album, released last month, includes more orchestral and cinematic elements, the result of the pair’s extensive pre-studio research of movie scores and soundtracks. Mills notes Philip Glass, Ennio Morricone and Jóhann Jóhannsson as some of their biggest influences.
“We’ve been fans of film scores for a really long time. When we were coming back after touring (for In Return), it was just something we fell back on and we loved,” he says. “We always go back to things we really love and try to find why we make music in the first place when we start working on a big project. That was something we always wanted to try, so we felt like it was a good time to experiment in that field.”
A Moment Apart could be considered Odesza’s coming-of-age album, a sonic retrospection on how they’ve evolved as musicians while maintaining the integrity of their sound. Mills says the album is a microcosm of Odesza’s exploration of modern music while simultaneously staying true to the classics.
“It’s trying to find that balance between not completely alienating your audience and people that have grown to love the things you’ve made but also pushing yourself to try to do something really new,” he says. “It’s us kind of being more internal and trying to develop the sound we’ve created and trying to expand on it and evolve with it and really grow.”
The blend of orchestral and electronic elements will lend themselves well to Odesza’s Lost Lake set. Though much of their music is inherently introverted and mellow, Knight and Mills aim to create an atmosphere that will translate well to an energetic festival crowd.
“We really want it to be this big, theatrical production,” Mills says. “We spent a lot of time thinking about building these moments throughout our set that are like place markers for where we want people to be… We work really hard to make it this big, epic performance and hopefully people are along for the ride. You never really know what to expect until you’re feeding off the energy of the crowd around you.”
Knight says that energy is one of his favorite parts of the experience, something that keeps the duo grounded in an industry that is often looked at as disillusioning.
“The more and more we perform and the more we see the music connecting with the audience… it’s a pretty humbling experience,” he says. “We’re just really honored and humbled to be a part of it.”
Lost Lake Music Festival, Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, Friday, October 20 to Sunday, October 22, $89.50-$239.50.