Odesza to perform this Saturday in Chicago


By Alice Smelyansky

The Daily Illini: What are the influences you and Harrison draw upon?

Clayton Knight: Yeah well we have a wide range of different influences. We listen to a lot of stuff from world music, to soul music, to heavy electronic music … We’re all over the map. I mean really it comes like a day-to-day basis. You know whatever we’re feeling… It’s just kind of what’s going on in my head at the moment and what we’re listening to at the time.

DI: Your U.S. tour is selling out, and it’s clear that you guys really resonate with college-aged students. Why do you think that is?

CK: I’m not sure. Me and Harrison are nearly the same age as a lot of you kids. I think the sound, it’s got a unique vibe, it’s a little new. It’s something the kids are looking for. I’m not sure what aspect of the sound that is. I think it’s a little bit of a pop element, but it also incorporates a lot of different sounds and instrumentation. So I think the combination of the pop world with all this cool, exotic instrumentation creates a unique style, and I think people really connect with that.

DI: Who were some of the artists that you were listening to in college?

CK: When I was in college, I was listening to a lot of weird stuff. Probably a lot of stuff you’ve never heard of. A lot of it was European…maybe you’ve heard of M83, I’m a huge fan of him. Animal Collective, I was a big fan of and still am a fan of … I could go on for days.

DI: So you guys aren’t that much older than the audiences you perform for. Do you ever look out into the audience when you’re on stage and wonder how you got here?

CK: I’ve never thought of that. It is kind of a weird process. It’s been a short amount of time. But we’ve just been working so hard, and we just try to get in the music world, doing shows and try to make people happy. I haven’t really thought about how we got here, just kind of doing it one day at a time.

DI: What are some of the thoughts that run through your mind before you get on stage?

CK: I’m usually pretty excited. I used to get pretty nervous, that’s kind of faded, I’ve gotten better at it. But I used to be scared, super scared to go out there because I’m not a public-speaking person by any means. Over the years I’ve gotten better at it. I’m usually just pretty relaxed, just kind of hanging backstage with the friends and getting excited about the show.

DI: How did you deal with your nerves?

CK: There were different ways of dealing with it, not all of them the healthiest way … but I stopped doing that. It was just kind of a matter of time, and overcoming it and breathing, relaxing a little bit.

I used to not even look at the crowd. I would just have my head down because I was too scared to look at what people were doing. But that’s gotten a lot better now. I like interacting with the crowd now, I love seeing them, talking with them and seeing everyone have a good time.

DI: You obviously still have a lot of time to leave your mark on the music world, but if there had to be one thing you wanted to leave, what would it be?

CK: Wow, yeah that’s a tough one. I’m not sure if there’s any one thing I could even pinpoint. I think we just want to make music we really want to make. And I hope we are able to keep doing that. A lot of artists reach a point with a lot of people telling them what songs to write and how to write them … and they kind of lose control of their creative edge that got them there in the first place. So I hope we can retain that throughout our career.

DI: Did you ever see yourself at a day job after graduation?

CK: Me and Harrison started this project knowing that it was just a hobby after class and maybe we’d go on a tour, do some shows, have some cool stories. And then once that ended, we’d go back to doing whatever we were going to do before … but the shows kept coming, more and more people kept listening and we just kept doing it. So we definitely did not see any of this.

DI: So you guys will be performing in Chicago this Saturday. What can audiences who go to the show anticipate to see?

CK: We got a lot of new music. A whole bunch of new production. So it’ll be pretty much a new show. A lot of people may have seen us before, but it’ll be a lot of new things going on, so look forward to that.

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