Odesza Talk The State Of Music Festivals And Their Collaborations

August 13, 2018

Photo by Marc Fong


Dallas got some time with Clay & Harrison of Odesza before their main stage set on day 1 of Outside Lands 2018. They discussed the ever-changing festival landscape, how their collaborations come about, and more.

Q: You just got back from playing Fuji Rock in Japan. What was that like and did you ever think you'd be at a level where you could go around the world and have people know your songs?

Harrison: It was crazy. We got some extra time in Tokyo so we got to feel it out a little bit. It was a pretty unique experience. Everyone was so nice and the city's amazing. The show went really well. We had no expectations because we'd never been over there, but we brought out the drumline, the full production and I think it went really well.

Clay: Japan was like a bucket-list moment. Whether or not music was a part of it. I've always wanted to go there. It was always kind of a dream & to be able to go there because of music made it even more exciting. I had a blast there. The festival itself was like the Coachella of Japan. N.E.R.D. actually played right before us on a different stage. *N.E.R.D. was currently performing on the main stage before Odesza at Outside Lands*

ODESZA DAY1️⃣ WHITE STAGE . --Masanori Naruse #fujirock #fujirockfestival #フジロック #odesza

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Q: Fuji Rock was another off of the list as you guys have played tons of festivals over the past few years. One that might be particularly close to your heart seems to be in jeopardy, Sasquatch in Washington.

Harrison: I don't think it's gonna happen anymore. They pretty much sent out a letter saying it's done. That was like my upbringing. We went to college at Western Washington University and that was something I did every year.

Clay: That might've been our first festival we ever played.

Q: Do you think we'll start seeing less festivals now?

Clay: The bubble is bursting a little bit. Not in a massive way, but so many people are starting festivals now and it's really difficult to stand out because they can be such a money-making thing everyone's kind of going for it.

Harrison: Yeah, and Sasquatch they tried to do the two-weekend thing right after Coachella started doing it and they were like "we can do it, too!" Since they had to cancel that second weekend it's just been a steady decline. It's a shame because the setting there is insane.

Q: It doesn't get much more beautiful than the Gorge for a place to enjoy live music.

Thank you ❤️

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Harrison: Seriously. Maybe it wasn't the best time of year (late May) because it can rain, but with everyone being from Seattle no one cares about that. 

Clay: The Seattle-defining music scene was a lot around Sasquatch.

Harrison: I remember seeing M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, some of the defining acts of my upbringing.

Q: You do still have Bumbershoot in Seattle, at least.

Harrison: Bumbershoot's great, too. It's a little different, cause you're not camping.

Q: It's in the middle of the city, right?

Clay: Yeah, you're in a football stadium.

Harrison: They use Key Arena for one stage and the stadium where the University of Washington plays football and that's kind of the main stage. I remember seeing Kanye there right before he blew up. That had to be six, or seven years ago. 

Q: Well, damn, at least that one's still around. You've got love for so many artists like the ones you've already mentioned, but how does an Odesza collaboration come about? Are you both like "we need Zyra on this track" or "We've gotta get Leon Bridges!"? or do you just get an e-mail from someone and you're like, "OK, sure, let's do it."

Clay: I think a lot of it is targeted. For the most part a lot of who we're going for are people who have no idea who we are. A lot of people gave us a big chance, which is great. I think a lot of the time we're into so many different kinds of music and we've tried to write with people who live in more of an electronic space and usually it just goes in a direction we're not really for, so we just find people we think we can make something cool with. It doesn't work all the time, but when it does then it's something really special. We love to cross genres and blend things together that maybe shouldn't work, but find a way. That's usually where something rare comes from.

Q: I was reading that you guys would like to collab with Kevin Parker of Tame Impala.

Clay: Definitely.

Harrison: We're big fans.

Q: Arctic Monkeys said the same thing this week.

Clay: He's on the new Travis Scott record, he's got something with Rihanna going on. He's got a lot going on.

Q: Have you started thinking about the next record yet?

Clay: We've been thinking about new music. Not really a record. We're kind of ready to reinvent ourselves again. Take time without a goal in mind & just try new music. The best stuff we've ever made was us just goofing around in a basement when we first met. We want to get back to that place, without pressure, and try to find sounds we really enjoy.

Harrison: Being on the road, writing is such a thing where you've gotta practice it. So, when you're on the road you don't have the opportunity to be in that mindset everyday so we'll have to go back and basically relearn how to write again, which can take a while.

Q: We'll take whatever we can get whenever you're ready to give us something new. On a completely different tip, what's the mascot for Western Washington University?

Harrison: They don't have a football team anymore. Actually, while we were there the football team got cut. We were the Vikings.

Q: OK. I have a weird thing with college mascots where if you tell me them I don't forget them.

Clay: Every once in a while in the weirdest places all over the world someone will say "Go Vikings!" to us, which is pretty hilarious.

Q: You see now why that knowledge can come in handy. Thank you guys for coming back to Outside Lands!

Harrison: Thank you, man.

-------- . . . --: @jbajsel

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