ODESZA DJ talks physics, Cheetos, EDM

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Electronic DJ Duo ODESZA will bring their signature sound to Occidental as the headliners of the Fall Fest concert on Oct. 31. Composed of DJs Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, the band formed in 2012 and has since released two albums, “Summer’s Gone” (2012) and “In Return” (2014). Their music features atmospheric vibes and eclectic beats perfect for grooving, as evident in popular singles “Say My Name” and “Sun Model.” In honor of the upcoming show, The Occidental Weekly talked to Knight to learn more about ODESZA’s rapid ascent into the electronic music scene.

Q: Why is the band named ODESZA?

A: We originally wanted to name the band Odessa, but after an internet search we found out there was already a U.K. hardcore screamo band with that name. We went with ODESZA instead. We just liked how it looked.

Q: How did the band form?

A: [Mills and I] met in college. I was living with a mutual friend I knew in high school, and we started hanging out through him. We discovered we liked to make the same kind of music, and sort of ran with it from there.

Q: You both graduated from Western Washington University. What were your majors or post-graduation plans?

A: Music was not always in mind, just a hobby. I studied physics, Harrison majored in design. I was planning on going to grad school at the University of Washington. I might go back, but for right now we’re having fun touring.

Q: The band has gained success in a short amount of timehow has the transition been? What do you attribute most to your recognition as an up-and-coming EDM duo?

A: It’s been good. We’re kind of dealing with a big tour, but things have been going pretty smooth. The online community has been really good to us and has really helped us reach a wider audience. The explosion is kind of what got people listening. People have just received us really well.

Q: What is your funniest tour story?

A: Recently after a show in Madison, Wis., we sneaked into a blocked-off area and took pictures. We got caught by the cops and tried to hide, but they were actually really nice about it.

Q: Who or what are your musical inspirations?

A: Any weird electronic music. We’re big fans of Tycho, Ta-ku, Flying Lotus, Bonobo, Four Tet, Animal Collective, Teebs and the list goes on.

Q: What is your favorite city or venue you have played at so far?

A: The Fonda Theatre in L.A. Brooklyn was a good time. We just played the Ogden Theater in Denver, that was really awesome.

Q: Do you have any upcoming album release plans?

A: We have some remixes coming out that we’re pumped about. We’re just writing simple stuff now and figuring it out.

Q: Any favorite things about L.A. in particular?

A: The weather is awesome, the music scene is incredible, but I hate the traffic.

Q: Do you have any pre-show or Halloween rituals? Should we expect you guys to dress up?

A: No Halloween pre-show rituals, but we are currently figuring out costumes.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents or guilty pleasures?

A: I used to be really good at lacrosse and ice hockey, and I play a lot of piano. Harrison used to draw really well. As for guilty pleasures, I’m a sucker for chip food like Fritos or Cheetos.

Q: What are you looking forward to about playing at Occidental?

A: I’m excited to check it out. I have a couple of friends who went there, but they’ve graduated already.

Q: What do you hope students will take away from the performance?

A: We try to bring a lot of energy to the show. We just hope people will enjoy the music.

Q: Any last words for your fans at Occidental?

A: Thanks for having us there! We have two albums out, check them out, thank you to everyone for coming out as well. We look forward to playing.

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