Yesterday in the Baeble offices, we were having a conversation about electropop act ODESZA
. If you aren't familiar with ODESZA, you've missed the nascent dance/pop/EDM hybrid scene that acts like M83, Chvrches, and Purity Ring have turned into one of the most popular fronts in contemporary music. And for the last three years, few acts have made a bigger splash than ODESZA. Hailing from Seattle, the producer duo (Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight) take the shuffling trip-hop of Purity Ring and pair it to more rapturously ecstatic dance-hall beats. If Purity Ring tracks like "Fireshrine" are a Molly-tinged shot of endorphins right to the brain, ODESZA is the same but to your hips and your ass cause you can't hear these tracks without wanting to shake both of those.
ODESZA came up in our office chat because the pair just released their latest music video, "It's Only" featuring vocalist Zyra (who I initially mistook for Purity Ring's Megan James ironically enough). The video itself is ambitious...think the bleak woodlands of The Revenant
with a touch of Malick and just a bit of riot punk. But even though the video is new, it's interesting to return to the track off of last year's In Return
which more than stands up in its own right.
The particular topic of the office conversation was whether or not ODESZA were on the verge of dethroning M83 as the kings of that particular electro-pop scene. Our CEO says yes. I'm a little more skeptical, but when you listen to "It's Only" or something like "All We Need" from In Return
, it's not complicated to understand why these guys have been dominating the conversation as of late. Here are two musicians synthesizing some of the most adventurous elements of more boundary-pushing electropop with an ear for what it is that will actually get young people out on the dance floor or in a festival crowd to unceremoniously lose their shit and dance like crazy, and they do this without dumbing down the genre to basic dubstep or lazy DJ beats.
Speaking of festivals, in the last two years, ODESZA have become mainstays on the festival circuit. If you want to know how young bands get twenty-somethings/teenagers to evangelize their music and their live shows, you put on a hell of a live show at a festival and you've got thousands of people singing your praise for the rest of the summer. And if you're skeptical of that claim, just ask one of our writers who saw them at Firefly last year and then saw them again at Terminal 5
. That sort of word of mouth isn't accidental. ODESZA have been clawing their way to the top of this mountain, and will 2016 be the year they take the throne?