Harrison Mills

How did you and Clayton meet?
In college, we had a mutual friend who he lived next door in the dorms and moved in with Clay. Senior year, we exchanged music and decided to make project out of it.

What’s the story behind the name, ODESZA?
This is a super anticlimactic story. I know I bum everyone out when they ask. Odessa is the name of a Caribou song and also a city in Ukraine. We wanted to use the name but we looked it up and there is a scream-o black metal band. [Laughs] That’s why we added the Z.

What did you study at Western Washington University?
Graphic design across different mediums.

And what type of music did you listen to growing up?
It wasn’t until the end of high school that I fell in love with music. Gorillaz definitely introduced me to a weirder sound.

Do you remember your first live set?
Before ODESZA, I performed under my own moniker [Catacombkid], I opened up for Blockhead. I was so nervous that I asked friends to listen to my music for two weeks prior to the set.

Tell us about How Did I Get Here.
It was one of our first songs that we made. We were in Clay’s basement and I had a very old rough loop of a harp sample. It’s just jamming different tunes over that sample. You know, it’s a song that we spent the least time making but it became a favorite. Regarding the actual meaning, just listen to the lyrics. It’s all there.

How was the experience working with Madelyn Grant on Sun Models?
She was awesome. We actually made that song over a year ago. It was one of the first songs we made when Summer’s Gone was finished. In terms of working with Madelyn, we put out an open request online for singers. Her vocal chords blew us away, so we all worked very well together.

Since we’re on the topic of collaborating, who are some artists you’d love to work with in the future?
It’s easier to pick a genre and pick a person [from there]. With hip-hop, I’d say Q-Tip. For more ambient sounds, Brian Eno or Jon Hopkins. In terms of producers, I’d have to say Ta-ku.

What’s a day in the life of Harrison?
I wake up, but slowly because I’m terrible in the morning. I answer 500 emails or so. Usually, Clay and I meet up and try to accomplish a list of things each day. Later, after we’ve figured out what to do the next day, we split off our separate ways. I meet with friends, eat, and skateboard. The bottom line is that music is basically my life. [Laughs]

If you could only eat one or two dishes, which would you choose?
Ramen or pad thai forever.

What have been some of your favorite memories on tour?
There have been times when we expected for something to go bad or be lame because, for example, we are playing on a Monday night in the middle of nowhere. One really great performance was Sasquatch! Festival in Washington. It  had always been one of our dreams to play there. We got to open for Disclosure and Toro y Moi. It started raining and since we had the dance tent, everyone came to our set. I remember looking out and thinking, “Holy shit.”

Where would you like to perform, location-wise?
I’ve never been to Europe. In fact, I’ve never been outside of Canada for more than a day.

What is an unchecked item on your bucket list?
Down the road, it’d be cool to score a film or run a label.

Name some Twitter accounts you recommend everyone check out.
Blockhead is a hilarious person.  Baths is pretty funny. I basically just follow producers I think are funny.

What’s your least favorite form of exercise?
I don’t like simply running in place. I like doing a sport or accomplishing a goal like running through the city. The treadmill is pretty boring to me.

What’s one location you ran through that was particularly special?
We ran through Yale‘s campus. Everything was really old and beautiful.

In your iTunes account, what are some artists we might not expect for you to have?
I have a lot of Ennio Morricone. He did a lot of old films and western classics like The Dollars trilogy. He scored every type of movie. I also listen to a lot of composers like Philip Glass, who scored The Truman Show.

Speaking of movies, what’s your favorite film to date?
In terms of recent movies, I loved Drive. Her was brilliant too.

Do you have a favorite beer?
I don’t drink that much beer. I prefer whiskey. I’ll usually just take whatever is handed to me though. I’m going to have to cop out and name my favorite whiskey: Four Roses.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?
When I was 14, I wanted to be a cartoonist and thought I would become one until the sophomore year of college.

And to close, do you follow any TV shows?
I watch Netflix, but who doesn’t these days? I would say that True Detective and House of Cards are must-see shows. They’re addicting as hell, but you’re missing out if you haven’t started watching.


For more of ODESZA’s work, check out their Soundcloud.