ODESZA Talk Sundara Fest, New Live Set, & Inspiration For New Album [Exclusive Interview]

ODESZA Talk Sundara Fest, New Live Set, & Inspiration For New Album [Exclusive Interview]

If you’ve been following River Beats over the past two years, you know our love For ODESZA is Strong. With over 60 + articles published and thousands of video plays, the Seattle duo has dominated our airwaves. 

And how can you blame us? Their recent album, A Moment Apart, was one of the top albums of 2017 (of any genre); meanwhile, their live show has become legendary across the world. 

So, when the ODESZA boys venture to our home city of New Orleans to headline the 20th year of the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to finally sit down and talk Foreign Family, their recent Sundara festival announcement, and new directions for their music. Whether you love them or hate them, there is no denying the groups staying power! 

Check out our exclusive interview below.

River beats: Thanks for chatting with me today clay, and Welcome back to New Orleans! This is the 20th year of Voodoo, so to headline it for your first time must be a treat. 

Clay: I didn’t realize this was the 20th year; that’s incredible! We love New Orleans. It’s always a good time, especially during Voodoo. We are in and out this weekend, but I think we will have time to hang out in the city. Harrison had a quick trip to the doctor today, so it’s just going to be me chatting, but I promise to make it super interesting! 

Give him our best regards! lots of information to break down! It’s been three years since you guys were here in new Orleans. and if I remember correctly, it might’ve been the first time you guys ever dropped Loyal.”

It’s great to finally be back; crazy it’s been three years. And we absolutely remember that show! You probably heard the pre, pre-version of “Loyal.” I’m almost positive that’s the first time we played it out as well. That show kicked off our “In Return” tour.  

What a tour that was! so, Congrats on Sundara Fest first of all. how long has this been in the works, and why Mexico?

Well thank you so much, and it’s been really cool to finally launch it.

The idea of a Foreign Family/ODESZA festival has been in the works since the beginning of the project, but only in the past few years have we gotten really serious about it. You know Mexico came into play as we tried a few things domestically and they just didn’t work out. […] It’s definitely a new experience for us, never done anything destination oriented. We’ve been dreaming about it for some time now, and it was great to finally put it out into the world. 

I think it’s gonna be a fantastic opportunity for you guys to try new things with your fans, fans who know your work and appreciate your craft. 

Oh, we totally agree. We’re going to revamp our live set from what we’re doing now. It’s going to be an extended set with music we either haven’t played out in a long time or that we’ve actually never played out, which is very exciting in itself!

Wow, that is so exciting to hear! Being a long-time fan, the most exciting part about this announcement is three different ODESZA sets. Could you possibly give a little insight into what all three of these are about?

Yes! The downtempo set will be based around a special yoga class. We’re huge fans of ambient music, and we think that’s the perfect environment for that type of show. The plan is to have a pool party set that will be up-tempo in style. And then, our extended live set will feature some unique pieces. It’s a bit of work, but it’s something we’re really excited to create for our fans. This is something that may never happen again, so we understand how special we want this to turn out. 

I think your fans will greatly appreciate the effort. Do you guys see yourself moving into more Foreign Family style events down the road? Different locations, styles, artists, etc. 

Oh, absolutely. As the label grows and we move forward, we’re drawn to building these type of special events. We think something in the Northwest could be really fantastic; it’s our home, and we always love it out here. Maybe some one-day events domestically way down the road. We’re excited for Sundara, and think this will lead to many more opportunities for us and the label. 

I think the fans will be super appreciative of both Sundara and anything Foreign Family related in the future. 

We’ve been working on it for a long time, so we can’t wait for them to experience it.  I think we first need to get back into writing mode, take some time off (hopefully) and just work on our new album. With a new album could come plenty of new Foreign Family events. We’re really excited to go back to the lab and revamp things. From there, we can start a whole other side of the ODESZA project. 

In the past, you discussed A Moment Apart as a step forward for ODESZA.
you stated in a recent interview, “Our first album was about discovering our sound, and the second one was us trying to do something new with it and becoming more songwriters than instrumentalists, and this one was understanding what we do and trying to push it.” So with that being said, what is next for the story of ODESZA’s Sound and Music? 

In Return and A Moment Apart had a more pop realm to it, 

I think we’re going to return to the sounds we created in Summer’s Gone, a more instrumental way of approaching tracks. Maybe even a little bit weirder, pushing elements that we really haven’t pushed. Both AMA and In Return had tons of vocals, and I think we want to pull back on that and kind of experiment with music we’ve been thinking about for a long time. 

We want to build something new and unique, but still us. 

To hear you say “weird” and a return to Summer’s Gone makes me extremely happy. I’ve listened to that album a lot, and it’s such a classic, and in it’s prime it really created this new wave of live dance music. 

It’s kind of funny how it all works, to be honest. Over time, you end up building this new sound; and while it’s still us, you drift away from that older sound you first created. But now as these new projects are out into the world, we can go back and look at those albums and say what was so special about Summer’s Gone? We want to remember what it was like to write without any expectations. We think it’s time to get back to that mindset. 

That’s very refreshing to hear you talk about that process. You can clearly hear the evolution of your sound.

We’re really excited about it. 

Before shows, tours, and massive production, it was just two kids creating music in their basement. It was sort of this free-form style, and capturing that will be super special. I think fans will appreciate that process. 

Well since we’re discussing new music, how is that Tame Impala collab coming?

Haha, man – you just can’t force that kind of stuff. He’s on the other side of the world most of the time, so maybe something falls into place. If something comes up, we’ll totally jump on it. If it feels good and works out, we are down. Always open to that collab!

That makes sense; I know we would be excited to hear it!

Yeah, us too! Im sure it would sound wild. 

ODESZA has created such a unique community and fan base. there is an active Facebook group who would really love to say they appreciate what you guys do for your fans and the world in general. Just a thank you for sharing your music!

You guys have done such an incredible job, and we really feel the love. Our fans are amazing. We might need to pop into that group one day and say hello. 

Thanks for talking with River Beats today. we can’t wait to see you guys at Sundara! 

Oh always, thanks for having us! 

Recap ODESZA’s epic finish at this year’s Voodoo + Music & Arts Experience below!


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ITS ONLY LOVE x @odesza

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Photo: Roger Ho – Shot for the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience


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