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BONA2018 | Best Live Act: ODESZA

Best Of North America 2018

Despite being named after a sunken sea vessel, ODESZA is still floating high on festival flyers around the globe. In 2017, members Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight set off on a 40-date world tour in support of their third studio album, ‘A Moment Apart’, wowing audiences with a unique live show that incorporates the use of a six-member drumline, entrancing visuals, theatrical elements and dynamic lighting. The result is a cinematic experience that breaks the mold of traditional electronic performance. Recently, the duo housed a coveted main stage slot at Coachella, playing just before headliner Eminem – a spot they claim they were both surprised and delighted to fill. 

While ODESZA’s powerfully layered productions earned them numerous nominations at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018 (including a nomination for ‘A Moment Apart’ in the category of Best Dance/Electronic Album and Best Dance Recording for the album’s single ‘Line Of Sight’), it’s easy to see why the Washington-based pair is referred to more often as an electronic band than a DJ duo (though they’ve been known to play a fire DJ set for afterhours).

Mills and Knight met while attending Western Washington University, but didn’t begin collaborating until late in their senior year. Though the two were consumed by different academic pursuits (Mills had a knack for math and physics, while Knight spent his time behind a computer focusing on graphic design), it was ultimately their affinity for music that would shape their post-college career paths. Their love of movie scores and the work of composers like Philip Glass can be felt in their expansive, chill-bass productions which are highly instrumental and impeccably paced.

“We think of our albums as being personal and introspective headphone music, so our biggest challenge is turning that into a live show that is communal and celebratory, while still retaining some of those intimate moments from the original recordings,” Mills and Knight share. “We’re continuously re-working our own music, and collaborating with our team to create an immersive, cinematic experience with layers of visuals and live instrumentation.” Anyone who has seen the duo perform live can confirm that the experience is far more than that of a traditional listening party – it’s a multi-sensory journey brimming with raw, heart-gripping emotion from beginning to end.

ODESZA’s wildly successful ‘A Moment Apart’ tour has been extended into 2018, sending the longtime friends on the road toward more major events like New York City’s Panorama (the East Coast sister of Coachella) and Firefly Festival in Dover, DE.

WORDS: MEGAN VENZIN

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