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City of Trees 2018: A Moment with Odesza


Sacramento will celebrate its fourth annual City of Trees music festival this Saturday, September 22, with Chvrches, Bastille and Odesza at the top of the bill. With big names guaranteed to keep things fresh, local acts such as Arden Park Roots, Zephyr and Robbie & Blue will also be on hand to infuse the city’s spirit into the festival.

As excitement comes for the show, we caught up with Clayton Knight, one half of Washington’s production duo Odesza, for a candid conversation following an exciting year for the group. While Saturday’s performance will not be the group’s first time in Sacramento, it will definitely be their biggest spectacle in the City of Trees.

The group is famously known for its live shows and innovative use of space and sound. Earlier this year, the two producers pulled off one of the greatest performances at Coachella, which featured a guest performance from Leon Bridges, their celebrated drum line, brass section and hundreds of drones choreographed with LED lights to form Odesza’s trademark symbol across the sky. Looking back at that performance, Knight considers it a milestone in their career.

“That was the moment I mean we’ve never been more nervous in our life to go do that set because there were so many moving pieces – to have that go right felt really good,” said Knight. “We spend a ridiculous amount of time fine tuning and getting the visuals, the lighting productions, the audio, everything, to sit in the right place and keep the show flow feeling really good.”

For the amount of time and creativity it takes to prepare something of this caliber, Odesza has seen its due diligence pay off over the last year. Just last week, the world was surprised, including Knight and his partner Harrison Mills, when Apple’s latest keynote speech featured one of the group’s long-anticipated singles “Loyal.” While the song has been getting snuck into their sets for a few years, Knight admittedly felt anxious to see if the song would get picked up by Apple.

“Apple saw our Coachella set and they were like, ‘please send us this track, we’d love to try and work with it,'” said Knight. “You know we didn’t even know it was gonna come through till like the very end, so like the day it was released. That’s kind of how Apple works.”

Since releasing their Grammy-nominated album ‘A Moment Apart’ in 2017, Odesza has been touring the world and conquering the electronic music circuits, while beginning to tap into other markets and becoming a highlight at every music festival they grace.

“We love shows that show dynamic, you know, you need that avid flow, you need the down parts to make the big parts feel big,” said Knight. “Especially today, the attention span of a lot of people is pretty short. A DJ set will be changing songs every 30 seconds so we gotta find ways – especially when we’re playing our own music – we gotta find ways to keep the fans engaged and to do that you gotta keep things, you know, always moving, always thriving and breaking down and building all these special moments.”

Special indeed. When one of the world’s leaders in communication innovation asks to collaborate with one of the leaders in music innovation, at a time when all of these novelties affect so many people at an instant, we seem to have reached the point where Odesza’s “Intro” from ‘A Moment Apart,’ which samples a scene from the film “Another Earth,” becomes the intro to a project that highlights the essence of new frontiers. As the old graphics design student (Mills) and physics student (Knight) have fused their idiosyncrasies into Odesza’s music, being a fan of Odesza should never feel complete without seeing a live set.

“A lot of the stuff we’re doing, you know, none of us have done before and a lot of other people haven’t done,” said Knight. “So it’s, you know, you gotta figure out how to do it and when I was doing those hard studies, having the discipline to like keep going, to keep trying stuff and keep pushing through those hard times and then finally you kind of get on top of it – that’s been a big part of [Odesza.]”

For more information on City of Trees music festival, visit CityofTrees.com

For more information on Odesza and their current tour, visit Odesza.com

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About the author

Cesar Alexander

Cesar Alexander

Cesar Alexander is assistant editor for Sacramento Press. A native to California, he enjoys writing and discovering the varieties of art, live music, nature and everyday wonders the Sacramento region has to offer.

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