The chill, synth-driven band Odesza started just three years ago when its core members graduated from Western Washington University, but the group has graduated to a main stage at Sasquatch!
When Odesza takes the El Chupacabra stage at Sasquatch! Saturday (May 23), it will do so as a much different act than the one that played the festival two years ago.
Then, the Seattle band’s live show was little more than Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight working their turntables and laptops. The music was smart and danceable, but Mills and Knight said they knew they could deepen their connection with the audience by expanding their show.
“We’ve always wanted to incorporate more live instrumentation as a way to add more to the set,” Mills said. “Now that we’re a bit bigger in size and doing our own shows, we can have the show we want.”
3:40 p.m. Friday, May 22, through midnight Monday, May 25, at the Gorge Amphitheatre, Quincy, Grant County. Sold out.
Odesza has been proving that the show they envision includes a flair for the dramatic. At Coachella last month, the band invited the University of Southern California drum line to help open their set, and their regular act now includes live instruments and singers.
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“It definitely changes the vibe,” Mills said. “We’ve been going for a more energetic, dramatic feel to our sets, and these elements definitely help that. We want to continue doing something like this, up to the point we have a full orchestra up there. The sky’s the limit.”
While the Washington State University drum line probably won’t come marching in with Odesza, there will still be plenty of outsize thrills at Sasquatch! what with Kendrick Lamar, Ryan Adams, Lana Del Rey, Robert Plant, Modest Mouse and Sleater-Kinney set to play the four-day festival that runs Memorial Day Weekend, May 22-25.
In some respects, it’s a wild notion to think Odesza will be sharing the celebration with these huge names. It was only three years ago that Mills and Knight formed the band, shortly before graduating from Western Washington University in 2012. Thanks to “Say My Name,” off 2014’s “In Return,” they’ve got a huge hit and a wave of momentum that’s carrying them through the summer festival circuit.
“Life hasn’t changed too much,” Knight said of the group’s swift success. “The crowds have gotten bigger, but we’re still hanging out with the same people. You’re in like, a bubble when you’re on the road. Hopefully in the near future we can sit back and take it all in. It’s all pretty surreal right now.”
The surreal summer will keep marching on for Odesza, who are set to travel to Germany, Montenegro and Hungary, but first have Sasquatch!, which for Mills is special.
“Sasquatch is probably our favorite festival,” Mills said. “It was actually the first festival I ever went to when we played it in 2012. It’s always got such an interesting lineup, and they’re so good at supporting local acts. It’s such an honor to be on the list.”