If you’re a fan of electronic music, you’re gonna want to be filled in on BRONSON.
Although don’t be fooled by the brand-new name on the block – this is an artist you probably already know. BRONSON is the moniker for an electronic supergroup that combines the talents of Seattle duo ODESZA and Sydney producer Golden Features, forming a new sound filled with a spirit that both exhibits and expands on each other’s respective styles.
The team has already racked up millions of streams on their first two singles “HEART ATTACK” featuring lau.ra and “VAULTS”, both released at the end of April this year. They are set to see a similar fire with the brand-new release of their next single “DAWN” featuring Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
All songs are set to appear on the upcoming 10-track self-titled debut album, dropping on August 7th.
We sat down with Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight of ODESZA and Thomas George Stell of Golden Features to chat all things BRONSON.
Hey guys, thanks for chatting with us. Let’s kickstart with your origin story. How did BRONSON come about? Have you guys known each other for a while?
We have known each other for a while now – we met back in 2014 at a music festival in Perth, Australia, and became friends pretty quickly afterward. We also massively respected each other’s creative projects, Golden Features and ODESZA, so it sort of naturally led to where we were sharing sounds we were inspired by, and it grew from there, but there wasn’t a set goal or vision when we first starting bouncing ideas back and forth or any real expectations. We weren’t actively setting out and saying, “okay, let’s join ODESZA and Golden Features together and write an album”. We really didn’t have any idea it would lead to this full-fledged project, it kind of took on a life of its own.
How are you finding the process of collaborating? Have you been aiming to blend your respective styles or depart into something you haven’t set foot in yet?
Collaborating together has been such a great process, really cathartic on a creative, and personal, level. As we said, we didn’t want to just make an ODESZA x Golden Features album, we wanted to push our boundaries and develop new sounds without pressure or expectations of what that would look like. In that, we were able to tap into different creative facets that we weren’t necessarily able to explore in our respective projects, and we think (we hope) it resulted in this sound that’s completely its own and unique, which is exciting.
You’re both located on opposite sides of the world, with ODESZA in the US and Golden Features in Australia. How have you find creating new ideas and making decisions whilst being in different places?
We had been sending ideas back and forth over Dropbox and Facetime, between the US and Australia. Being in two different parts of the world actually had its benefits. In the writing process, we were basically working in 24-hour intervals due to the time difference. We kind of fell into this workflow where one person would leave off, the next would pick up and we built upon what the other had created. Waking up to new demos was like Christmas morning, haha.
The first few singles have indicated a theme of something kind of dark and underground but still upholding a pure spirit. Is this a duality that’s toyed with throughout the album?
Yeah, we definitely feel like the album, as a whole, approaches this idea of duality that’s within us all and truly inherent to the human condition. The hope is that the listener can really connect and relate to that on a personal level after experiencing those contrasting moments heard on the record, and find some solace or reprieve in that.
What are some of the inspirations for different sounds featured on the upcoming album?
Oh wow, that’s a hard one – there are so many different influences and inspirations we pulled from during the writing process of the album. On an overarching level, we wanted to really push our comfort zones creatively and experiment with bridging the gap and melding different genres that we love – whether that be more melodic influences, to jungle, to edgier sounds… there’s such a wide range of sounds, intended to add all these different dimensions and nuances to the record. There’s probably a few we aren’t even aware of.
The album also features some incredible collabs with lau.ra, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Gallant. What’s it like working with someone else’s style whilst also developing your own style? Did you find it easier or more difficult to craft BRONSON when liaising with more talent?
We were so lucky we got to work with such an amazing array of artists for the guest features on the album – Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, lau.ra and Gallant are all such talented artists in their own right. When we collaborate with other artists, particularly vocalists, we want to give them the space to add their own perspective and style to the project, and everyone really understood the themes and concepts of the album, so it all came together so well. It wasn’t necessarily any easier or harder to craft the BRONSON sound when working with them, but we do feel like the vocal tracks really add depth or another level of emotion to the album, and create balance with some of the more intense instrumentals.
What are some key learnings from your long and successful careers so far that you’ve taken into this new project?
Tom (Golden Features): I think I’ve learned that you can’t get caught up in people’s expectations of you or your sound. If you start to pander to this your music starts to sound like a bad parody of yourself and everything falls short. This project is different from anything either of us has done and it’s been exhilarating as a result.
Harrison and Clay (ODESZA): Learning not to get in the way of a song. Letting it guide itself and not trying to put restrictions on it or label how it should sound before the idea is fully realized.
How have you been managing to stay creative in isolation when you’re used to constantly touring the world and creating in different places?
Tom: I’m embarrassed to say, but literally nothing has changed for me. I’m a homebody and I feel like I’ve been in self-imposed isolation for years. I do miss going to the movies though.
Harrison and Clay: At first it was nice to have time to focus on the music and not be on the move while trying to experiment with ideas, but because we work in collaboration it’s been tougher to meet up and work together. Although, sometimes that allows more time for an idea to develop individually so it has its pros and cons.
What are your thoughts on how club culture, festivals and live shows may change after the pandemic?
We honestly have no idea. It feels like everything is changing constantly, on a daily basis, as we’re sorting out the best way to move forward as a society. We just know we’re all missing live music massively right now, and we can’t wait to share the BRONSON project in a live setting when it’s responsible and safe to do so.
“DAWN” featuring Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs is out now, taken from the BRONSON album out August 7th via Foreign Family Collective/Ninja Tune.