UTG INTERVIEW: Odd Hours

odd hours

Detroit-based rock quartet Odd Hours dropped a new single back in December with a very popular and powerful title (“Khaleesi”) but even as it may not have entirely been inspired by the “Mother of Dragons” as most would suspect, it still spawned a number of remixes and continues to pave the way to new material for this up-and-coming act.

Odd Hours members Natasha Beste and Timothy Jagielo recently took some time to speak with us about “Khaleesi” and the themes behind it and its video accompaniment along with what they have in store for the remainder of 2014. Check through the jump to get the scoop and view their video for the aforementioned single.

To start, can you tell me the names of everyone in the band and what their roles are?

Natasha Beste: lead vocals, keys
Timothy Jagielo: guitar, pedal loops
Clint Stuart: Bass, backing vocals, studio engineer
Randy Hanley Jr.: drums, backing vocals

How did you all come together to form Odd Hours?

TJ: I was looking for a project where I could play really loud, noisy guitar, with a female lead. Our mutual friend Tunde Olaniran recommended I approach Natasha. We were totally on the same page. We were originally a three-piece, and this is actually our second drummer, and first time with a bassist. We adore them both.

What would you say are some of your most important influences collectively that have helped shape your sound and style?

TJ: For me, I’ve always loved Trent Reznor’s delicate, and also roaring approach to music. His brand of dark, detailed music you can also dance to is an influence on the direction we’re headed.

NB: We are pretty well-rounded on our tastes but what especially interests us are things that are more surreal and far away from ‘everyday life’ as possible. Musicians that interest us also care about visual stimulation and are iconic because of it. Whether it be their fashion, hair, make-up, style of music videos or stage shows, it sets them apart, and I think above, just someone singing and playing an instrument. We enjoy musicians like Grace Jones, (like Tim said) Trent Reznor, Kate Bush, Siouxsie Sioux, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, and Bryan Eno. We’re also inspired by time-based media artists such as David Lynch and Bill Viola.

Detroit has become known for its growing poverty rate and economic decline, but it’s also known for its sense of community and strength. It’s been forever dubbed ‘Detroit Rock City’ too, of course. Is the music scene still thriving despite the city’s decaying infrastructure?

TJ: There’s always so much music happening in Detroit. The fact that the Hamtramck Music Festival, and Metrotimes Blowout can happen within two months of each other and be successful, kind of speaks to the communities love of local, and regional music. I’m actually from Flint, and like Detroit, I appreciate when positive attention is brought to a city known for financial problems.

NB: I like to call it ‘Detroit High.’ There’s cliques and snotty fights and people can get really shitty and jealous but there’s also tons of collaboration and motivation which makes it worth draggin’ your feet through the other bologna. We try to be as positive as possible and give thanks instead of complain.

Instead of more questions, can we just talk about Game of Thrones for awhile? I’m kidding, But I do get the sense that you’re fans of the show and/or the A Song Of Ice and Fire book series. Would that be correct?

NB: Oh my God. This is so funny. I did watch the first season of Game of Thrones and I did like it but not enough to name our single after it. I wrote the song first and I honest to God thought that the name ‘Khaleesi’ was from a real language. Since my song was about being in control and having power, I used the term as a place-holder until I thought of a new, permanent name. When we found out it was a made up term from a made up language, I felt like a huge nerd but we just really feel in love with it and it inspired the whole music video.

Can you elaborate on the theme of the track a bit?

NB: The song is about feeling powerful and confident. But wanting to be in full control, then realizing that having full control is not the best thing. In the lyrics I go from “wish you would let me lead now,” to “wish you would let me leave now.” It’s a theme that I go back and forth with in my own life by wanting to be the boss but then craving that praise you receive from others that are ‘above you.’ When you’re the boss, you lose that.

And the video is very well done also and seems to have obvious influences from Game Of Thrones as well. Can you tell us a little about the production and what themes you wanted to explore specifically for the video?

NB: Fortunately, I along with Odd Hours, also co-direct a media production company called Gold House Media so we were pretty spoiled with the amount of talented people we had working on this production. We knew we wanted to mix looks and locations and we did that by incorporating the ’90s punk/Americana look (inspired by the artist Ssion) along with the dark look of the black dance scene in the ’80s movie Legend.

Nothing total was set in stone but we were able to flesh it out with our director Kevin Eckert, co-owner of Gold House Media and our stylist/art director Tunde Olaniran. Kevin locked down locations and what we needed built for the scenes. We commissioned local artist Tim Whitehead to create the all-black, seven-foot metal throne and other set pieces. Tunde reached out the Somerset Salon & Day Spa, the same place we worked with on his video, “Cobra,” to make sure they had the make-up and hair looks down. He drew up my costumes and we commissioned Christina Tomlinson to create them, along with Tim’s mask and skirt for the black room.

So is this just a one-off single for the time being or are there plans for this to be released on an upcoming album?

TJ: Right now, it’s just a single, but we aren’t ruling out re-mastering to be part of a bigger work, later.

You also have six different remixes of the song on your Bandcamp. How did that come about that the track was going to be reworked by these artists? Was that intention in mind from the very beginning?

NB: As a teen, I would always get a huge kick out of finding different versions of my favorite songs. I would thumb through the record store selections and just be so excited when I found new singles or EPs I never heard of before and it was even more exciting when the remixes or collaborations were between two artists I really liked. Then Napster came along and I went crazy downloading all the NIN remixes ever made. We keep talking about NIN, it probably sounds like we are obsessed.

“Khaleesi” has been out since December, so what have you been working on in the meantime?

TJ: We’ve recorded two new songs, and mixing is next on those. We’ve also started shooting footage for the next video. Production on a video for the Tunde Olaniran remix of “Khaleesi” is underway.

What are some new albums that have come out so far this year that you find yourself listening to a lot? And are there any coming out later in the year that you’re looking forward to?

TJ: I just was introduced to Angel Haze. It was released in October, but I can’t get “Echelon” out of my head. Also, obviously Tunde’s Yung Archetype EP that’s been getting so much buzz.

NB: Our bassist Clint is a sound engineer and he is like my guy for new music releases. He turned me on to the band Liars. Him and I both have had their Mess album on repeat for weeks.

Overall, what is Odd Hours hoping to accomplish for the rest of 2014? Anything we haven’t discussed yet that fans can look forward to?

TJ: Two more songs, and at least one more video aside from the aforementioned. One video will involve synchronized men dancing in ’60s style suits, and another with Natasha being a bad person in public, and that’s worth looking forward to.

NB: Tim, you’re wrong. We are doing music videos for BOTH of those new songs. The other single, “Sleeping with the Sun,” is going to be creepy as hell. Can’t wait.

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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