Editors’ Notes “It happened really naturally over time,” Harrison Mills tells Apple Music of BRONSON, a collaboration between Seattle duo ODESZA (Mills alongside Clayton Knight) and Sydney producer Golden Features (Tom Stell). “We were just friends. The first time we came to Australia, Tom was the first Australian person we met that we instantly started getting along with and we just got to know each other really well.” The project has been in production for years, with the bulk of it written in 2018, both online and during a weeklong recording trip to Berry, New South Wales. The resulting album is a rush to explore. More than blending elements of each artist’s sound, it was a collaboration in the truest sense, with each member working off one another, challenging their processes and experimenting beyond their typical boundaries. “I sent a melody [to ODESZA],” says Stell, “and they sent me back this incredible almost-finished song. They’d added these drums that I never would have picked, this bass that I never would have picked. That was the beauty of the whole project. Ideas that usually get a red light, where we’d normally be like, ‘This doesn't sound like ODESZA’ or ‘This doesn't sound like Golden Features,’ got a green light.” Mills adds: “It felt like we were all very open-minded. There weren’t any limitations; we weren't trying to put ourselves in a box. We were always learning.” Below, all three members of BRONSON break down each track on their debut album.

FOUNDATION
Mills: “This was one of the final songs we wrote, and ironically, it became the first track on the album. We’ve always been fans of the concept of having an intro to an album, and set out to do that here. We wanted something that set the tone for the record and invited the listener into the world of BRONSON. We wanted to make sure we gave the right first impression. Something that lived between dark and euphoric.”

HEART ATTACK (feat. lau.ra)
Mills: “lau.ra first sent a bunch of gibberish melodies over the demo and we ended up looping one section. It was so catchy and hypnotic. Her delivery was so intimate—it felt gorgeous yet dark, uplifting yet melancholy.”
Stell: “It was the first vocal track we worked on for the record. It was one of those ideas that came together really quickly and felt very natural while writing with lau.ra. It was a confluence between the distinctive sounds of ODESZA and Golden Features, and served as a turning point for the album.”

BLINE
Knight: “The first version of this tune felt more laidback, but it didn’t seem to keep our attention—at least not enough to make it on the record. We kept experimenting with different leads until we found a melody that gave it a driving sound, which ultimately cranked the song up to a much higher energy level than we were initially intending. We focused a lot on using different analog elements and constantly modulating them to add layers to the song, inherently making it feel alive.”

KNOW ME (feat. Gallant)
Mills: “We’ve always been fans of Gallant’s work, so we reached out to him and tried setting up a studio session together in LA. When we did finally meet up, we ended up really hitting it off. He’s such a natural talent—it was incredible watching him work to a simple demo loop we had put together that he really connected to. During that session, we talked about the lyrical content—about someone you love never really knowing who you are and finally coming to the realization they never truly knew you. As a result, he matched the emotive R&B sound and tone we were going for perfectly; it really elevated the entire message of the song to an entirely different level of depth.”

VAULTS
Stell: “It was one of the earlier instrumentals we completed, and it acted as a cornerstone to the overall sound design and aesthetic. The track really proved a departure from each of our separate projects’ styles and set a definitive change in direction for the BRONSON project. We knew we had something special here and it served as a guiding light for the rest of the record.”

TENSE
Stell: “This was the first track we started as BRONSON and most likely the reason it’s so heavy. It really felt like a breakout of sorts from the worlds of ODESZA and Golden Features. It fueled us as a source of inspiration to keep working on the project. We wanted to make a heater, and hopefully we did.”

CALL OUT
Mills: “This track started with us just messing around with ’80s sounds and being inspired by that era’s energy. Eventually, after a few glasses of wine, we started singing over it...you can hear both myself and Tom in the vocals, which was certainly a departure from the norm.”

CONTACT
Knight: “‘CONTACT’ is the most distorted tune on our record. We wanted to make a dance song and then run it through amps, distortion, and saturation to give a chaotic feel. To us, it’s such a frenetic and charged moment on the album, which we wanted to fully embrace. We took a lot of risks in the writing process of this entire album and pushed the envelope, so to speak, which felt good.”
Mills: “We were just really trying to make a distorted dance song. We had these cool elements, but the hard part was making all of that stay interesting for the full three minutes. We just wanted to keep your ears perked up throughout the whole song.”

KEEP MOVING
Mills: “This song is really about pushing through and the inner dialogue you have with yourself when facing an obstacle or opponent. Instrumentally and lyrically, we wanted to convey that intense emotion and the experience of channeling all of your energy to conquer whatever you’re facing. One interesting element of this track is that we sampled an army marching to give it this pulsing, percussive drive at its core. It just grew from there.”

DAWN (feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs)
Mills: “TEED has been someone we've been trying to work with for a long time. We showed him a couple of tracks, talked about the themes of the album. He went in a corner for literally 20 minutes and came back with this incredible lyrical content and melody. From there we just expanded it. It was pretty awesome to watch him work. I mean, it was done and written in three or four hours, which is insane.”
Knight: “Creatively, we respect Orlando [TEED] so much. Not only do the lyrics provide this renewed sense of hope, but his vocals complement the tone and energy of the song perfectly. ‘DAWN’ is a song meant to take you on a journey and explore various concepts and emotions of the record. We couldn’t think of a more fitting song to end the album with.”

SONG
FOUNDATION
1
3:04
 
HEART ATTACK (feat. lau.ra)
2
3:29
 
BLINE
3
4:24
 
KNOW ME (feat. Gallant)
4
3:00
 
VAULTS
5
4:04
 
TENSE
6
3:19
 
CALL OUT
7
2:59
 
CONTACT
8
3:27
 
KEEP MOVING
9
4:06
 
DAWN (feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs)
10
7:23
 

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