Siblings Ashlie and Keith Burgun both have a long term love of music, so it's perhaps not that surprising to learn that the two teamed up to create their own art under the moniker Odette/Odile. Ashlie, a.k.a. Odette sings and writes lyrics while Keith -- whose code name is Ghost Lord -- composes and arranges the music.
In their own words:
Odette/Odile represents the two sides of a person. Odette is the silly and fun part of us that just wants to be happy. Odile is the necessary opposite, the part that makes us push for what we want and not give in. We hope that our songs convey a bittersweet nostalgia, like when you have a nice memory of childhood just before remembering how tough growing up was.
As they unveil their new track "Glow" today, which you can listen to below, the duo chatted with us about dream shows, musical inspirations and career ambitions.
PW: How would you describe yourselves and your music in a few words?
Ashlie: Silly, nostalgic, fun and maybe a little introspective. I think those things could definitely be applied to both myself as well as our music for sure.
PW: When did you realise you wanted to make music a career? Was there an album you bought or concert you attended that inspired you?
A: Our parents were both musicians and influenced us a lot. Someone was always playing a guitar and singing at our family gatherings. We also have had lots of different bands over the years and really enjoyed the adventure of playing at strange and interesting venues. I’m not gonna lie, when I was in elementary/middle school I REALLY wanted to be a Spice Girl. My friends and I used to choreograph dance routines to all their songs, and I saw the movie twice in theatres...
PW: Which bands or artists influenced you growing up, and have those influences changed over the years?
A: I mainly “grew up” during the 90s, which was such a fantastic time for music. When I was a teenager, I loved groups like No Doubt, Garbage and NIN, but, during my earlier years, I remember listening to a lot of Mariah Carey, Ace of Base and all that amazing dance music that was big at the time. My interest in Japanese Pop started with Anime for sure. I still love all of those bands, but there are so many great new ones to add to the list! Some of my current obsessions are Santigold and Oh Land.
Keith: I share Ashlie’s musical past. These days, I’m very much into Japanese pop music and video-game music.
PW: Is there a band or artist you might say you're similar to?
K: The artist I would most like to sound like is Yasutaka Nakata, who is the producer of acts like Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Also some American pop groups that are a little bit more interesting and fusion-y, like perhaps Bird and the Bee.
PW: Tell me about your new single "Glow". Is there a story behind it?
A: This song went through a lot of different versions before it ended up here. Believe it or not, it actually originally was a Christmas song, but it has evolved a good deal since then. The lyrics are about not submitting to the daily grind and letting your dreams slip away. It’s about looking for that thing that makes life special for you and taking risks!
PW: Who or what most inspires your song-writing?
K: For me, it’s other songwriters -- a lot of Japanese ones, these days. Nobuo Uematsu, Yoko Kanno, Soyo Oka and Yasutaka Nakata come most quickly to mind. Other than that, I think of music composition as an opportunity to practice good general craft. I believe that it’s possible to build strong compositions that “work”, and I really enjoy that pursuit.
PW: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?
K: I would say it might be “Yakusoku wa Iranai”, written by Yoko Kanno for the anime show, Escaflowne. It is such a good example of how to use non-diatonic/extended chords without sounding at all weird or jazzy. It sounds totally natural, even though it is an extremely far cry from the childlike simplicity we’re used to in American pop music. By the way, my top five songs are probably all from Yoko Kanno.
PW: What are your upcoming performance plans, and is there an album/EP in the works?
A: We are hoping to stay in touch with our fans with some acoustic video performances as well as continuing to work on some new tunes. Make sure to follow us to get updates about those!
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists (who can be living or dead), who would they be and where would you play?
A: ABBA, Kate Bush & Go! Go! 7188. The first two I have been inspired by forever are just incredibly talented and dedicated performers, but I’ve only been able to watch videos of their past performances. Go! Go! 7188 are no longer together, but I did have the opportunity to see them play when they toured in the US, and I was so struck by their no-nonsense, unpretentious style. They were so unique in such a simple way, and I loved that the bassist and lead singer/guitar player were both female but not at all pushing sexiness or trying too hard to seem cool. They were cool because they were just so good and that’s all they needed! I aspire to achieve such an effortlessness.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media, and would you agree it's a vital tool for bands and artists today? Do you think you'd have the support you do without it?
A: We were in bands during a time when social media didn’t really exist, and it seriously is such a game changer. It is so awesome to be able to reach people all over the place who have similar interests now. I love being able to communicate with our fans in such a intimate way. Also, I would’ve been ecstatic as a kid to have been able to follow the bands I grew up loving in the way you are able to now because of social media outlets like this! It’s the best!
PW: What else does the rest of the year have in store for you?
A: We are looking forward to creating a pretty rad music video in the near future and eventually we hope to start doing some live performances! In the meantime we will continue to make more music and episodes of our ridiculous web comic.
PW: Finally, then, what's your ultimate ambition as an band, and, with that in mind, whose career would you most like to emulate and why?
K: I really like how Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has been able to create this really strong, likeable aesthetic for herself. I think we’re going for something less overtly silly than what she does, but I hope that we can establish a “place” for ourselves in that culture. Like, you can say “oh, it’s like a Kyary Pamyu Pamyu kind of thing”, and people immediately picture extremely colorful items strewn everywhere and perhaps something outrageous, like a shark hat. I would like it if people had that kind of a recognition of our act as well. Beyond that, my ambition is to just make some great songs.