Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: An Interview with Oddnesse

Oddnesse
Unabashedly cool artist-to-watch Oddnesse dive into their sweet and savory new song “Donut Shop,” a sonically stunning and infectiously groovy treat worth every calorie.
Stream: “Donut Shop” – Oddnesse


“Donut Shop” is basically just like the Power Puff Girls theme song and I am Blossom, Bubbles and most definitely Buttercup all in one.

We can’t tell you what it is that makes something cool, but we know it when we see it – and Oddnesse are most definitely cool. The musical project of songwriter/producers Rebeca Arango and Grey Goon (Doug Walters) has already been an Atwood artist-to-watch for the better part of two years, releasing a slew of dazzling songs that topple every expectation. Oddnesse beat to the tune of their own drum; they do what they want, when they want it, whether that means a deep dive into brooding, heartaching dream pop (as in “I Used To”) or a frolicking alt-rock meditation with a choose-your-own-adventure interpretation (listen to “Trust”).

Donut Shop - Oddnesse

Donut Shop – Oddnesse

It’s high time Oddnesse released an EP or album, but while we wait, the band have today released “Donut Shop,” their first offering in over a year and a forceful, buoyant return. A driving rock song built off Arango’s gorgeous vocal harmonies and melodies, “Donut Shop” explores consciousness and “the decision to drop out for a bit,” to quote the artist. “It also plays with the idea of being eternally stuck in a consciousness loop, a la Murakami’s Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.”

Reverb-laden guitars lick the ears as Arango invites us to sideline ourselves in the name of introspection – to lean into the glaze, breathe out rather than breathe in, and let things be for a minute. “The way back to reality has gone without a trace,” she sings, visualizing consiciousness through vivid and generally existential imagery.

Sonically stunning and infectiously groovy, “Donut Shop” is a sweet and savory treat worth every calorie.

Atwood Magazine celebrated Oddnesse’s return through a candid conversation with Rebeca Arango about musical taste, personal growth, and glazed donuts. Get to know Oddnesse inside and out in our interview below, and take a bit out of their delicious “Donut Shop”!

Stream: “Donut Shop” – Oddnesse

Oddnesse

A CONVERSATION WITH ODDNESSE

Atwood Magazine: Rebeca, it’s been about a year since we last heard from you! What’ve you been up to over that time?

Oddnesse: I accomplished a feat that historically I thought I’d never be able to do. I got my body upside down into a handstand and remained vertical for 3 seconds. I also got really into riding those electric scooters around LA (not on the sidewalk, don’t worry), which I know doesn’t save money compared to ride shares but is really fun and some have warned me, dangerous. I wrote a whole bunch of songs I hope to show you soon and played some shows solo and with my band. In my day job, I edited a book that is being published by an NYC big 5 publisher. That was a big part of my year.

How if at all do you feel like you’ve grown musically since 2018? Is musical growth something that can happen over just 12 months?

Oddnesse: Yes. Expansion, at least. Since I was a little girl, my taste is constantly changing. Lately, progressing and regressing. I am open and aesthetically undisciplined, but still committed to simplicity of form, bass and drums. “Donut Shop” is possibly the most stylistically straightforward thing you’ll hear from me in a while. I hope you have some fun inside it!

Oddnesse’s music, to me, is so distinct; how do you describe it? What words do you typically refer back to when talking about your songs?

Oddnesse: Thank you! It’s a delicate balance between what I know intellectually is cool and what tickles my soul (and sometimes even triggers laughter), which can be very uncool indeed.

I usually tell people I make simple pop music. It qualifies as “dreamy” because I use reverb and sound tired. But I’m not going for that deliberately. We’re going for groovy, classic and catchy. Melodically, I want novelty and nostalgia. Harmonically, I want moments of unexpected color. Beauty surfaces, and I’m not always the best at stopping it from getting cheesy. Grey Goon and Casey Feldman, who co-wrote “Donut Shop,” help with that.

One of the first things that stood out to me about “Donut Shop” were the vocal harmonies on the track. Can you talk about the decision to layer your voice like that?

Oddnesse: Harmony matters to me. In this song, it’s the main focus, like a movie that’s more visual than plot driven. I’m a sucker for vocal harmonies in particular. When “Helplessly Hoping” comes on at Rite Aid I will be melting in the chips aisle. Equally I take a lot of pleasure in finding harmonies. I’m always jealous of singing siblings. As an only child, I’ve worked it out by learning to record myself.

In this case, well-meaning, tasteful folks did advise against putting so many of my own harmonies so loudly throughout the arrangement. But sometimes an entire song demands it. “Donut Shop” is basically just like the Power Puff Girls theme song and I am Blossom, Bubbles and most definitely Buttercup all in one.

Oddnesse

Oddnesse

Why are you returning this year with “Donut Shop”; what is this song’s significance for you?

Oddnesse: To be honest it wasn’t my first instinct to make this the big comeback song. It was decided by the Board of Directors of Oddnesse Inc. I didn’t fight for my Bohemian Rhapsody, so you’ll have to wait for it, but I like this song and I trust the lovely friends and collaborators who made the pick.

It’s not the most consequential song ever written, but it gives a delightful impression. Let’s say a donut is a strange loop like reality or consciousness. I’m playing with this quest of going beyond the cycle of chatter. Or let’s just say I stayed out late one night and went to the donut shop at 4:30am and the sunrise was memorable.

I love how this song balances different forces: It’s got a kind of dark hue, yet it feels free and light all the same. What do you feel when you hear this song? What stands out the most?

Oddnesse: I like your take. The hues I feel are chalky pink, lilac all the way down to  dark purple. It’s that shoegazey full stack of harmony that’s like a swath of color across a spectrum. I do think any “narrative” here is fun and easy yet a little dangerous, like one might slip and fall too deep.

For fun, do you visit donut shops or have one you frequent?

Oddnesse: The truth is I have a mild gluten sensitivity, but will tough it out for the occasional donut. The shop I have in mind in this song is Ms. Donuts in Echo Park.

What’s your preferred donut flavor / alternatively, what donut would you pair with this song?

Oddnesse: Glazed is the only flavor that matters to me. Unless there’s a bear claw involved, which is just crunchy extra-fried glazed.

Taking a step back, where do we find Oddnesse in 2019? What are your goals for your music this year, if any?

Oddnesse: More music coming to you faster. More stages, more cities!

I always like to end by asking artists their musical recommendations: Who are you listening to, and who else should be on our radar?

Oddnesse: For classic songs, this year I’ve been going back to Abba, Tina Turner, CS&N, Hall & Oats.  As for new stuff: Chassol, Mereba, and Jessica Pratt. And my favorite up-and-coming LA artists: Shaboozey, Livingmore, Haunted Summer, Brendan Eder, and Cuesta Loeb.

Oddnesse’s “I Used To” Is a Poignant & Refreshing Breakup Song

:: TODAY'S SONG ::

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Donut Shop - Oddnesse

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Oddnesse’s “I Used To” Is a Poignant & Refreshing Breakup Song

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Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com