PLAYING DETROIT: Odd Hours

The first half of my conversation with Natasha Beste of moody electro-pop duo Odd Hours is instantly dedicated to playing six degrees of separation between the two of us until we are able to piece our social puzzle together, realizing that we run in the same circles and are friends with the same people and both conclude that Detroit is a lot like high school.

“In Detroit, it’s really easy to make things happen if you are really motivated and dedicated. If you are snotty or mean or not serious about what you’re doing, it will get around fast,” Beste says. “I’m lucky to have met and become friends with people that make doing this fun, it never feels like work.”

This non-work-work Beste is referring to is Odd Hours latest EP noreprinphrine + dopamine, an assertive and pouty collection of songs that are as glittery as they are confrontational. Beste’s attention to duality, both in her personal life and in her Odd Hours world (she is also a teacher and video artist) resonates as a playful game of tug-of-war sonically. Beste describes the toggling of themes as a “constant up and down.” From asking for what you want and ending up bored by the instant gratification to feeling left out or misunderstood yet worthy enough to exert power, Odd Hours challenges themselves by provoking a polarizing experience. As it turns out, this very balancing act of various selves and influences resulted in what Beste considers to be the truest version of what they’ve been trying to accomplish since they formed. “I think with artists there are things that come out of you naturally. And for me things were coming out of me that weren’t matching what I was listening to, or what we were making,” Beste explains. “We’ve been morphing and changing our sound and we finally feel comfortable in our skin. We want to keep going with how we sound now.”

Odd Hours have been making noise around the city for five years. Beste and her collaborator and Hours guitarist, Timothy Jagielo, assembled after exhausting previous projects, wanting to expand beyond their old work and Detroit city limits. “I was in a lot of different bands before I met Tim but after a while I really wanted to do something that would allow me to be loud and raunchy,” Beste says “We were both in a place where we wanted to start something new.” With additions bassist, Clint Stuart, and drummer Randy Hanley Jr, each track on noreprinphrine + dopamine is a banger in its own right, successfully and collectively fulfilling Beste’s aforementioned desires of sounding loud and raunchy while remaining a compelling and polished production. When asked about the possibility of a full length release, Beste is uncertain, but unwavering in her convictions towards quality vs. quantity. “It’s the way that my brain works. My whole life of music I’ve really stuck with EPs. I’m not saying we would never release an LP. Everything that needed to be said was said within these songs.” she explains. “It could be the next thing we do, but it has to feel right.”

The accompanying video for their first single “SWTS” is a true testament to Odd Hours theatrics; a great introduction to their provocative landscape, their lust filled, odd world. Full of if-David Lynch-cast-Lindsey Lohan-in-a-music-video vibes (Beste laughs excitedly at this comparison) aligns with the estranged bossiness of the song where Beste howls: “I thought someone told me / Like Christmas / I would get to make a wish list,” a vulnerable plea paralleled with warbled rock vocals, a sensibility carried throughout the EP.

By the end of our chat we realize we share a friend in noreprinphrine + dopamine producer Jon Zott and that we were both on set for Tunde Olaniran’s video earlier this year and it is with this strange connectivity that we are able to commiserate over the special brand of small world-ness Detroit offers. I finish by apologizing for referring to her music as bratty, though meant as a compliment as it’s a trait I regard as honest and unapologetic, to which she assures me is a perfectly apt description. “It’s funny because my boyfriend Kevin (and partner in Gold House Media) as well as my guitarist Tim and Tunde all call me a brat because I get what I want. But I have a vision,” Beste explains. “I am always three steps ahead.”