Propelled by the 2009 hit song Fireflies from the album Ocean Eyes, Adam Young, the braintrust of Owl City, went literally from making processed beats and loops in his parents' basement to pop music stardom in a few short years.
Propelled by the 2009 hit song Fireflies from the album Ocean Eyes, Adam Young, the braintrust of Owl City, went literally from making processed beats and loops in his parents' basement to pop music stardom in a few short years. His music career in a whole new stratosphere, Young has returned with a new record titled All Things Bright and Beautiful, and a subsequent tour, which stops at Lifestyle Communities Pavilion on Friday, July 1. Tickets are $25/$28; call 1-800-745-3000. Young was kind enough to answer a few questions posed by The Beat.
The Beat: Could you have imagined the success of Ocean Eyes and the kinds of experiences that success has allowed you to have and what has been the impact and your reaction to it all?
Adam Young: Never! I'm an only child from a small town in Minnesota and I was loading trucks for Coca-Cola in a sweaty warehouse two years ago. The music thing started happening and really caught me off guard. I still can't even believe what's going on. I remember the moment my manager called me and said one of my tracks when to No. 1 in 24 countries around the world and I almost had a heart attack. It's been a surprising roller-coaster through and throughout.
TB: Did you feel pressure to duplicate/maintain/surpass that while making All Things Bright and Beautiful?
AY : A little bit here and there, but I believe it was "positive pressure" and the kind that makes diamonds. I enjoy working under the gun a little bit and I prefer the clock ticking in the background because it helps me focus on delivering a final result and consequently keeps me from noodling around forever. I'm a perfectionist, so a new piece of work is never finished, but merely "abandoned" and so a little bit of pressure is a good thing for me.
TB : What are some of the themes that emerged on the new record?
AY : I'm fascinated by nature, worlds away from the things of man, and that found its way onto the new album in a big way. Much like my fascination with the ocean was a big influence on my previous record, the forest was a big influence on All Things Bright and Beautiful. I enjoy writing about innocence, in whatever shape or form that presents itself, and there's nothing more innocent than a place that's never been touched by man. The forest.
TB : Do you have favorite songs of your own and, if so, do you find they're the ones that fans find as favorites as well?
AY : I'm quite proud of a song titled The Real World because it sums up nicely my perception of reality - merely stating that sometimes I prefer the world in my own head, as imagined, over life in reality. There's a line in the song that reads, "Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn't wanna live there" and that sums up the entire record.TB : Why a band name instead of your name?
AY : I thought about that for a while at the outset but ultimately, I opted for the more ambiguous moniker for a solo musician than the traditional route. I love the inevitable question marks that pop up around the name Owl City because I think it's just quirky/innocent enough to be fun and I like how it sparks a great depth of imagery and imagination.
TB : How have you made the transition from songwriter/composer to live performer?
AY: It's been a tough road indeed for an introverted guy! I've never been a social person and quite ironically, I'm not fond of big groups of people in any capacity, but it's been a great challenge and there's something about performing the music live that allows me to hide behind it and it allows me to do things I never imagined I could've done two years ago before this crazy story began writing itself.