Owl City

Young enjoying ‘roller coaster ride’ of a career

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Owl City plays the Newport Music Hall Sunday, Sept. 16. Action Item opens. Tickets are $22/25.
By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Adam Young might still be trying to make himself believe planet Earth turns slowly.

The (perhaps surprising, definitely unassuming) pop star wasn’t an overnight success. He had a pair of well-received records as Owl City to his credit before Fireflies propelled his career to new heights in 2009.

But a breakout song as successful as Fireflies tends to increase the average speed at which one’s life is lived.

“It’s been a roller coaster ride throughout,” Young told The Beat. “Sometimes I still can’t believe what’s going on.”

What’s going on now is The Midsummer Station, his second album since Ocean Eyes (which contained Fireflies) and another signature tune, Good Time, with guest singer Carly Rae Jepsen, which was for many the “song of the summer” for 2012.

“It was very simple and easy,” Young said of the collaboration between the two pop stars.

“I thought she’d be great to have sing, so our two managers, who are old friends, worked it out. We passed files back and forth electronically – I had never met her in person until we shot the video.”

Who’s a bigger fan of whom?

“Probably me of her,” Young admitted.

Good Time is not the only tune on The Midsummer Station that finds Young working with another artist. He worked on several tracks with co-writers, and was joined by Relient K’s Matthew Thiessen and Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus as performers.

Both developments are new for Young, who typically worked in seclusion as a studio artist before taking his music on the road.

Indeed, it’s a mere five years since Young was a big kid with a computer making beats and loops while still living with his parents.

“It was intentional, for sure,” Young told The Beat of allowing others into the creative process.

“I had never really done it before, but also over the course of the past few years, I had become friends with people in the industry that I wanted to work with.”

Young was excited to work on the song Dementia with Hoppus, whose band was an inspiration both for a teenage Young and for the new song.

“They were an early influence, so upbeat and energetic. Just like every other junior high kid, I loved their music,” Young said.

But he figured it would be a long shot to coordinate a collaboration.

“We made the calls, and then all of a sudden, it was finished,” Young said with a laugh.

While Jepsen and Hoppus won’t be joining Owl City on tour, Young said figuring out how to play those songs live was not that much different than other songs, given his predilection for studio production.

“It’s a challenge, but a fun challenge, how to take 50-plus tracks in the studio and do them with five people,” he said.

“It’s a great transition between two very different worlds. And I can’t believe I get to do both of these things.”
 

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