Q&A with Adam Young from Owl City

If you've never heard of Owl City until now, you're forgiven. The brainchild of young pop composer and producer Adam Young, Owl City, seemingly came out of nowhere in the past six months and is quickly becoming a phenomenon. Foisted to the forefront solely on the strength of a strong word of mouth following, the Minnesota-based outfit produces endlessly catchy synth pop songs that have an open tab with Erasure and the modern french electro popsters Air. Every song on the newest Ocean Eyes, the act's latest, is an exercise in feel good fluffiness with hooks aplenty. We caught up with Young recently in advance of his band's sold out show tomorrow night at the Bluebird. Read the full interview after the jump.

Westword (Dutch Seyfarth): What's your name, hometown, and where are you living today?
Adam Young: Oh hi! My name is Adam. I live in Owatonanana, Minnesota, and I'm currently living in a trailer park owned by my friend's dad who wears cargo shorts all the time.

WW: Do you perform live with any back-up musicians currently?

AY: Why, yes I do! My friend Matt rat-a-tats, Laura and Hannah bow, Breanne plays ivory, Andy plays six steel strings and I hoot soft owl sounds into people's ears.

WW: Can you describe what equipment you use to create your songs?

AY: Currently I am friends with a guitar, a keyboard, a laptop and a microphone; that's all I use to create.

WW: Is there a particular place you work from when creating new songs?
AY: I really enjoy my basement because of all the wildlife in it: bats, little furry bugs, centipedes, crickets, ladybugs, moths... you name it. I don't have any friends so it's nice to have a lot of roommates, you understand.

WW: Do you have songwriting partners or collaborators when writing new songs?
AY: Owl City is just me, myself and I.

WW: Are you able to find time to come up with new song ideas with your current touring schedule?

AY: Yeah, I come up with a lot of ideas for new songs while on the road. Sights, sounds and smells provide an endless amount of inspiration, and I love how each city I visit puts me in a unique mood, thus inspires me to write an entirely different song. I've visited a lot of cities; I have a lot of new songs.

WW: Are there any personal stories or experiences embedded into the songs from Ocean Eyes that you'd like to talk about?

AY: I wrote a song titled "The Tip of the Iceberg" after I spent a month studying the natural habitats and environments of the emperor penguin with my cool Uncle John. He's an arctic biologist. We hung out, took measurements and readings, conducted sweet experiments and played a game of tackle football on a frozen iceberg at 2 a.m. the night before we sailed home from our expedition. It was awesome. The song is about how cold icebergs are and how gnarly Uncle John undeniably is.

WW: Have you ever been to Colorado before?

AY: Unfortunately I've never been to Colorado, but I hear it's charming. I'm incredibly excited to visit and roll around in the snow inside my sleeping bag.

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Dave Herrera
Contact: Dave Herrera