Common Revolt had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Adam Young, otherwise known as the mastermind behind Owl City. In our interview, we discuss his follow up to his smash album Ocean Eyes, working with LIGHTS, today’s music scene and more.
You said you spent the better part of last year building a studio in your basement. How did you go about making it? Is it awesome to have a studio right in your home?
It’s an incredible ongoing project and I love every minute of it. I picked up a ton of staple outboard gear and continue to upgrade just about everything down there. I love that I can open a session and float around the house, going in and out of the studio as I please, never forcing ideas and never allowing the process of making records to become boring. It’s a wonderful atmosphere to create and I’d wager I wouldn’t feel half as comfortable in an A-list studio in NYC or LA.
I know you recorded your new album, All Things Bright And Beautiful, in your own studio. Do you like recording under your own roof rather than going to an outside studio?
It makes the process a lot more fun than I think it would otherwise. The studio is basically taking over ever room in the house and I have this insatiable desire to just create, create, create. I’m not sure what I’d be doing if it weren’t for music but I know I wouldn’t be happy.
The writing process for All Things Bright And Beautiful — how does it compare to Ocean Eyes? How long did it end up taking overall?
The new record didn’t take as long as Ocean Eyes but it was a lot more work which put a rush on the whole process, but in a healthy/productive way. I think All Things Bright and Beautiful sounds a bit more resolved than Ocean Eyes does. It sounds a bit older and wiser, a bit more conclusive, a bit more “finished.” I spent a lot of time working with the equipment I had and also learning new gear, just grinding away and slowly becoming better at my craft. I always forget how long it takes to make a record but I enjoy doing it this way.
On “Alligator Sky”, you feature rapper, Shawn Chrystopher, on the track. Was it cool to incorporate a rap into a song?
It was a lot of fun because it was something I’d never experimented with before. I tend to feel a little bit lethargic if I’m not continually trying something new merely for the sake of experimentation and creativity. The hip hop thing was something I’d always wanted to fool around with and Shawn and I had a blast. It took a bit of searching to find the right collaborative artist but when I found Shawn, I knew it was right — and he absolutely nailed it.
In today’s top music, there’s definitely an overload of negativity. Your music focuses on the complete opposite. Is it sometimes harder to write songs with uplifting themes?
For me, it’s tough to write songs without uplifting themes merely because my way of dealing with dark days has always been daydreaming through escapism. I enjoy imagining what the world would be like if everything were perfect, if I could go anywhere, do anything, or be anyone — and that provides more inspiration than I know what to do with. The imagination is truly my biggest inspiration.
I’m hearing that you collaborated with LIGHTS on an upcoming track, “Yacht Club”. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
It’s a dreamy dance track about chocolate, great white sharks and paddle boats. Lights did a marvelous job on it and we both had the time of our lives.
What’s next this year for Owl City?
Touring! Now that the record is finished, it’s time to switch gears and get myself into tour mode. I’ll be on the road from now until Christmas more or less so it’ll be a long haul but one I’m incredibly excited about.