“Owl City was an idea I had in late July of 2007. I don't remember what initially sparked my interest and inspired me to start the project; it was out of boredom more than anything,” Adam Young of Owl City tells me. “I've always been interested in electronic music. Synth, samples, loops, programming... it's all pretty intriguing.”
Whilst there is a proliferation of generic guitar bands grasping for our attention, electronica is swiftly moving closer towards the mainstream and getting more exposure than ever before. Every so often you’ll hear of a band who uses a laptop for their drums getting insults thrown at them – so why create music that has none of the typical instruments at all? “As a genre, electronica is pretty limitless. You can go a lot farther into a specific sound and really shape it into something personal and concrete.”
Adam’s inspiration for Owl City is just as unusual as his musical setup: “It sounds terribly corny but there's a video game called Wave Race 64 where you ride jet skis alongside dolphins in beautiful, ocean environments. Something about the mood of that game stuck with me and I wanted to translate that same optimistic, ‘idealist’ imagery into music.” So by now you must be wondering what Owl City actually sounds like? “It's like a garden party in the stars.” Make of that what you will, but make sure you listen before judging. Owl City doesn’t make your predictable teeny-bopper music; there’s a maturity to his style of electronica, with thought-provoking lyrics filled with imagery and metaphors.
Whilst electronica is gaining greater exposure in the UK, with more and more people seduced by it’s beguiling textures, what about in Adam’s hometown of Owatonna, Minnesota? “It's become a bit more accessible over the last several years. Electronic music is certainly not what the Midwest is known for and that makes it all the more interesting to me.”
Adam is the only member of Owl City and the whole idea of an alias may seem a little strange to a lot of people, but he has a good reason for it: “Owl City holds a lot more imagination and emotion than a person's name ever could. I would definitely rather listen to a band called Owl City than Adam Young. (laughs) Adam Young sounds like some horrible smooth jazz musician from the 80's or something.” Adam definitely isn’t a ‘horrible smooth jazz musician from the 80s.’ We hope. So what does the future hold? “I'm really more concerned with the present than the future in terms of the band itself. As long as I'm having fun with it, I'll keep making it regardless of where it takes me.” Here’s hoping it takes him far.
You can check out Adam's music at www.myspace.com/owlcity