Purchase your virtual ticket now to watch a behind the scenes look at Owl City’s world tour which airs Monday, October 31st at 4pm EST/1pm PST. Only 50 cents! Purchase your virtual ticket no later than 3pm EST/12pm PST on October 31st and come back on Monday, October 31st at 4pm EST/1pm PST and you will be granted access to the very first Galaxycast!
(iOS user note: for the best experience possible use the Owl City Galaxy website or Facebook App on your computer to purchase and watch the documentary. If you watch on iOS, then make sure to use WiFi for the best quality possible).
Click the above link and write-in your votes for Owl City. Here are the categories to vote for him in and what to write in:
Favorite Male Artist: Owl City Favorite Song of the Year: Deer In the Headlights by Owl City Favorite Album of the Year: All Things Bright and Beautiful by Owl City Favorite Pop Artist: Owl City Favorite Band: Owl City Favorite Music Video: Deer In the Headlights by Owl City Favorite Tour Headliner: Owl City
If you’re a fan of Minnesota native Adam Young’s Owl City, you’re likely a fan of Toronto’s LIGHTS. The two artists have been good friends for several years now. Over the summer she appeared in his video for the song “Deer in the Headlights,” which portrayed the sometimes reclusive Young in a different vein. To be in the shoot, LIGHTS took a break from recording her latest album, Siberia, which has since been released. Fans of her brilliant debut, 2009’s The Listening, will find this album a little different — it’s a grittier palette of electronic pop, courtesy of collaboration with fellow Canadians Holy Fuck. In advance of her sold-out show at the Triple Rock this Friday, we caught up with LIGHTS to chat about her new album and her Minnesotan pal.
Gimme Noise: Siberia is out at long last. LIGHTS: Yes, it feels great!
Why Siberia? Were you feeling particularly desolate while creating it? You know it’s funny, my perception of Siberia is a little different than the common reference you think of when you hear that word. Creating this record was really exciting after spending some time shedding those expectations of a first record and not wanting to make the same thing over again. I really wanted to try something new and push the music and really make the music I enjoy listening to instead of making the first record over again. So we found this new kind of sound happening with dubstep elements in music and brought in Holy F***. I don’t know if I can say their full name in print. I brought Holy F*** in to really grind up the record and make it grittier. Once I established this dark new direction it was really was like walking unknown territory. There were moments in the studio when I would get butterflies thinking “wow, this is new. I’ve never heard this before. Totally uncharted land, it’s exciting, adventurous, and bit scary and those are all to me what Siberia is. I’ve always been fascinated with that land.
You are of course one of the top artists making electronic music, but if you go on Spotify, your top tracks are all from the acoustic EP from last year. Do you know why that is? Wow, that’s interesting. Very cool. I think there’s something people are drawn to naturally about music sounding more raw and in its natural state and even with this new record it is electronic, but it’s a lot more live and lot more real than the last record. The songs “Siberia” and “Flux and Flow” for example, those were pulled from our first jam session with Holy F***. This jam sessions were live, the songs were played in live. On the previous album they were laid in track by track and you could perfect them. But there’s a something more real about this one and I think people are drawn to those elements especially now with so much sounding so perfect. You can hear some mistakes.
Like Martin Gore of Depeche Mode always said, the songs have to work in their most basic form. Definitely. And if you can strip something down and the song still shines put whatever the heck you want on it. I actually spent some time away this year just on my own making sure all the songs could translate acoustically and could be performed acoustically, because if you can’t play something like that just on its own what’s holding the song together? Nothing.
You appeared in the video for Owl City’s "Deer in the Headlights" with the less-and-less reclusive Adam Young. What was that like? He’s even come more out of his shell than ever, he’s a amazing. We actually did the shoot in L.A., and he invited me out for the day. It was so fun and he’s always supported me so much. I’d drop anything to go out and help him. I went to L.A. for a day, dealt with L.A. traffic on my own for the first time, and drove a few hours to this canyon in the desert where we shot the video. I pulled up at long last after fighting the worst traffic ever to this spot where there was this little convenient store that looked like it had been abandoned, and a DeLorean, and some gear in the parking lot. I though “this is going to be a fun video.”
And Adam looking like quite the bad ass. He’s looking like a bad ass he really is! He’s really come into his own and I think that’s something I noticed with myself in the past couple of years. You find yourself in it and at the beginning it’s a little rough, but that’s like anything it’s hard, but you get into the path.
You also sang on “Yacht Club” on Owl City’s last album. Was that done over the Internet, or did you guys meet up in a studio? It was the Internet man! That was the basis of how our relationship started in the first place. We met on MySpace and started tweeting each other and all that kind of stuff. It was only fitting that this collaboration took place online. He sent me what he wanted me to sing and I sent it right back to him. I had Shad the rapper from Canada on two tracks [on Siberia], and that was all done via email sending things back and forth. Great collaborations can happen like that nowadays it’s bizarre.
OMD tried that and told us that they wound up writing only three songs in the space of a year. I think for certain collaborations you need that. Even on Skype that might be a complicated thing.
"Day One," which closes the album, is a bit of a departure. What’s the story behind that song? "Day One" is an interesting track. That’s actually the last nine minutes of our first jam session completely live, completely invented as you’re hearing it which is quite the antithesis of electronic music. It’s just us jamming and the next day we came in and listened to that track. We pulled the song "Siberia" and "Everyone Breaks a Glass" from it, and we were sitting around and the sun was setting over Toronto and we were listening to this track. It was the middle of winter, and I said "this is awesome. This is going on the album, I don’t care."
How does it feel finally getting the record out after working on it for so long? The record came out (October 11) and I’ve been having such a good time listening to the feedback on it, hearing what everyone’s favorite track is. It just feels so exciting to see the reaction. I’ve been the only one knowing these songs. It was this little secret you can’t let out, and now I get to hear what everybody’s favorite track is, it’s very cool. For the audio version of this interview, listen to PF’s Tape Recorder Episode 14. It also features an interview with Never Shout Never’s Christofer Drew, and clips from that band’s new album, as well as Siberia.
One of my favorite stories in the world is a short chapter taken from Austrian author Felix Salten’s incredible 1923 novel Bambi, a Life in the Woods. The story of the little deer itself is quite a bit darker and melancholy than the Disney movie, but if you find inspiration in anthropomorphic literature, I highly recommend it. The tale is pure, moral, sterling and virtuous — all things I find rare and unfamiliar among 95% of modern novels on today’s shelves.
Every year about the time the autumn leaves start falling, I digBambi out of my bookshelf because of a chapter concerning two introspective oak leaves entitled, Winter. It’s poignant and beautiful and I wilt and smile at the same time because Salten’s words benevolently remind me that life is fragile and even the smallest moments should be cherished dearly. I like how subjective and sobered I feel after reading the chapter. I can’t wait to read it to my son or daughter someday when he/she inquires about the subject of death (and even more excited to further explain that death isn’t the end for followers of Christ) but that’s another story.
A brilliant radio dramatization of the chapter recorded in the late 50’s by Ted Strasser (audio)
The leaves were falling from the great oak at the meadow’s edge. They were falling from all the trees. One branch of the oak reached high above the others and stretched far out over the meadow. Two leaves clung to its very tip.
“It isn’t the way it used to be,” said one leaf to the other.
“No,” the other leaf answered, “So many of us have fallen off tonight we’re almost the only ones left on our branch.”
“You never know who’s going to be next,” said the first leaf. “Even when it was warm and the sun shone, a storm or a cloudburst would come sometimes and many leaves were torn off, though they were still young. You never know who’s going to be next.”
“The sun seldom shines now,” sighed the second leaf, “and when it does, it gives us no warmth. We must have warmth again.”
“Can it be true,” said the first leaf, “can it really be true that others come to take our places when we’re gone, and after them still others, and more and more?”
“It is really true,” whispered the second leaf. “We can’t even begin to imagine it, it’s beyond our powers.”
“It makes me very sad,” added the first leaf.
They were silent a while.
Then the first leaf said quietly to herself, “Why must we fall?”
The second leaf asked, “What happens to us when we’ve fallen?”
“We sink down.”
“What is under us?”
The first leaf answered, “I don’t know. Some say one thing, some another, but nobody knows.”
The second leaf asked, “Do we feel anything, do we know anything about ourselves when we’re down there?”
The first leaf answered, “Who knows? Not one of all those down there has ever come back to tell us about it.”
They were silent again. Then the first leaf said tenderly to the other, “Don’t worry so much about it, you’re trembling!”
“That’s nothing,” the second leaf answered, “I tremble at the least thing now. I don’t feel so sure of my hold as I used to.”
“Let’s not talk anymore about such things,” said the first leaf.
The other replied, “No, we’ll let be. But — what else shall we talk about?” She was silent, but went on after a little while. “Which of us will… which of us will go first?”
“There’s still plenty of time to worry about that,” the other leaf assured her. “Lets remember how beautiful it was, how wonderful, when the sun came out and shone so warmly that we thought we’d burst with life. Do you remember? And the morning dew and the mild and splendid nights?”
“Now the nights are dreadful,” the second leaf complained, “and there is no end to them.”
“We shouldn’t complain,” said the first leaf gently. “We’ve outlived many, many others.”
“Have I changed much?” asked the second leaf shyly but determinedly.
“Not in the least,” the first leaf assured her. “You only think so because I’ve got to be so yellow and ugly. But it’s different in your case.”
“You’re fooling me,” the second leaf said.
“No, really!” the first leaf exclaimed eagerly, “believe me, you’re as lovely as the day you were born. Here and there may be a little yellow spot, but it’s hardly noticeable and only makes you handsomer, believe me.”
“Thanks,” whispered the second leaf, quite touched. I don’t believe you, not altogether, but I thank you because you’re so kind. You’ve always been so kind to me. I’m just beginning to understand how kind you are.
“Hush,” said the other leaf, and kept silent herself, for she was too troubled to talk anymore.
Then they were both silent. Hours passed.
A moist wind blew, cold and hostile through the treetops.
“Ah, now,” said the second leaf, “I…”
And then her voice broke off. She was torn from her place and spun down.
Q:When and where did you first see a spark of being famous?
Adam:Truthfully, I never saw it coming. I worked in a warehouse, I went to school for nothing, I drove around at night thinking about the girl I had a crush on (and the one I still can't get over) -- I was nobody then, and I'm nobody now. Music allows me to be something important but it's not who I am, it's what I do. I am not famous, or rather, I don't really want to be famous in the way American media defines a "celebrity" as someone so untouchable that you can't even "earn" his or her attention -- as if that would be moral by anyone's standards. I just want to make music. I just want to be myself.
“We had SO much fun with the “Happily Ever After” singing contest a while ago that we felt we HAD to do it again with “All About Us.” Download the track with just Rachel or just Adam and record your own version!
After you finish your cover, post it as a response on this video or send us a link (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Top 5 Winners will get tickets to see us live and merch! Grand Prize Winner gets a VIP experience at a show, their video tweeted by us and a phone call from us. Possibly even more goodies!! Who doesn’t love goodies?!!”
Q: What do you use to make your music? Which programs, especially for your voice?
A: I used Reason exclusively for Ocean Eyes but I’ve been working a lot more in Logic and Pro Tools recently, Logic for production/sequencing and Pro Tools for mixing. I like both environments a lot but both have pros and cons. I like Melodyne for vocals.
Hi. This is what I’m going to be doing for the next five weeks:
Minneapolis Chicago London Hong Kong Osaka Nagoya Tokyo Seoul Manila Jakarta Honolulu Flagstaff Oklahoma City Omaha Waukesha St. Louis Louisville Cedarville Allentown Sayreville Norfolk Washington DC Cleveland Grand Rapids
So much flying.
My friend Anna let me borrow the first book of the Inheritance Cycleseries by Christopher Paolini. Nothing like a solid high fantasy to get lost in while sitting in the sky. I’m excited to start reading. I’m excited to begin imagining.
And I don’t know if this can be used for separate pictures but, if you want to, please let me know :)
And in case you can’t read the green box because it looks a bit tricky to read: “It’s important to me that girls I date like animals as it shows that they have a heart and they’re a sweet, caring person. If I had a girlfriend who hated my pet I’d have to sit down and make a choice between her or the pet. It’d be hard! If my pet liked her more than me, as long as she was the one I was going to marry it’d be okay, but if we were breaking up and the pet loved her more than me it’d be pretty heartbreaking - like twice the heartbreak!”
Courtesy of Smash
Adam Young, otherwise known as the electronic pop artist Owl City, wasn’t prepared for the quadruple-platinum success of his 2009 hit single “Fireflies.” But how do you ready yourself for the kind of attention generated by 50 million YouTube hits?
“At the time this started to catch fire, I hadn’t really done anything to prepare for what was to come,” he answers down the line from his hometown of Owatonna, Minnesota, where he found success writing songs in his folks’ basement. “I did play in a handful of local bands in high school in people’s basements and coffee shops, but that was about the only experience I’d had performing.”
Young adds that he was the least likely of candidates for a whirlwind pop career. “I am a very introverted, homebody of a guy,” he says. “The first time I flew on an airplane was when I went to New York. But the first show I played as Owl City, I showed up at a sold-out room of about 700 people and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, despite it being terrifying, that was so much fun.’ I called my manager and told him, ‘if there is a way, I want to keep doing this.’”
As small as his ambitions may have initially been, Young’s songs had the effortlessly catchy hooks, the clever, idiosyncratic lyrics, and easily digestible electronic pop signatures—he cites US band The Postal Service and Europop as influences—that allowed them to resonate worldwide.
What he did need was an avenue to reach beyond rural Minnesota—something that MySpace provided in spades at the time of its peak penetration around 2007. “When the music started to connect with people,” he says about nights spent uploading songs after finishing his day job loading Coke onto trucks, “I thought, ‘I am going to do everything I can to make this music thing work for as long as I can, because I really don’t love the whole warehouse lifestyle.’”
With this sudden success, Young moved out of his folks’ place—but he decided to stick with his hometown. “It feels so right for me that I never found myself entertaining the thought of moving anywhere else,” he says. “Whenever I’m in a big city on tour—a place like New York or LA—it just feels too big. My hometown really is just a perfect match.”
Young returns for a second tour of Japan with his new album All Things Bright and Beautiful, the follow-up to his 2009 smash Ocean Eyes. While not charting as consistently, it’s still generating millions of views on YouTube.
Among its songs is the upbeat and overtly religious “Galaxies.” Young’s Christianity is likely lost on Japanese listeners, but it’s something he doesn’t attempt to hide. “For me, the fact is that I’m a person of faith and that my faith has always been very influential in my life,” he explains. “I feel like if I were ever to mask that fact, it would be almost a crime. It’s never been something that I’ve wanted to go out and preach to somebody, but for me it’s always been influential on the art I create.”
What words of advice does one of the early social networking stars have for those who would follow in his footsteps? “I would say make sure that you are creating the sort of music you want to hear both as an artist and as the audience,” he answers.
“I’ve tried to make sure I’m writing heartfelt and pure songs, regardless of whether radio stations or record labels are into them.”
Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears (eyes); For I have come to bring tidings of joy through Owl City’s monthly newsletter.
The Tourist Has Returned Home.
After five weeks and tens of thousands of miles traveled, we’ve finally wrapped up the UK and European legs of the All Things Bright and Beautiful World Tour. Each and every night, I find myself at an utter loss for words as I step out on that stage thousands of miles from home and hear you singing the words to my songs. For that, I thank you.
For those of you who we haven’t seen yet - fear not! We have plenty more stops to make.
More, More, and Some More.
In just over a week, my friends and I are off again once more - this time to Asia - on the next leg of the All Things Bright and Beautiful World Tour. After a fewdates inJapan, we’re off to South Korea , the Philippines, and lets not forget Indonesia.
We’ll make a stop over in Hawaii for some fun and sun before returning to the balmyNovember weather as we wrap up this six month stretch in North America.
Live From Los Angeles
Friends, a few months ago I teased about OWL CITY: Live from Los Angeles - recorded this past July at Club Nokia. A special sneaky preview is available now for your viewing pleasure.
You’ll be able to downlaod OWL CITY: Live from Los Angeles on iTunes beginning December 6, and keep your eyes peeled later this year for an official DVD release date and relive the magic of our summer headlining tour right on your own DVD player!
MAINFRAME: Locked and Loaded.
It seems to me that a lot of people have been brought together by the music I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to share with the world, and thus I introduce to you something I call, “THE MAINFRAME" — a place where Owl City friends and admirers can share their tremendous talents and creativity with the rest of the world.
e recognized — because artistry itself is far too profound to remain unnoticed.
At shows, people often hand me Owl City inspired artwork they’ve created and I’ve been absolutely BLOWN AWAY night after night at how much talent is out there — but also bummed because so much of it goes unnoticed. “THE MAINFRAME" is my attempt at allowing this creativity to b
Head on over to “THE MAINFRAME" and share your creativity with the world.
As always, there are tons of new items in the Official Owl City Store. Be sure you’re checking back regularly as styles are constantly added.
For those of you who are looking for a bit of extra incentive, be sure to check out #FIVEDOLLARFRIDAYS every Friday this month where we price items at only $5 for one day only.
Until next time, Adam
Last June Mat Kearney handed me a small box someone had given him to give to me.
Inside was a large metal rivet.
My favorite place in the whole world is Canal Park in Duluth, Minnesota, and possibly my favorite thing in the whole world is the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge perched on the harbor. The view of Sydney Harbor from inside the dentist’s office in Finding Nemo is a spitting image of Duluth, but perhaps a bit more “industrial” and a lot more Midwestern. Duluth is my safe haven, my sanctuary, if you can call it that. There’s a certain flower garden in the hills overlooking Duluth I might attempt to convince my future bride to marry me in (if she’s not into Howth, Ireland). But that’s another story.
What was this mysterious rivet? It didn’t dawn on me until I read the handwritten note included in the box.
A very sweet girl from Virginia somehow knew of my love for the bridge and actually took the time and energy to contact a local Duluth gift shop to purchase an ACTUAL rivet taken from the bridge during maintenance (the last one the shop had), and ultimately place it in my hands via the hands of Mat Kearney.
Totally amazing. I screamed like a girl.
She also included this:
I now own a piece of my favorite thing in the entire world. How many people can say that?! How am I supposed to talk about this without smiling from ear to ear? This is a big deal.
Dear Ashely from Alexandria, Virginia — thank you from the bottom of my heart for the rivet. I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and am honored to be the recipient of such a treasure. You have the gift of encouragement.