Enter to win an OWL CITY meet & greet prize-pack! (NZ ONLY)
OWL CITY is returning to New Zealand to play an all-ages show at the Auckland Town Hall onFriday August 12th - with special guests Breanne Düren and Alaska named as support. Tickets are available now from www.the-edge.co.nz or 0800 289 842.
Coup De Main is delighted to have the opportunity to set up one of our readers on a meet and greet with Owl City’s ADAM YOUNG! If you win this competition, you and a friend will get to meet/greet Owl City, attend his Auckland August 12th show… plus you will also score a copy of the new Owl City album ’All Things Bright and Beautiful’.
To be entered into the draw to win our Owl City meet and greet prize-pack- answer the following question…
Name five things that Owl City photographed in his 2010 New Zealand tour diary for Coup De Main?
With OWL CITY MEET & GREET COMP in the subject box, please e-mail your answer, full name, mobile number and mailing address to: email@example.com TERMS & CONDITIONS: - This competition is only open to people with a New Zealand postal address. - The winner will be chosen from all eligible entries received by Coup De Main before 10:00PM on Sunday August 7th, 2011. The winner is not up for discussion/negotiation. Coup De Main’s judgement is final. Multiple entries per entrant will be accepted. - Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash or other property. The prize is 2x tickets to Owl City’s August 12th 2011 concert at the Auckland Town Hall, x2 Owl City meet and greet passes, and x1 'All Things Bright and Beautiful'album on CD; per competition winner. The prize does not include flights and/or accommodation or any other expenses that the winner may incur from claiming the prize-pack. - Entries belong to Coup De Main Limited and may be used by the company for marketing and promotions. - Coup De Main reserves the right to alter the terms and conditions and all relevant materials/details of this competition, at any point in time.
Interview: Owl City’s Adam Young on Album, Collab with Lights and Relationships
andPOP had an email interview with Adam Young, who talked about collaborating with Canadian singer, Lights, keeping in touch with friends and writing about personal relationships.
“Some are true, some are fabricated, some are metaphorical, some are written entirely from the imagination,” said the Minnesota native. “The only songs I’ve ever written 100% accurate to a very personal relationship of mine is a melancholy piano ballad entitled called Lonely Lullaby.”
Young said the song Lonely Lullaby is about his ex-girlfriend Ann Marie who he described as the “most wonderful, beautiful woman” he knew.
He was “madly in love with everything about her” and said she had a huge impact on his life.
Maybe communication was the reason their relationship didn’t last.
“Ironically I’m too shy to webcam with friends, or even family for that matter. I’m not much for phone calls or texting either. Communicating is just not something I’m crazy about. I’d rather communicate through music.”
When asked about All Things Bright and Beautiful, Owl City’s latest album, Young said that he wishes his music could portray the “pure and perfect dreams” his “imagination so effortlessly captures.” But translating what’s in one’s mind isn’t the easiest of tasks.
“I wanted the record to feel extremely innocent because of my innate fascination with all things that are pure and beautifully innocent. Nature might be the most perfect form of innocence I can think of and that’s ultimately why the album is very “forest/countryside” themed,” said Young.
As a multi-instrumentalist and producer, Young spent a lot of time polishing his “craft as an engineer” before worrying about writing lyrics or arranging songs.
“Rather than turn knobs without knowing what they do, this time around I made sure I really knew the gear I had in the studio before diving into the songwriting part of the process,” said Young. “The record is a notch up for me with respect to production, I’m really happy with how it turned out and I’m very excited about the next chapter in this wild and crazy story known as Owl City.”
While writing The Yacht Club, a dance track, Young decided that the track needed a “breathy, whimsical, dreamy female vocalist.” Guess who popped into his mind? Our very own Lights! And good choice too. For Young, it was a dream come true to work with her.
I have a thing about bug zappers because they forever changed the sound of sweet summer evenings filled with frog choruses and cricket refrains to sudden insect electric death. Ironically“glockenspiel” is way more fun to say than to play.
And it was all… just a dream…
She was trying to teach me how to dance and it was really awkward but I didn’t care because she was beautiful and exquisite and endearing and I was so in love with her, I didn’t care about being embarrassed. The walls were painted pitch black, the lights were low and there wasn’t any music playing but there were throngs of people everywhere and a man with a beard kept asking me a lot of questions. He reminded me of Gandalf the Grey and I smiled inwardly because I’m a dork. I sang and played my heart out that night and I just couldn’t contain the sparkling cocktail of wide smiles and bright eyes that poured out of me because things felt so right and pure in that definitive moment.
She surprised me. She was waiting for me. She threw her arms around my neck and I held her close and felt her giggle with happiness, the kind of joy you can’t hold back no matter how hard you try. But why would anyone try?
The street bikes and motorcycles were a bit much but that didn’t really bother me. It was the right place for them, actually, the right kind of setting so I guess that made me sort of the oddball. I remember people yelling at each other over airwaves and cell phones and it was pretty intense for a moment, but you know me, I just tried to stay out of the way. I’ve never liked confrontation. I remember she had a pretty summer dress on and a flower in her hair and I remember the way her perfume made my insides freeze and spiderweb crack like dry ice before bursting into a million tiny crystal shards that clawed the rungs of my ribs and burned butterfly prints on the inside of my chest. I loved her and I couldn’t wait to see her because it had been so long since I’d held her in my arms. She was the last thing I expected to happen to me, but there she was and it made me believe that pure and sudden bliss was not a rare anomaly. Moving on is simple, it’s what you leave behind that makes things difficult.
Then the lights clicked off as the last box was loaded into the truck and I said a handful of warm goodbyes to people I’d never met before. A nice pair of parents were there with a car and I remember driving home, exhausted, drained, dog-tired, but quite content and exhilarated. It was dark outside and the hum of interior cab noise made me sleepy as the moon followed outside my window. I remember holding hands with her in the dark.
Now there’s something sharp in my wrist and I think it’s the same thing inside my mouth. There’s a sharp coiled cable running from the light to the wall and a soft place to put things nearby but I never really use it. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget something important when it’s time to leave, and there are few things worse than realizing you’ve lost something for good, whatever it may be. I’ve never been fond of leaving, except for perhaps leaving bittersweet the warehouse after a long day or the dentist’s chair after a tortuous hour. Those kinds of departures are enjoyable and I always tend to drive faster and sing louder post-appointment, but I feel like there are many kinds of “leaving” and most of them tend to be tiresome.
Sometimes I purposefully forget to turn the lights out when I leave so that when I return home, it feels like someone is expecting me. Sometimes it’s nice to feel expected, the same as it’s nice to feel unreachable from time to time. We always talked about doing so many things, going so many places, seeing and feeling and tasting so many flavors of emotion and scenario, some of them we did in fact experience, others we just never got around to. It feels distant and hazy and pretty miserable at times, but all the more reason to cling tight to what is true and real and sustaining. Missing someone is like a bad dream you can’t wake yourself up from.
But the glass shatters in a cool way and I love imagining what it would be like to repel off the side of skyscrapers in Hong Kong or fight crime in Gotham City or spend all my weekends as two different people. Laura is buying clothes somewhere in LA right now and I need to figure out how to enjoy the atmosphere because it would be silly to wake up anxious. There are so many places to hide out here, so many pieces of driftwood and bits of palm trees that cleverly conceal the most beautiful fish. It’s easy to think they might go largely unnoticed but I’m sure this is not the case. I just do my own thing and try not to bother anybody.
It’s funny how time can manipulate and stretch itself like a contortionist. I feel like yesterday was this afternoon. Now I’m lying on a deep royal purple and there are eyes everywhere but it’s a thrilling feeling. Meetings float like battleships on the near horizon and I have to take sleeping pills at night or else I’ll miss everything. I like these quiet secret moments unless of course I must fly somewhere or wake up early. I took the tour and it seemed like a lovely place, full of good people and great ideas but I always catch myself thinking about what lies just beneath the surface. Sometimes I prefer not to know.
A billion emotions are buzzing in and around my mind like a psychiatric beehive institution, a crawling traffic jam of bedlam and chaos. Except these thoughts aren’t cute fuzzy little bumblebees with wooly mittens and happy faces, these are awkward, disoriented hornets that aren’t sure where to go or how to get there. It’s an unsettling feeling and sometimes I’m just a lightheaded worker bee who can’t find a place to land. Everything is spinning and my heart beats twice as fast as it should, making tonight an emotional triathlon of which I’m underprepared and totally undertrained for. I’m not entirely sure what’s happening and I don’t believe I could stop this race if I wanted to. My two-stroke heart is pumping double-time and I’m running faster than my legs can carry me, but the scary thing is that I’m not sure where the finish line lies, or if I’m even pointed in the right direction.
The color grey was charming and the blue was intoxicating but I didn’t care; both were so unbelievably gorgeous, I just sat there stunned, staggered, debilitated.
What do I do? Where do we go from here? Everything is split down the middle and I need more wisdom than I thought.
It was a sweatshirt-weather kind of night in California and I remember the way those big green and blue letters stood out like bright neon monoliths in the deepening midnight. She had a red convertible waiting for us in the parking lot and the top was down… actually I don’t think the top even worked at all because I remember us talking and laughing about what we would do if it started raining on us. It was the most natural thing in the world, yet I might be a liar if you asked me now. I remember the stars were quiet and faint because of the layer cake of light pollution above us but still, everything about that night was stunning, by every and all definitions of the word. I could feel the glow of the dash on my face, the flutter of the music in my ears and the swift whip of the sea air in my hair. We put our hands up to see how long we could hold them out before they became ice cubes and I loved feeling wind-tossed because it felt like horizontal sky diving. We raced along the coast in the darkness and wound up on a secret beach somewhere with apple cider and a blanket. I still can’t believe what happened was real because everything about that night was too eloquent for words. I don’t recall speaking or listening, I just remember feeling, processing, sensing, experiencing, living deeply, breathing it all in.
How I wish I could return to that night sometimes. Just for fun, just for a few minutes, just now and again.
Still, that scarf had a charm of its own and that makes me feel a bit better about things.
From turning knobs to making melodies: the man behind Owl City
Owl City recently released a new album called “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and will be playing at Club Nokia on Thursday. Adam Young (the man behind Owl City) spoke with Daily Bruin’s Andrew Bain about his writing process, his new album and his hopes for the future.
Daily Bruin: What is your writing process?
Adam Young: It’s usually 95 to 99 percent starting with melodies. I guess I tend to noodle around with lyrics forever because of the way the initial vocal lines are all mapped out with the synth or with the piano or something like that … so, sometimes I need a two-syllable word and all I can think of is a one-syllable word. Sometimes it’s tedious.
DB: Do you ever consciously decide to think of a melody, or do they tend to just pop into your head?
AY: I find that the more I try to sit down and tell myself, “I’m going to sit down and I’m going to write this great, catchy melody,” I feel like I always walk away feeling empty-handed versus the times where I’m absentmindedly (sitting) at the keyboard or at the synth and messing around and not even paying attention to what I’m doing. Sometimes, I’ll be on the phone and my left hand will be just playing garbage on the keyboard and then I’ll say, “I have to call you back because I just thought of this really cool melody, I have to record this and get this down.”
DB: You’ve said that you had a much more concrete idea of what you wanted the sound of “All Things Bright and Beautiful” to be as opposed to your previous work. Can you elaborate on that?
AY: I wanted to make sure that I knew all the ins and outs of studio gear, so I made sure that I knew every kind of control … so that I knew what sound to get and how to (produce it) versus just turning knobs and not knowing what’s going on, which is kind of the way I’ve always done it. (I also made) sure that this new album was very big and very polished and … older and wiser sounding. (I also tried) to make sure that the songs felt very genuine, very heartfelt and … cohesive.
DB: Since you’re primarily recording everything alone, how do you think that process is a different experience than musicians who record with a producer?
AY: The whole vibe I get alone in a creative atmosphere without a producer or … a mix (of different people) – something about having all that positive pressure on my own shoulders – has always been really inspiring to me versus really daunting. And, I always feel like I work best under some sort of a crunch. That’s why I’ve always opted to do what I do as a solo thing – … everything aside from mastering, I do on my own at my own speed. I guess it just feels right, and ironically the only creative atmosphere I’ve ever really known has been by myself alone in a basement.
DB: How does your musical experience change live, when you have a backing band instead of being on your own?
AY: As far as live (performance) and playing with all the musicians, that’s also been a new thing for me – the idea of having other people on stage … to play all these other parts that are on the record that … I can’t … cover. So, whenever it comes time to switch gears from studio mode to touring mode, it’s always a big fun adjustment.
DB: Does producing music get overwhelming at times? Do you ever need to take a break from music?
AY: I always tell myself “OK, I’m done with the new Owl City record, I’m going to not think about music, I’m not going to open Pro Tools for two weeks.” Then, later that day, I’ll be down in the studio messing around with something. I just can’t keep away from it.
DB: Where do you see your music career headed in five years?
AY: I’d love to be able to say that I would see myself … composing and writing scores or just working with film … maybe assisting a composer or programming synth lines for an action movie. But I guess, more practically, if I can just keep doing what I’m doing, honestly, because what I’m doing is such a dream come true for me.
Electro-pop performer Owl City is swooping into Orem on July 13th for a night of music at the UCCU Center on campus.
Since 2007, Owl City, the solo project of singer/songwriter Adam Young, has been gaining fans, primarily through its Myspace page. After releasing two albums on his own, Young signed with Universal Republic and released his best-known album to date, Ocean Eyes, in 2009. This album featured the quadruple-platinum hit Fireflies, which received extensive radio play.
Fans of Owl City can expect a fantastic show on the 13th. Adam Young is known as one of the friendliest touring performers today and loves to form friendships with his audiences. “There has always been a mood that I want to convey via sound, which is optimism,” Young said on his video “Road Stories”. Fans seem to agree. You can’t listen to Owl City without feeling happy, bouncing around, and generally enjoying life.
Owl City came through Utah once before in 2010 to promote Ocean Eyes. With the release of All Things Bright and Beautiful, the sophomore album from Owl City, fans get another chance to rock out with Adam Young and his backing band made up of “friends and friends of friends.”
Owl City: Driving DeLorean from 'Back to the Future' Was 'A Dream Come True'
Pamela LittkyOwl City’s Adam Young
On the eve of his late-night debut, bedroom electronica tinkerer Adam Young also talks about making it in music despite remarkable odds. “For a small-town boy, it’s crazy,” says the Minnesota native.
For a guy who’s toured with Maroon 5 and topped the pop the charts in over ten countries (including the U.S.), Owl City, aka Adam Young, hasn’t had a lot of luck getting on the radio or scoring a much-coveted slot on late night television.
But that’s about to change as Young makes his late-night debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live this Wednesday.
“TV stuff has always been scary to me,” the Minnesota resident said last week in between dates on a busy U.S. tour. “Owl City live is a lot less ‘intimate’ in the sense of whispery molasses-sweet vocals and delicate synth filaments, so I’m sure the loud rock element [on Kimmel’s stage] will suit me just fine.”
Young’s surprising success is now something of legend in the indie rock world. The 25-year-old first found fans on Myspace circa 2006. Despite the fact he had no record label at the time, the purveyor of bedroom electronica along the lines of acts such as The Postal Service managed to crack the upper echelons of Billboard’s Dance/Electonica album chart with his debut Of June back in 2007.
Since then, Owl City’s career has been on a skyward trajectory, with several notable stops on his way up (signing with Universal Republic, platinum certification for his 2009 release Ocean Eyes, and inclusion of that record’s surprise smash “Fireflies” on a commercial for Sony).
As of late last month, Ocean Eyes has sold 1,036,000 albums and 6,298,000 digital songs — a staggering number considering many American music fans over 30 haven’t even heard of Owl City.
Yet Young isn’t ready to rest until even more are won over by his breezy brand of electro-pop. He still tours as if he’s an indie artist attempting to woo new fans. “I live in a small town in Minnesota so I love traveling and seeing the world,” he says. “The shows [this summer] have been a blast and the new songs have been going over really well. I’m so thankful I get to tour the world during a time when the music industry is as shaky as it is.”
This month, Owl City continues his U.S. trek (he plays July 21 at Los Angeles’ Club Nokia) before heading abroad next month and into the fall, where he will morph into true popstar mode, playing dates in cities such as Osaka, Auckland, Sydney, London, Paris and even Jakarta, Indonesia.
“Outside the States, the band is absolutely massive in Indonesia and the Philippines. For a small-town boy, it’s crazy,” he says. “Every night it seems more and more people are singing the words along with me,” he says of the current tour. “I love performing a new song and watching the reactions on people’s faces. Some listen intently, others don’t know what to do, and some just grin the entire time. It makes me happy.”
A growing part of Young’s success in reaching new fans is his collection of clips that remain hot on You Tube. Late last month, the artist dropped his latest video for “Deer in the Headlights,” which is already at nearly a million streams.
“I can’t believe I got to drive the actual DeLorean from the old films… I texted my friends and made them quite jealous.” — Adam Young
“It was a collaborative idea between my director and myself,” Young said of the clip, which seems ripped from the script of Back to the Future. “We came up with some incredible concepts, pulling from Back to the Future and the 80s in general. Shooting the video was a blast and I can’t believe I got to drive the actual DeLorean from the old films. As a big fan of the trilogy, it was kind of a dream come true. I texted my friends and made them quite jealous.”
So how does the singer, which still texts his pals in the Midwest, feel about never leaving the tiny Minnesota town where he grew up in, despite major label success? One might think at this point it’s becoming harder to stay the same person, after world tours and television appearances, but Young says not much has changed and that he prefers to stay in Owatonna.
“I love my little hometown and I wouldn’t live anywhere else if I had all the money in the world,” he said. “It’s familiar, comfortable, friendly, unpretentious, safe and secure… basically the furthest thing from LA or NYC. I enjoy visiting big cities whenever I’m out on the road but you couldn’t pay me to live in any of them. There’s just nothing there for me. I love the woods, the meadows, the open fields, the rolling hills and no amount of sushi bars or hipster boutiques could replace them,” he adds.
Tantalizingly, Young told THR last month he writes in [dance music production software program] Logic and that in the future he may offer up a few tracks that veer more in a traditional dance music vein.
“My favorite DJ in the entire world is Armin van Buuren and I’d love to work with him again. He and I wrote a song from his current record Mirage and it was a total dream come true for me,” he said. “I’d love to do more stuff with trance DJs in general because I’m absolutely crazy about how beautifully epic and progressive trance often is. I write a lot of big sweeping DJ/dance tracks in Logic and it’s a world I’d love to immerse myself in.”
What is musician Adam Young all about? What makes him tick? It is well documented that Young, the founder of Owl City, is an only child from a small Minnesota town who makes music in his parents’ basement and is more introverted than extroverted.
Young, however, is so much more than just those simple facts. Inspired by daydreams, Young is a creative optimist. This uplifting, positive outlook on life is refreshing and Young incorporates it into music that makes you feel good. Young’s poetic lyrics and catchy melodies of synthesized sound capture a whimsical happiness that you can’t help but find yourself humming.
In 2009 Young released his first album, Ocean Eyes, through Universal Republic Records and the hit single off of that album, “Fireflies,” was a huge success becoming the iTunes single of the week and one of its most downloaded songs. While such success might change a person, Young hasn’t let it interfere with what he still finds important: Keeping a sense of humor and making art in the form of music with a hopeful message. With an upcoming tour and his sophomore album, All Things Bright and Beautiful, just released June 14,2011, Young has been extremely busy, but he continues to stay true to his beliefs. Things certainly do look bright for Owl City.
OMN had the opportunity to exchange an email with Young just before his new album debuted.
Tell me a little bit about your background and what role music played in your childhood.
Music was somewhat evasive where I grew up, merely because any kind of “scene” is usually nonexistent or at least incredibly weak in a small town. I spent my childhood doing the usual boyish “outside” things — sports, skateboarding, cars, etc. Music popped up out of nowhere and bit me on the nose when a friend of mine got a sequencing software program called FL Studio and suddenly all the sports and typical boy stuff went out the window. I couldn’t stay away from the computer and all I wanted to do was create. The itch developed into what it is today — an insatiable drive to imagine, create and perform eccentric art in the form of music.
Explain the origin of the title of your new album out June 14th, All Things Bright And Beautiful. Where did that name come from? Does it relate to any stories behind some of the tracks?
I basically had a dream that told me to name the album “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” I don’t remember anything profound about it, I just remember waking up one morning and thinking, “That’s it!” I believe the title sums up each song on the album in a conclusive way and present the entire body of work in an appropriate way. The album is a bit of an escapist piece of work and the title mirrors that nicely in my opinion.
Your lyrics are like individual poems. What is the process that you go through when creating a song in terms of both the writing and the music?
Music always comes first to the degree of actually finishing entire songs from top to bottom before I’ve even written one word or have any idea of what the given track should be about. Other times I’ll have ideas floating around in my mind for a few days or weeks and I’ll put them down on paper and study them until I strike an idea that feels interesting enough to tackle musically. But basically it’s just about writing melodies first and foremost and worrying about lyrics after. I have a lot more I want to say with music than I do via lyrics.
What do you hope listeners will take away from your music?
I want people to feel shivers of wonder, marvel, fascination, curiosity and beauty. I want listeners to feel like they can go anywhere, do anything, or be anyone in perfect places that can only exist in the mind. I want to encourage the imagination.
Check out the video for “Fireflies“ below:
What do you struggle with as a musician?
Sometimes when I’m going through a dry spell and can’t seem to come up with a melody or a lyric I’m proud of, I feel like saying “Do I still have it? Have I lost it?” but of course that’s very natural of an artist and I just have to muscle through the uncertainty and focus on the art, not whether I can write a catchy melody on command or not.
Explain what you meant by your blog quote: “Reality is a lovely place, but I wouldn’t want to live there?” Is this a life philosophy?
For me, there’s nothing more inspiring than the imagination. Thus, in a manner of speaking, reality is a pretty nice place to spend time, but it’s not somewhere I’d want to live in permanently. I feel most inspired and uplifted when I allow my daydreams to carry me places I could never reach or allow me to do things I could never do in real life. Daydreaming is my escape, my way of dealing with life. Music is the result my “reality management.”
What would you like people to know about you that no one knows about you right now?
I would like everyone to know that I just bought a pair of gym shorts yesterday that RULE. I haven’t owned an actual pair of legitimate shorts since I was in junior high so this is a big deal.