Adam Young is not your average musician. He is an artist, songwriter, producer and founder of the electronic project, Owl City. His songs have garnered mainstream success globally. His debut major album, Ocean Eyes debuted at No. 27 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum. His latest project, All Things Bright and Beautiful was released last year debuting at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. In this interview, he talks to Harry Itie about his new album, his creative process and his guilty pleasure. Enjoy
YADA: It has been over six months since the release of “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. How has the experience been for you?
ADAM: Good and busy. I have not had a day off in over a year but it is healthy to stay busy. My new record has just come back from mastering and I am over the moon for people to hear it because it is so different from anything I have ever done.
YADA: From Ocean Eyes to All Things and now to your new album, how has your sound evolved?
ADAM: It has become a lot bigger and brighter. The new record is a dance record — very much influenced by my love of European club tracks and the great Dutch DJ’s of the past ten years. The radio world in America is super club heavy right now as well so that was an indirect influence as well.
YADA: Talk to us for a bit about the new album.
ADAM: It is a bit more accessible than my previous records, it is easier to wrap your mind around and I think easier for people to grasp conceptually. I really let my imagination go nuts without any sort of focus on my past few records and this one is much more focused and intentional. I spent a lot of time writing and rewriting, making endless changes over the past 6 months working on this album which was something I didn’t do on Ocean Eyes or Bright and Beautiful — I put down the first thing that came to my mind on those records and I think they went over a lot of people’s heads.
YADA: Talk to us a bit about I Hope You Think of Me. What inspired the song?
ADAM: Just a conceptual song about a break-up. It’s funny how people think of me as an incredibly happy guy based on the sounds and brush strokes of my records, and while that is very true, I feel like I’m sometimes misunderstood (much like any artist) and it always makes me smile when people question my motives for writing sad songs. I enjoy masking melancholy songs with optimistic melodies but this one is out and out sad and I quite like experimenting with things like that.
YADA: What is your creative process like?
ADAM: I produce loads and loads of tracks and then I pick through them and endlessly revise them until I’ve got something I can write lyrics and melodies over. The process is always the same and I do not think I’ve ever written a lyric before a melody. That is the way it’s always been.
YADA: Which artist(s) were your music influences growing up?
ADAM: Elton John, Enya, Michael Jackson, The Talking Heads, New Order, Depeche Mode, Aphex Twin.
YADA: Who are the artists and producers you hope to collaborate with in the future and why
ADAM: I really want to collaborate with dance artists. There is something magical to me about dance production — how it can be so big, polished, and imaginative. I love how epic trance music can feel and I really want to be a part of that.
YADA: Can you talk to us a bit about the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign and the original song called ‘Here’s Hope.’
ADAM: It was very cool opportunity to join with ConAgra and spread the word about a campaign that I feel is shockingly relevant to our culture. I recorded the song Here’s Hope to help spread the news and it was an honour to be involved with the project.
YADA: Are you planning any international tours soon? Possibly a visit to Nigeria.
ADAM: I hope so.
Current songs on your playlist. There’s a band called Tycho with a new record called “Dive” that is blowing my mind. A lot of Enya and John Mayer.
Last movie you saw. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Last book you read. The Bible
Favourite Bible Verse. Col 3:1-4
Guilty Pleasure. Johnsonville cheese brats
To listen to Adam’s version of In Christ Alone, click here