Owl City's Adam Young talks new dance sound and change
Owl City’s Adam Young tells NovaFM about the new direction that his music has taken on his fourth album, The Midsummer Station, and what it means for him and his fans.
Owl City burst into the public realm in 2010 with the bubbly “Fireflies”, a sugary slice of electronic pop that took the world by storm with its sweetness and innocence.
Fast forward to 2012 and Adam Young, the man behind the moniker, is changing things up a little. Though his new album, The Midsummer Station, retains some of that charming sound – just listen to his Carly Rae Jepsen collaboration, “Good Time”, for proof – the feel and influences of his music have shifted.
“It’s more dance influenced than any record I’ve put out before,” Young explains. “It’s got a little bit of edge to it that’s a new thing, a little bit of an undercurrent, a little bit more melancholy to it.
“I’m a huge fan of European trance music, like a lot of Dutch DJ trance music – big progression, eight-minute long rises and falls. I love that stuff, so while it’s not a trance record by any means, it’s still influenced by the production behind it. There’s lots of 128bpm house grooves… I’ve been really inspired by that sort of stuff.”
Young alerted fans to the new sound by releasing an EP, Shooting Star, a few months before The Midsummer Station dropped – a way for him also to explain his new direction a little before the full-length was released.
“I wanted to put the EP out as a heads up to fans just to say, ‘I’m kind of trying new stuff, here’s four songs from the record and I think each of the four songs are different from each other in ways that I think sum up the record’,” he explains.
“I wanted to put it first online, on blogs, to say, ‘here’s what I’m thinking, here’s why the music is different, it’s not the record label trying to make me put out songs that sound more commercial, it’s not any of that stuff – this is what I want to do’.”
Young shares that some fans, especially those who’ve backed Owl City from the very beginning, have reacted to the new sound with uncertainty – but, as he says, “nobody has been incredibly negative about it… I think fans understand that an artist has that license to try new things, and that’s what music is all about, to experiment with new flavours and new ideas and to keep experimenting.
“Given today’s technology and how everything is so immediate and easy to share, I think it’s easy for that to come across.”