This article is from Issue 53: Sept/Oct 2011

Owl City

In 2009, Owl City’s hit single, “Fireflies,” was all over the radio, but no one seemed to know where the band’s sole member, Adam Young, had come from—or how he’d made a platinum-selling album. Th e answer was a small town in Minnesota, and Young’s music was the result of insomnia and a lot of time in his parents’ basement. He’s also a vocal and committed Christian. His new album, All Things Bright and Beautiful, released in June, and we recently spoke with Young about the new record, his dream collaboration, his faith and if he ever has a bad day.

Your last album, Ocean Eyes, was a platinum-selling success, and it earned you quite a fan following. How do you think All Things Bright and Beautiful is a new and different direction for Owl City?

I think aesthetically, I think tonally it feels a little bit more conclusive, or a little bit more resolved than Ocean Eyes. Mainly just because I spent a lot of time polishing my craft. Everything I do comes out of my basement, and I always forget how much work it takes to make a record when you’re just one guy in a basement. I spent a long time working with gear, and with lyric variations, and all around I think this new record sounds a little bit older and wiser.

All Things Bright and Beautiful refers to a hymn of the same name. Why did that resonate with you?

It was kind of an idea I had floating around for a while. I was definitely familiar with the hymn, and also the James Herriot book [All Things Bright and Beautiful]. The way I arrive at an album title differs depending on what’s going on and what strikes me on a given day. So for this record, I actually had this mile-long text file on my laptop [with] all these different titles. Basically, I just kind of let these different record titles sit there, and I would open up this file throughout the process of writing this album and kind of survey what was there. Time and again this title, All Things Bright and Beautiful, kind of jumped out at me, and so at the eleventh hour I was like, “Well, I’ve got to choose one now,” and that was it. I think it sums up the whole mes-sage, more or less, of the record.

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