Youth Lagoon Interview: Boise’s Boy Wonder of Indie Pop

Jun 7, 2012 3:48pm

Trevor Powers left Boise State University to focus on music – a bold, risky move, but one that has paid off.  He wrote and recorded a bunch of songs under the name Youth Lagoon with the idea of making them available free online.  Powers was surprised by the positive reaction to his music.  He was approached by interested record labels, struck a deal with Fat Possum, received critical praise and embarked on tour.

AudioFile met with Trevor Powers in New York’s Central Park to talk about his debut album “The Year in Hibernation” and touring.

 

Trevor Powers grew up in Boise, Idaho with three brothers ( “Bobby”, a bonus song on the album, is written about his older brother Bobby).  “No one [else] in my family is musical … everyone does their own thing.”  Powers’ own music career began at age 6 in the form of piano lessons.  Though he’s currently making a living touring and performing for new people each night – at a younger age he hated being forced to perform in front of people at piano recitals.

“I was a freaky little kid — I used to hate being around people.”

Trevor Powers has grown out of the performance-hating days, and has emerged as a serious musician with indelible musical talent and an arsenal of  earnest songs.

Youth Lagoon was conceived in 2010 when Powers began writing the songs that would comprise the first album.  YL songs possess a dream-like quality, reminiscent of Passion Pit or Dntel. High in synth and full of “oohs” and ahhs,” the vocals melt right into the music.

It didn’t take long for labels to take notice of Youth Lagoon.  Powers admitted “I was really surprised by the reaction of everything.  I think it’s mainly because I always write for myself.   I don’t have some particular goal in mind as far as my songs are concerned.”

 

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Youth Lagoon's debut album "The Year in Hibernation" was released in 2011 by Fat Possum Records.

The visual interpretation of the official music video for “Montana” was the vision of director Tyler Williams. “He’s all into stories, and how stories fit with music.  And so he built that story and it fit so well.  I basically just handed over the reins to him to take the music and interpret it cinematically in a way that fit.”

Youth Lagoon – Montana from Tyler T Williams on Vimeo.

When asked what sort of advice he would impart on other young musicians in similar circumstances to himself (pre-Fat Possum days, creating music that he wasn’t sure anyone would even listen to), Trevor answered:

“There’s people who really love music, and people who really like music.  Oftentimes the people who like music … kind of just fall off the map.  And then there’s the people … what they live and breathe is music.  And [for] those people, no matter what people say, you’ll never be able to get it out of your system.  You’re always going to create.  You will always create, no matter what circumstances, you will always create.”

Youth Lagoon is currently on tour in the U.S.

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