While the exact formula for success hasn’t been figured out yet, millions of artists flock daily to Myspace, post their demos that were recorded in some adjacent room in their house and hope to somehow strike gold when “the right people” stumble across them.
Of course with the staggering amount of musical artists on Myspace, it could be considered impossible for anyone to really make a name for themselves amongst the masses. Apparently Adam Young “" known more widely to his followers as Owl City “" didn’t get that memo and went for it anyway. Over 20,000 digital albums and more than 200,000 tracks later, Owl City is set to embark on their first headlining tour across the US (even though his first live gigs were this past February “" both sold out).
The new tour includes stops at Bamboozle, Sasquatch and Summerfest and even a few dates with Christian rockers Relient K.
The time spent on the road is to help promote Owl City’s upcoming release “Ocean Eyes” which will hit iTunes on September 1. It kicks off on today in Boston where Owl City will be playing at Cafƒ© 939.
Young took a little time out on his way to Bamboozle this weekend to discuss internet popularity, the tour and “Ocean Eyes”.
“I honestly have no idea how I account for this kind of success. I did really poorly in the accounting class I took in high school, and none of my friends are licensed accountants so I guess I don’t really have a good answer” Young said in his e-mail reply, “Regardless, I’m excited beyond reason about this. It’s a truly wonderful feeling to fall asleep at night knowing there are a few people out there who appreciate the art I pour so much of myself into. It’s an incredible feeling to say the least.”
Owl City has charted multiple times on the iTunes top ten electronic charts alongside Daft Punk, M.I.A. and The Postal Service. His most popular single is “Hello Seattle,” even though it turns out Young had never been able to visit the Emerald City until last month.
“Seattle was enchanting. It certainly lived up to my expectations… and then some. I had never tried tartar sauce with french fries until I visited the Emerald City. [The experience] makes me want to live there and eat tartar sauce and fries like it’s my job” explained Young.
Young only began playing music a few years ago but soon got into using his computer to create a more electro-pop kind of sound which has attracted the attention of more than six million visitors to his Myspace.
“I started playing music a few years ago. It was pretty fun so I started programming music a few months ago. That was even more fun. In terms of genre, electronic music just happened to get in the way so I started tapping my toes. I’m still having fun” Young said.
All of the Owl City albums have been recorded in Young’s basement in the small town of Owatonna, Minn. Initially, Young recorded a few songs and put them online and a few devoted fans carried it from there.
“I recorded some songs, put them up online and kids spread the word. I didn’t do a thing. I really owe it all to my fans because they’ve done all the work” said Young.
Even the planned fall release of “Ocean Eyes” was done in Young’s house but, as he explains, with more of a process: “Recording this album was the same process as recording the others, but with a bit more purpose. I also know much more now — about programming/producing/engineering, than I did while recording the first two records. ‘Ocean Eyes’ was different also because I holed up in the studio for a month, put in 12 hour days and hammered everything out all in one fell swoop.”
Young also spent some time recording four extra tracks which will be used as promotional tools for the new album.
On the first Tuesday of every month leading up to the “Ocean Eyes” release, fans will be able to purchase a new Owl City song from iTunes which will also include a chance to see him live on the summer tour. The first song, “Hot Air Balloon” will be available May 5th for downloading.
“We thought it would be a sneaky idea to start building buzz for the release of the record in September. All four songs are picked out. They will not be featured on ‘Ocean Eyes,’ but rather iTunes-only releases” Young said.
You can check out the new single this Tuesday or go catch Owl City on any of the stops along the tour this summer. The dates are listed below.
May 5th — Cafƒ© 939, Boston, MA
May 6th — North Star Bar, Philadelphia, PA
May 7th — Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
May 9th — Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA
May 11th — Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, OH
May 12th — The Pike Room @ Crofoot, Pontiac, MI
May 14th — Subterranean, Chicago, IL
May 15th — Varsity Theater, Minneapolis, MN
May 23rd — Gorge Amphitheatre/Sasquatch Festival, George, WA
May 26th — Glass House, Pomona, CA*
May 27th — The Dome, Bakersfield, CA*
May 28th — The Boardwalk, Orangevale, CA*
May 29th — Indigo District, Eugene, OR*
May 30th — Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR*
May 31st — Neumo’s, Seattle, WA*
June 2nd — Knitting Factory, Spokane, WA*
June 3rd — Knitting Factory, Boise, ID*
June 4th — Murray Theatre, Salt Lake City, UT*
June 19th — Rocketown, Nashville, TN
June 20th — Vinyl, Atlanta, GA
June 22nd — The Orange Peel, Asheville, NC
June 23rd — Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC
June 25th — Sonar, Baltimore, MD
June 26th — Water Street Music Hall, Rochester, NY
June 27th — The Basement, Columbus, OH
June 29th — Riverside Ballroom, Green Bay, WI
June 30th — Grandma’s Sports Garden Bar & Grill, Duluth, MN
July 1st — Cornerstone Farm, Marietta, IL
July 2nd — Granada Theatre, Lawrence, KS
July 3rd — Slowdown, Omaha, NE
July 5th — Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI
*- with Relient K