The genius behind Youth Lagoon, Trevor Powers took a few minutes to answer some questions from FPT's writer, James Brimacombe. With Powers releasing Youth Lagoon's album The Year of Hibernation he has firmly put Boise, Idaho on the music map. We talk about the albums writing process, life in Boise, skipping school, the effects of anxiety, and the most interesting of all - how a Sweatshirt with the words "Montana" on it formed one of the years most inspiring songs and videos.
FPT's The Year of Hibernation - Album Review
JB: The Year of Hibernation has a perfect flow to it from song to song. It is an album that must be listened to as a whole, was this your plan throughout the writing process?
TP: I like to write in a very congruent manner and place songs together that are rooted in the same vein. With that in mind, it definitely was intended that this album be listened to as a whole instead of individually, however each song has its own conclusion.
JB: What is the story behind Youth Lagoon, what made you decide to create The Year of Hibernation?
TP: I made it my goal to start a project and record the first record in January of this year. I had no idea what I would do with the record when I was done with it, but I just had this feeling in me that I needed to do it. So I started writing these songs while I was going to Boise State University in '10. I would come home from school, and just work on music but also try to fit in time for my studies. The humorous thing is, I skipped A LOT of classes to write music instead. (laughs) There is a practice room for music majors at Boise State, and although I wasn't a music major I would often skip classes and go into one of those rooms and just write.
Music is my passion. I'm not exactly sure what it was that sparked it, but it's something that is very deep in my soul. I know that sounds cheesy but I'm not sure how else to describe it. I have always wanted to play music seriously but was never sure how I would get there. I was going through a lot of difficult stuff too when I started all of this.. I guess it's when we are at our weakest that a door is opened.
JB: The first song I heard from the album was Montana and it blew me away, such an incredible experience in a song. The video for the song is also very inspiring. What is the story behind this particular song?
This song was written about a certain conversation I had with someone very special to me who was wearing a sweatshirt that said "Montana" across it. I thought it may be the last time I saw this person. When I was meeting with my friend and filmmaker Tyler Williams, Tyler had this vision for the video that would perfectly represent that idea of loss. We both knew the idea of the video was ambitious, but Tyler accomplished it and more. When Tyler first started showing me how shooting was going so far, I was blown away.
JB: The entire album seems to be an honest and personal experience. What affected you most when creating/writing the album?
TP: Since my writing does tend to be very personal, I think every aspect in my life affects it. I will say though that my music is fueled most by difficult moments in my life. That is where I find the most inspiration.. Since I'm open about my struggle with anxiety, a lot of people tend to say that is what the entire album is about. I think every human has their particular struggles, and since anxiety is mine, it definitely influences what I write. But it's not the only thing.
JB: You seem very low key in your approach to marketing your music, but at the end of the day the quality of the music seems to speak for itself and word of mouth is praising this album all over the place. How important is it in the music industry to create music you believe in and has a purpose?
TP: I think that it's everything. If an artist is creating music that he/she doesn't believe in or is happy with, what's the point? It's so easy to get sucked into the money side of things and start writing music that you think the public will like more.. that is when art dies. If an artist doesn't believe in what they are doing, it's not worth paying attention too because it will be stale and unoriginal.
JB: Any chance on your next tour, you can put Salt Lake City on the agenda? Boise and SLC are similar in a lot of ways you know
TP: Playing Salt Lake on 11/26 at Kilby Court!