Youth Lagoon Exposed in Pitchfork Interview
Trevor Powers was barely 20 years old when he recorded his Alternative record “The Year of Hibernation” under the name Youth Lagoon. The album was well received as a masterfully crafted indie success, and Powers went to Pitchfork to discuss his upcoming sophomore album “Wondrous Bughouse.”
Pitchfork: Judging from the song titles on the record, like “Daisyphobia”, “Attic Doctor”, “Mute”, and “Sleep Paralysis”, a lot of it seems to be about either death or frailty of the body.
Trevor Powers: Definitely. “Dropla”, for instance, is about the idea of watching someone close to you pass away. We never think that kind of stuff happens; we just kind of live in disillusion.
Pitchfork: Are those songs more about your own worries about mortality or seeing what’s going on around you?
TP: Even with the name Wondrous Bughouse– the “bughouse” is an old term that refers to an insane asylum, so the title is just welcoming the beauty of the idea of being conscious of our mortality. I really got consumed with the idea of how people who are deemed crazy or insane often have a firmer grasp on reality than normal people. The average person goes through life thinking it will go on forever. We say to ourselves we won’t live forever, but I don’t think that thought ever really sinks in until the day comes. A lot of it is me being scared that one day I’ll die, just realizing that. Even during the recording of the album I had this anxiety of thinking I was going to die for some reason. I kept trying to push it off but it kept coming back. It was super overwhelming.
Pitchfork: Listening to the new songs, one thing I noticed immediately that carried over from Hibernation is how the tracks really open up at a high volume. Is it a conscious decision for you to make records that sound better loud despite their hermetic nature?
TP: It’s mainly because music is often put off as a background thing nowadays. So the whole concept of having something really in-your-face that you’re forced to listen to is beautiful because I think music should be an event and not something that’s just dismissed.
Pitchfork: Who are your inspirations in terms of people that make confrontational music that isn’t considered typically loud or abrasive?
TP: When I first started writing this record, I started listening to a lot of This Heat‘s Repeat– it’s so drawn out that a lot of people would just dismiss it as background music, but for me it had this whole otherworldliness to it. As far as music being something that’s not background, it doesn’t mean that it’s loud, it means that it’s instantly something to dwell on and process and swallow and regurgitate. I’ve always been a big fan of Brian Eno and Harold Budd, too.
Pitchfork: Do you think being from a place such as Boise as opposed to Brooklyn or Los Angeles leads to the possibility that music is seen as more of an important social experience because of its rarity?
TP: Yeah. When friends and I go to shows around here, everyone goes for a purpose rather than just going to hang out. In a lot of cities there’s music so often that none of it really sinks in, which takes the whole event factor out of it. When bands come to Boise, you really want to listen to them.
[For the rest of the interview, visit Pitchfork's website.]
Check out the video for the song “Montana” from Youth Lagoon’s first album “The Year of Hibernation” below. Tell us if you’re excited for the new album @Matter_Facts @CollegeDJ. Be sure to LIKE and Comment this post on Facebook.