Now Hear This: Six Questions for Youth Lagoon
Trevor Powers, the 22-year-old Boise native behind the fragile, spectral tunes of Youth Lagoon, went from writing and recording in his basement to a full-blown record deal and tour in less than a year. Though feeling the pangs of homesickness since hitting the road in September, Powers is quickly adapting his one-man show to live venues and admits to feeling fully in his element playing music. Powers took a break to answer a few of my questions about writing songs and those damn famous potatoes.
How do you describe your sound?
That’s always the hardest question. It’s definitely dreamy, but I spend a lot of time on my lyrics. I know that seems kind of ironic because most of the time people can’t understand what I’m saying, but I think that can be beautiful because the music means something different to each person. My lyrics are important to me, though, because they always set the mood for myself when I start writing music.
You’re a one-man show, which is surprising given the layered sound of your album. Tell me about how you write your songs.
As far as writing, I usually just start with sitting down at a piano. Once I get the roots of a song down as far as the emotions and the lyrics, I start to build on top of it. Writing is definitely a pretty intimate thing for me and usually requires some sort of isolation just to get my thoughts in that place. Live, I’m slowly figuring out things to enhance the show and add different elements. I have a good friend of mine, Logan Hyde, play guitar live with me, and that adds a lot to the builds especially. I eventually want to add more instruments on stage as it becomes more appropriate, but for now, I’m really happy with how it sounds.
What are you listening to now that you love?
Lately, I’ve been getting more and more into Townes Van Zandt. I don’t know what it is about his music, but it’s really entrancing. Same with John Denver. My dad had these old John Denver records that I remember him listening to when I was younger, and I never really payed much attention to them. But when I started listening to his stuff, and most of all his lyrics, I’ve really been moved. Some of the songs really hit home with me.
You went through a period of relative isolation while recording the album — now you’re anything but. How has that transition been?
It’s been good and healthy. When I was writing the album, I was in a sense isolated but mostly just mentally. Things were still busy for me even then. I was busy going to school, and still making time for other things. But when it comes to writing, mental isolation is important because it enables being able to examine what all is going on in the mind. And now, although I’m done with school and onto new and different things with my life, things are still busy but in a different way.
Where did the name Youth Lagoon come from?
I wanted something to do with the idea of growing up and maturing. I think someone’s teenage years are what really begins to shape them and often determines what kind of path they end up on as they get older. Since I think in terms of images and mental pictures sometimes, as I was thinking of a name, I pictured this scene of kids swimming around in a water hole. Some of the kids were sitting alone. Some were on a swing right by the water. It was a really beautiful picture and something about it applied to the type of music I write.
I am only asking you this because we’re both from Idaho — what’s your favorite potato snack?
It would have to be a tie between fries and hash browns.
Have a listen below: