Q&A: Owl City's Adam Young on Seattle vs. Portland, His Future Hot Elf, and His Wal-Mart Shopping List


Q&A: Owl City's Adam Young on Seattle vs. Portland, His Future Hot Elf, and His Wal-Mart Shopping List

  • Q&A: Owl City's Adam Young on Seattle vs. Portland, His Future Hot Elf, and His Wal-Mart Shopping List

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    Owl City plays The Paramount on Thursday, April 1. If you don't have tickets yet, you better start humping Craigslist.
    Owl City, the handle under which Adam Young trades his soft-spoken, laptop-pop melodies doesn't just sound a little like Ben Gibbard in his Death Cab For Cutie side step, The Postal Service. He sent a few pop culture conspiracy theorists on high alert with the release of his debut, Ocean Eyes, last year. Now he's selling fistfuls of records (just like The Postal Service), selling out rooms (just like DCFC), and, like Gibbard, he's name-dropping some of his favorite spots in the Pacific Northwest. In Young's case: the city of Seattle.

    In a recent email, Young filled us in on the Seattle connection, the Gibbard references, and why he didn't write a love song to Portland.

    Howdy, Adam! What are you up to today?

    Well right now my laptop and I are sitting on a lawn chair with a hole in the seat somewhere in the leafy hills of Idaho. Ironically I'm in the woods in the middle of nowhere and I don't see any potatoes in sight but thankfully I'm picking up a fairly strong internet signal from a lonely unsecured wireless network called "Touch my afro and I'll kill you." There must be a nightmarish mountain man with humongous billowing hair lurking in a cabin somewhere nearby. I must be cautious and not make too much noise while I'm doing this email interview.

    Since I'm writing from Seattle, we should talk about "Hello Seattle." How many other cities did you go through before settling on Seattle? "Hello Chicago" has a nice ring to it, too.

    It does indeed. However, as a shy little high school monster growing up in the millpond Midwest, the Emerald City was much farther away than Chicago, and thus, much more fascinating to me. Mmm... Seattle. Just the sound of it makes my eyes water... in a good way. Seattle was (and still is) the farthest and most enchanting place northwest of my little hometown in Minnesota and therein lies my reasoning. I spent a lot of time staring out the window during class imagining what the place was like, and having since visited, let me reassure you, it's incredible.


    Cross my heart.

    Alright, then why Seattle?

    Mostly because some old lady told me that everyone in Seattle eats tartar sauce with their fries instead of ketchup. How does that make you feel?

    It makes us feel good that you chose Seattle over Portland.

    Portland has nothing on you guys.

    What do you like to do when you visit here other than check out Pike Place Market?

    Isn't there a huge bronze statue of a Russian Communist revolutionary somewhere in Seattle? I feel I was waltzing by on my way to Taco Bell and was suddenly stopped and asked to take a picture of a strange woman and her bearded husband standing next to it. I was eagerly looking forward to my rendezvous with a patiently waiting grilled stuffed burrito, but regardless, I was happy to oblige.

    Can you remember the first time someone said, "Hey, you sound a lot like Ben Gibbard!"?

    Yeah, this one time my dad came home from work and was like "Hey son, wanna go for a ride in my sweet truck?" I hesitated for a second but it was just my dad, so I agreed. It was awesome.

    Is it a fair comparison?

    Wait. What?

    Have the two of you had laughs over it yet?

    I laugh really hard when people get super angry and rip open bags of fresh McDonald's everywhere. I also chuckle whenever I watch G.I. Joe PSA parodies on YouTube.

    Gibbard married the hot elf from the movie Elf. Is there an elf in your future?

    I would like to publicly confess that I'm not particularly attracted to girls with pointy ears who enjoy hanging out with creaky fat men in red suits, but in a word: Yes.

    Thanks for taking the time, Adam. Any parting comments?

    I bought a pair of swimming trunks at Wal-Mart yesterday. They have palm trees on them.

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