By Kevin Zimmerman
Youth Lagoon Brings The Power
Trevor Powers, who as Youth Lagoon delivered insinuatingly dreamy, lo-fi pop to much acclaim with YL’s well-received The Year of Hibernation album in 2011, says that listeners can expect something similar – yet “much more sonically expansive” – on the second YL album, Wondrous Bughouse, out March 5 on the Fat Possum label.
“Musically, I need to evolve or I won’t be content,” Powers explains. “If I find myself in a realm that feels too comfortable, then I know I am in the wrong place. When I write, I always think in terms of building. I start with the foundation, and from there I lay brick on brick. If the foundation seems weak, I destroy it and start again.”
His interest in songwriting began at an early age. “I started taking piano lessons when I was six and took lessons until I was a teenager. After that, I quit piano altogether and learned guitar. I started writing songs around that time and began to experiment with layering ideas. I would always record my ideas on an old cassette player. I still have a whole box full of cassettes of ideas I had from when I was younger.”
Today his composing usually takes place late at night, “because that is when most ideas come. But it really does depend. I also do a lot of writing during the day, which makes it hard on relationships because of how much time I devote to it. I always go through spurts of writing, where sometimes I’ll write consistently for consecutive months and other times I have to let inspiration find me instead of me just trying to hunt it down.”
Following his dictum of continuously expanding his craft, he says the YL sound “evolves through just a lot of experimentation and trying to be aware of where my mind is at the moment. Sometimes I’ll have certain feelings that I don’t know even exactly what they are, but I want to embrace them or get them out of my system, so I turn to music. I’m always fascinated by worlds of sound because they are never-ending.”