Youth Lagoon talks about being understood as an artist, the song “The Knower”, and embracing the fact that we are all idiots.
by Tarik Moody
Youth Lagoon is the project of Trevor Powers. His previous albums “The Year of Hibernation” and “Wonderous Bughouse” have been received with universal acclaim. Savage Hills Ballroom just came out. We have been playing the song “The Knower” here on 88Nine. Listen to the whole intervew here.
Justin Barney: Thanks for coming on Trevor. Regarding the new album, I love that you incorporate a lot of piano, on the album.
Trevor Powers: Yes, yes. I’ve never done that before, and you know, I’ve always been into keys in general. That tends to be what I have gravitated to for Youth Lagoon. So, yea, approaching it with piano felt like what it needed. That’s what these songs needed.
JB: I think that that gives you a license to get weird at points and it doesn’t sound crazy or unapproachable, it makes sense together.
TP: Exactly. Because there is something about piano that everyone relates to. So if you incorporate that you can kind of do whatever else you want to and the piano is sort of the glue throughout the entire record. And that was my intention going into this album. I wanted some sort of consistency going song to song, and that’s what we settled on.
JB: That’s what comes out to me. Like, I love when that happens. When that’s what I’m hearing, and that’s what you were going for, and that’s what I’m getting. I feel like that is one of the most difficult things, because as an artist you are presenting yourself to the world. You are presenting this idea, and you want it to be understood and if you do it clearly and if you do it well enough it is understood.
TB: It is strange, at the same time what some people pull from things like you go into something with a certain idea and you present it and then certain people pull the strangest things from it. Like, “How the hell did you get that?” It doesn’t make sense, but you roll with it. When you make any sort of art weather it’s painting, or music, or whatever, when you present it to the world and say, “Okay my piece is done.” It’s not even yours anymore because people take it and they make it whatever they want it to be. And you have to be okay with it.
JB: Could we talk about the song, “The Knower”? We are playing it here a lot, so I was wondering if you could talk about that song in particular.
TP: Well that song started off interesting because I started it on just the programming aspects by sampling voices and it started of with just rhythm. And then from that point on is when I started adding melodies and stuff to it. As far as what the song is actually about subject-wise it came from just a lot of observations I’d made of myself and of society. I think some people take it as me being over critical of people but really it’s just me finding things really funny. Like I think it’s hilarious that people are so self-obsessed, and things like that, so I just rolled with that because I think it’s funny
JB: *laughs* I totally agree. I was listening to it for the first couple of times and I was like, “Man, this is really hitting home.” You know, like I do want to lose weight, but I don’t want to change anything about my diet at all. *laughs*
TP: *laughs* But I think some people take it like I’m attacking people, and it’s more so that I’m attacking myself. You know, we are all idiots. So I think it’s cool when we embrace that.