Youth Lagoon is the recording project for 22-year-old Boise, Idaho native Trevor Powers. His music has gained attention this year with cinematic singles like “July” and “Cannons," which you would think were performed by a large band of seasoned and broken-hearted musicians instead of just one man making music at a friend’s house.
Trevor and I talked about his decision to be a solo project and what it’s like to perform such confessional songs, alone, in front of an audience.
New Raleigh: What made you decide to record as a solo project?
Trevor Powers: I jammed with friends growing up, but I started writing music for myself when I got older. There's something about writing music on my own that is really the inspiration behind this project. Seclusion in small doses can help to express certain things that wouldn't be able to be expressed the same way when others are around.
NR: How do you achieve that kind of sound by yourself?
TP: A lot of people think I recorded the album at my house, but that's just where I wrote the songs. The album was recorded at a friend of mine named Jeremy Park's house. He had all the recording equipment most studios have so that's where the album was recorded and mixed. I was going to Boise State University at the time so everything was done over my Christmas break.
NR: How do you perform these songs when playing live?
TP: I play keys and do bass boosts on my synth and trigger the beats with a foot pedal. I'm touring with a friend of mine, Logan Hyde, who is doing all of the guitar work. It actually works out really well.
NR: Your songs are very vulnerable; do you get nervous releasing this kind of raw/confessional material? Does performing under a band name instead of your real name make it easier to be so honest?
TP: Sometimes I'm nervous live, but for the most part I've found that if I can just focus on playing the songs for me then others will be able to relate to them and will receive some of that energy. I think having a name to the project instead of going by my own name makes it more about the music than myself, and I like it that way. I'd rather create something and then take a step back.
NR: What are you most looking forward to about Hopscotch festival?
TP: I love festivals! Some of the acts I'm most excited about seeing this year are Braids, Weekend, and Twin Shadow. But one of my favorite things to do at festivals is discover new acts. Excited!
Youth Lagoon will play Saturday at The Rosebuds and Friends Block Party outside of Lincoln Theatre from 11am to 5:30pm. Youth Lagoon is set to take the stage at 1:15pm.