Adam Young didn’t move to a big city after his one-man electronica act, Owl City, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with the 2009 single “Fireflies.” And it doesn’t sound like the resident of Owatonna, Minn., which has a population of approximately 25,570, will move now that his latest single, “Good Time,” a collaboration with “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen off of his album “The Midsummer Station” (released in August) recently cracked the top 10 on the Hot 100.
The soft-spoken Young, who will be in Chicago Saturday for Owl City’s show at The Vic Theatre, was born in Iowa and moved to Minnesota at an early age. He says he is perfectly content living in a small-ish town, even if its claim to fame might be the 1995 film “Angus.” He explained why in a conversation over the phone last week.
Peace and quiet: “I like a break from the noise of a big city. There are no sirens going off at all times. There’s a sense of peace and quiet. I live in a house out in the woods outside of town. I like that pace of life more than anything.”
Privacy: “For me, it’s based on my personality. I’m a pretty private guy. I like to stay off the radar. I get groceries at night. I try to stay hidden. … Yeah, (I get approached often), but I think that’s a small town thing. I’ve spent time with friends in towns that have a population of about a thousand people. Those get to be too much. Everyone talks to you because there’s nobody else in town. (Twenty-five thousand) is right at the limit. You don’t know every person, but they’re still friendly.”
Fewer commitments: “There’s less busy-work to be done. I think when you spend so much time on the road in big cities, you get home and feel you can breathe easier. You have more inspiration and less crazy noise.”
Independence: “I get tired of being this super consumer when I’m in New York. I love New York, but people there are waiting on me, serving me, I’m always on my phone, I’m calling cabs. I feel too dependent on other people.”
Romantic dates: “You can go outside in the middle of the country and go for a walk or stargazing. It’s definitely not a town where (people say) ‘What can we do to be entertained?’ You have to find stuff to do yourself. I always love that. My imagination is bigger than it might have been if I didn’t have to invent things to do.”
Music is unaffected: “I record music in the studio in my basement. It’s done by computer and is easy to do anywhere. I don’t think there would be any huge benefit to (recording in a big city). If I was Jack Johnson or someone who does acoustic live recordings, I’d definitely go somewhere else for that. But for what I do, it’s perfect.”
No music scene: “There’s none whatsoever. I love that. All my friends back home are teachers, welders, workers for UPS. I love going home because there’s nobody to talk music with. Everyone talks your ear off about it on the road. I’m gone six months a year. If I was in (Owatonna) every day, I definitely would feel stuck and feel the need to get out. But I see every big city around the world once a year, so it’s perfect.”
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