Home Indie Music Youth Lagoon on His Latest Resurgence and “Heaven Is a Junkyard”

Youth Lagoon on His Latest Resurgence and “Heaven Is a Junkyard”

Youth Lagoon on His Latest Resurgence and “Heaven Is a Junkyard”


Youth Lagoon on His Latest Resurgence and “Heaven Is a Junkyard”

Discovering Your self Amidst Bodily and Psychological Turmoil

Jun 29, 2023

Images by Tyler T. Williams
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It’s been a very long time because the final Youth Lagoon album. After a few albums underneath his actual identify, Trevor Powers, the Boise indie-folk artist has resuscitated the undertaking that earned him a highlight within the first place. In October 2021, a life-changing occasion introduced the significance of Youth Lagoon into focus. Powers took an over-the-counter treatment that almost rendered him speechless, coating his larynx and making singing really feel like a distant dream.

On Heaven Is a Junkyard, the primary Youth Lagoon album since 2015, Powers sounds grateful for restoration. “My voice is gone/It was once so robust,” he sings over plaintive piano chords in “Trapeze Artist.” Like essentially the most adroit trapeze artists, Powers has discovered his footing once more, unearthing the facility of relaxation and coming again stronger than ever.

Grant Sharples (Below the Radar): How does it really feel to launch the primary Youth Lagoon album in eight years?

Trevor Powers: It feels completely weird, but additionally, it’s so past phrases. Years in the past, I by no means would have thought that my life could be on this place. I really feel like I’ve absolutely change into a special model of myself. Lots of people say that. I in all probability have thought that in my life earlier than, however that is the primary time that it’s truly the case. I’ve had so many conditions occur in life which have taken me to this second, and music has helped me not solely keep sane all through all of it but additionally keep alive all through all of it. For fairly a while, I used to be in a darkish place.

Was there a type of consolation and lightness when coming again to Youth Lagoon?

I wish to say consolation, nevertheless it felt horrifying to be sincere. After I killed off the moniker, that’s once I skilled consolation. I had at all times finished loads of exploring totally different components of my mind, however Youth Lagoon turned such a chokehold on who I used to be as an individual due to what I used to be placing onto it, and the stress that I used to be placing on what these two phrases meant. After some time, I felt like a type of monkeys with cymbals. As a result of I stored experimenting and doing all types of shit underneath using that identify, individuals wished only one factor from me. And it seems, it drove me fucking bananas as a result of that’s not the best way I work. It’s not the best way I write. After I killed off the moniker, that was completely mandatory for me to get to know myself and transfer ahead as a result of it allowed me to discover these new paths with out eyes being on me. I by no means thought I’d return to using this moniker. However I ended up going via some well being points, I had all these items in life that known as me on the identical time. Then there was one tune that I wrote, “Idaho Alien,” which was a turning level. It felt like a brand-new undertaking.

The truest type of self-love was accepting these components of myself that I had discarded. That’s when every little thing aligned, and every little thing began snapping into place with what this album is.

Is that newfound self-love a part of what makes it really feel so brand-new?

Yeah, it makes it actually exhausting to create something if you happen to don’t, on the core, love your self. I had this second with a therapist just a little over a yr in the past, and he requested me to call some issues I beloved about myself. It made me cry as a result of I couldn’t. That was a turning level. I began stepping into meditation and taking time to be alone with my ideas and who I’m as an individual. The extra I discovered my love for that individual, the extra inventive gasoline I had.

That sense of strain of what different individuals wished from you was eroding, so that you had been in a position to refocus on what you wished from your self.

Yeah, and it took me a handful of songs to understand, “Holy shit. I’m engaged on a Youth Lagoon album!” After I had that thought, there was no idea in any respect or care of what anybody would consider this. It has purely been one thing that’s for me; to feed my soul. It’s to discover new components of myself. It’s to see the place I wish to go. So, it’s been, actually, a egocentric endeavor. However there’s been a lot therapeutic. Now, there are such a lot of concepts that I’ve that I can’t sustain.

There’s this nasty notion that musicians must be in a darkish place to make good artwork. However as you mentioned, if you happen to don’t love your self at your core, then you definately’re not actually pleased with what you’re making.

Completely, and I undoubtedly am impressed by the darkish instances in life. I’m impressed by the issues that is likely to be exhausting to get via. However it’s exhausting for me to jot down once I’m in that place. Mentally, I’ve to no less than be considerably faraway from it. Or the therapeutic has to have began to ensure that me to begin taking place these rabbit holes. As a result of, if I’m feeling like absolute shit, the very last thing I wish to do is write.

It’s such as you simply can’t operate.

Yeah, and it undoubtedly depends upon the type of music that you just write. However there’s that mix of getting sure experiences that it’s important to deal with creatively with a purpose to actually perceive what it’s that’s occurring and transfer past it. However if you’re on the peak of it, the very last thing that you really want is to be inventive. You simply wish to be alone.

What was most totally different about writing Heaven Is a Junkyard versus different Youth Lagoon albums?

The largest factor was the main target. This was essentially the most centered I’ve ever been on music and songwriting as a result of I used to be truly sitting down to jot down songs. The songs would begin off with free concepts after all, however I wasn’t sitting right down to make noises. I wasn’t sitting right down to deal with manufacturing. Each tune began with me figuring it out on piano and chipping away. I had these notes, melodies, chords, and lyrics. A few of the songs began off as poems, which I’d begin shaping, nevertheless it was very centered out of the gate. That’s new for me as a result of a lot of my earlier work, particularly the 2 albums underneath my very own identify, is far more pushed by the sonics. The songs on this album are simply as essential. The songs at all times got here first. It was after the tune was already current, the thought was already formed, that I’d then transfer on to sonics. However I didn’t get distracted by any of that; I solely anxious about, “Can I play this tune on simply piano? Does this tune stand by itself, or can I write out the lyrics and put them on my desk? If the one factor that was to exist was that piece of music or the lyrics, did it nonetheless really feel full?” I did that via and thru.

I do know that you just practically misplaced your voice fully. What did that therapeutic journey appear like for you? And the place does this new album match into all that?

It was horrifying. I had a response to an over-the-counter treatment that created what was, basically, a geyser of acid in my abdomen that stored arising and soaking my vocal cords. I went to the ER; I noticed numerous medical doctors. However nobody might even say what it was that was occurring in my system. In addition to guesses, nobody had a concrete reply for what it was. This went on for fairly a while. As a result of my larynx, pharynx, and vocal cords bought so toasted, I needed to resort to writing issues down on items of paper. When my older brother from Seattle got here into city, we’d hang around and go to bookstores, and I needed to textual content him about no matter it was we had been taking a look at.

I felt so extremely helpless. For the primary time in my life, I really had no management over what was occurring within me. I’ve been such a management freak my whole life, and a lot of being a management freak has to do with worry as a result of, if you happen to can’t management one thing, then worry strikes, and it takes over your system. So not having the ability to do something and settle for that feeling, that was when it modified one thing within me. Turning to music throughout that point was every little thing.

Dropping such a central a part of music-making, I can’t even fathom what that’s like. It’s what you like and what you do.

It was so scary that I’ve needed to begin going to a hypnotherapist to deprogram the PTSD concerned in that. I knew, particularly going into interviews speaking about it, that it might be such a set off as a result of my physique begins responding in these bizarre methods once I’m speaking about this entire expertise.

I couldn’t lay again, so each single night time I slept in a recliner. I’d begin feeling chills if I’d even stroll previous the recliner, so my physique was responding to those exterior stimuli. I needed to go to the hypnotherapist to assist deprogram some of these things as a result of it was such an extremely traumatic expertise. It’s good for me to speak about it now as a result of I’m seeing that as a part of my therapeutic and as a part of my acceptance of what occurred. After I misplaced my voice, I used to be nonetheless engaged on music the entire time. There have been sure days once I might make some noises or form some lyrics, and all that. Possibly afterward that night time, I might speak just a little bit and I used to be singing one other line. Then the subsequent day, I’d have a few phrases I might sing. So it was all pieced collectively. By the point the entire album was written, I had every little thing demoed out. I had began to get my voice again, and I used to be beginning to have the ability to sing once more. The timing labored out superbly.

You wrote loads of the songs earlier than that have. Do any of those songs really feel reflective of that in a light-weight you didn’t beforehand discover?

There are specific traces which can be straight about that. In “Trapeze Artist,” is the road, “My mouth is on fireplace, however no one sees me.” I believed in actual life that I used to be on fireplace, however no one noticed me. And that’s clearly straight about it as a result of many of the different lyrics are coming from a spot of how I used to be feeling throughout that point. However they’re not precisely about that have.

What do you think about the way forward for Youth Lagoon wanting like?

It’s exhausting to inform. Like I mentioned, I’m so impressed by so many various issues proper now. That would take the form of extra Youth Lagoon data; it might take the form of a special undertaking. I don’t actually know for the time being. However I do know that, as quickly as I selected to open this door, there was no plan to shut it. I wasn’t going into this resolution frivolously, and, as soon as I opened the door, I might see so many different doorways behind it. That’s what actually excited me. That this album is such a cohesive thought the place I knew, “Okay; if that is the one factor that I ever make once more for the remainder of my life, I’m okay with that.”

However with that being mentioned, as soon as I wrote the final tune, I felt like I had nothing else left to offer. I used to be out of phrases. I used to be out of music. It was like my entire physique had exorcized all these demons, these creatures. Months later, positive sufficient, I began having extra concepts. I don’t know what the longer term holds, however I do know that that is just the start.




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