Having played Oklahoma twice in three short years of touring, electronic-pop musician Adam Young — operating as Owl City — already has formed fond memories of the Sooner State.
“Some kid in blue sweatpants drew pictures of genitals all over the side of my bus in black Sharpie last time I was there,” he said. “Everyone laughed, though, so it’s cool.”
Friday’s gig at Diamond Ballroom might prove to top the anatomical graffiti, however, because Young gets to share the stage with his Tulsa-grown musical heroes.
“Unwed Sailor has been my favorite band for 10 years now,” he said. “I love how big and epic and progressive their music is … how their songs suggest optimism without the use of words. Instrumental music is an inspiring thing to me, and they really know how to do it right.”
Owl City might be rooted in instrumental inspiration, but Young couldn’t resist adding a thick smear of bubbly — sometimes schmaltzy — lyrics to electro ballads like the 2009 quadruple-platinum hit “Fireflies,” which saw the Minnesotan launch from anonymity to the top of the charts and sold-out shows in a matter of weeks.
“I think one of the moments that still stands out the most is the first show in Minneapolis,” Young said. “I was standing behind the curtain, shaking, so scared. I was thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can actually walk out there and play for an hour to these people.’ But I made myself do it, and it was so much fun, I couldn’t have been happier.”
His major-label debut, “Ocean Eyes,” hit No. 1 on iTunes, and Young followed it up with this summer’s braver “All Things Bright and Beautiful.”
“It’s more powerful. It’s more aggressive when necessary, and it’s far less processed and Auto-Tuned. It’s just more gutsy and bold. I’m not really a singer by nature, so that was a big step for me,” he said. “The album was written, recorded, produced and engineered all in one room by one person, and I think it has a watertight quality to it that makes for a very definitive final product. My fingerprints are all over it.”
After this current tour, Young plans on hopping right back into the studio to record the next disc, which he hopes will be his most memorable to date.
“I’m already knee-deep,” he said. “The music seems to be getting older and wiser, and I like how an artist can only do what he/she does for so long until the result sounds nothing like anybody else except them.”