With a debut album entitled The Year of Hibernation and a follow-up entitled Wondrous Bughouse, a blind assumption regarding the artistic direction for Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers would probably be accurate. The title, Wondrous Bughouse, certainly suggests a sojourn to the fantastical and that’s very much what happens on the new record. Similarities exist between the two albums, but Wondrous Bughouse is more experimental, more psychedelic, more demanding, and generally weirder. If The Year of Hibernation was Pixar, Wondrous Bughouse is Tim Burton.
It’s always a question of which way musicians will lean after releasing a widely acclaimed album. The Year of Hibernation was easily palatable yet sophisticated enough to avoid being deemed catchy, but what comes next? Stick with the formula? Reverse course? Thankfully, Wondrous Bughouse pushes the envelope in all the right directions. It’s well-produced; the attention to detail allows the depth to reveal itself in layers and the overall level of accessibility is tastefully reduced. It’s a more mature project that disregards immediate gratification and asks more of its listeners.
Hidden Track: Relative to the Year of Hibernation, the new album has a more psychedelic feeling to it. Were there any clever aproaches that you took in the studio to get some of those more experimental ambient sounds?
Trevor Powers: I wanted the music on this record to reflect a feeling of uneasiness. Taking sounds that are foreign but then applying them in ways that still make a bit of sense. A lot of time writing was really spent on exploring the sonics behind everything. Sometimes making music almost feels like some sort of science experiment, only it’s hard to ever feel content with it. There always seems to be more ways to tap into a certain idea. I don’t like recording in traditional ways. I like doing things I’m not necessarily comfortable with because I feel like it bleeds out through the music. It’s strange to look back at a completed work of music because your memory always seems a bit fuzzy about it. Like you concentrate so hard while you are creating that after something is created, you don’t even really know yourself how exactly it was achieved.