Trevor Powers, a.k.a. Youth Lagoon, is a goldmine of helpful information. He knows how to cure the hiccups (“Put a straw in your mouth sideways and drink a full glass of water”), can hold his own in a debate about GMOs and can hunt down an online Venetian shop that sells really cool gold masks. The latter was used in Youth Lagoon’s new “Highway Patrol Stun Gun” music video, in which Powers wanders around New York City with a man wearing the mask.
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“It was $100, a little more than I wanted to pay for it, but it’s so bad ass,” he says, calling from his Boise, Idaho hometown. “I freaked out when I found it.”
While Powers says the music video is open to interpretation, to him, the meaning is quite profound and was inspired by the death of his close friend. “When there’s someone in your life that you’re really close to, they become a part of you,” he says. “It’s like [that person] is a different aspect to your personality. You imagine what you would do without them and then suddenly they’re gone.” To him, the man in the gold mask represents his friend, who is still apart of him. “Making the video was very cathartic and freeing,” he says.
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New members, new sound
His current bandmates are all completely new to Youth Lagoon but Powers has known them all for years, which he says makes playing live much easier because they are good at reading each other’s cues. One is actually his brother-in-law which Powers says makes for a “hilarious dynamic.”
Confronting anxiety head on
Youth Lagoon’s music has always veered on the dark side and the new album, “Savage Hills Ballroom” is no different, though it feels more personal as Powers voice is more pronounced this time around. Along with social issues such as police brutality, some of his songs talk about personal issues, like coping with anxiety.
“A couple years ago, it was very destructive for me and I didn’t know how to file those [type of] thoughts away so I let them rule me,” Powers says. “I’ve learned a healthy way now to cope with anxiety. I picture my brain with filing cabinets and when I see that a thought is going to be destructive, I just file it away.”
Still, Powers is never worried he’ll run out of material to write about. “Those destructive thoughts will always exist and still take over my subconscious,” he says. “Being someone who is influenced by the darker side of life rather than the lighter side, the darker side is always very, very present.”
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