Owl City’s fourth album isn’t due until summer, but Adam Young isn’t making people wait that long for new music. On May 15, the Minnesota pop auteur will release “The Shooting Star EP,” a four-song sampler of material from the upcoming album that includes the title track as well as “Dementia,” which features guest vocals by Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus.
“This is just to help build excitement and whatnot for the record coming out,” Young tells Billboard.com. “This is kind of a preview, and I wanted to make sure the four songs on the EP gave sort of an accurate snapshot or a taste of what the new record is about.”
“The Shooting Star EP’s” title track and first single, according to Young, displays the deep influence of electronic dance music and “a lot of European trance DJs and stuff like that” on his latest music. Get an Exclusive First Listen of “Shooting Star” Here:
The buoyantly optimistic song was recorded in New York and co-produced by the Stargate team, with the synthesizer piano intro coming from something Young had originally created for his sophomore album, 2009’s platinum “Ocean Eyes.” “I could never make it work at the time,” Young remembers, “but Stargate heard that little synth line and built a great track around it. It just kind of happened out of mid air.” Lyrically, Young adds, “I wanted to sort of capture the idea that everybody can start a movement if we all unite and capture this sort of standing on the edge, ready to leap off kind of feeling, knowing that even though everyone has dark days, if we really work together we can make anything happen.”
“Dementia,” meanwhile, takes Owl City into another “fun, new territory as far as a big rock sound.” And working with Hoppus, Young says, was a privilege and an honor. I’ve always been a big blink fan, so to have him sing on the track, I still play it back and can’t believe it’s Mark on the track. It’s awesome.”
Collaborations and experimentation are what mark album number four, according to Young. After working mostly himself on the previous Owl City outings, he teamed up this time with Relient K’s Matt Thiessen and a trio of Josh Crosby, Nate Campany and Dr. Luke associate Emily Wright. “I feel that as an artist you should never really look back or repeat yourself,” Young says. “This was sort of taking a flying leap on that way. I was a little bit scared at first because of all the co-writing and allowing other people to co-pilot this project, but listening back, as I live with it, I’m really excited about it. It was really fun to be able to bounce ideas off somebody else, and there was always this great magic in the room when there was somebody else right there with you to work on things.”
The EP will allow Owl City to preview some of the album’s new material when Young and company hit the road starting with some festivals in June and then “hitting it hard in July,” including a July 18 date with Demi Lovato at the Greek Theatre. Young has changed some of the musicians from the band that tour to support 2011’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful” and anticipates being on the road for the balance of the year, with an itinerary to be announced soon.