Fireflies (Owl City) – Piano & Violin Cover by 92 Keys
Fireflies Background – By Trevor Loucks
If by some chance of success for us, you have enjoyed 92 Keys’ music, and have found yourself listening to our songs more than once, well then a big reason for that is because of Stephen Anderson. He produces music at a level higher than most creators and we’re fortunate to have him creating this music with us.
And this arrangement of Fireflies was actually created by Stephen. It’s great to have a variety of arrangers because every person approaches a song so differently. Crista and I create arrangements that are far, far different from each other! The style of the song, the tempo, the mood, the structure of the chords all varies dramatically from person to person.
So here we are shooting this bad boy on the final day of filming for the 92 Keys EP, and everybody is just absolutely and amazingly exhausted. Six videos in six days about killed me. If you look closely (or maybe you don’t even have to look that closely) at our faces you can see the last drops of energy being consumed. After we broke down and traveled back to Boise I collapsed for about 72 hours and barely left my bed. 😮
Absolutely worth it, though.
Out of all the things I’ve done as a musician the last 22 years, writing music and creating fun videos with 92 Keys is absolutely at the top of the list.
Tom and Janette Carter
Arrangement Created by: Stephen Anderson
Violin Written and Recorded by: Crista Guthrie
Piano Written and Recorded by: Trevor Loucks
Produced by: Stephen Anderson
Centennial Marsh in Camas Prairie. Fairfield, ID.
Director | DP: Parker Walbeck
Drone Pilot: Dakota Walbeck
Edited by: Dakota Walbeck
Production Assistant: Corbin Bishop
Production Assistant: Jeff Stiles
Behind the Story of “Fireflies” by Owl City
Written for 92Keys.com
A surprise top-of-the-chart hit in both the United Kingdom as well as the United States, “Fireflies” by Owl City debuted in 2009 on July 14th. It also hit #1 in 24 other countries. Originally recorded by Adam Young in 2008, this debut single features guest vocals by Matthew Thiessen of Reliant K. It was first played in concert on September 9, 2009 at Rocketown in Nashville, Tennessee, and in that same month, the song entered the music charts, skyrocketing to the #1 slot despite everyone’s surprise that a song about insects could capture that much attention.
“Fireflies” is the lead single from the album “Ocean Eyes,” Adam’s second studio album. His first electronica album, “The Airship” was released under the name “Port Blue” in 2007, and it delivered a mix of warm melodies created through unique instrumentation and chord progression. Despite its intense ability to evoke an ethereal sense of beauty, “The Airship” did not produce the same sort of excitement as the single “Fireflies.” Delivering a tune filled with spirited electronic beats and expressive lyricism, “Fireflies” spread through the airwaves like a medley of lightning bugs through the night sky on a warm summer’s eve.
Singer and songwriter Adam Young, who also happens to be multi-instrumentalist, lived in his parent’s home in Owatonna, Minnesota at the time of the recording. Adam worked in a Coca-Cola warehouse, so he had plenty of time to dream and come up with projects. Owl City is one of his earliest projects and with it came the inspiration to embrace unfettered imagination and creativity. His earliest recordings took place in the windowless basement of his parent’s home, allowing his subconscious to take over as he fought the insomnia that had driven him to this secluded spot.
The world is now well aware of what came next. Inspired by a camping trip in Iowa, the intriguing appearance of thousands of fireflies at dusk, and the dreamlike state that occurs between wakefulness and falling into deep sleep, Adam composed one of his greatest hits “Fireflies.” Adam’s song delivers one view of the childlike wonder of seeing the gentleness of the world when life slows down. The toys in his video pick up the childlike theme and carry it throughout its presentation.
A lot of questions have been asked about the writing process for the song. After all, it is a bit unusual to sing about fireflies, especially with such open-hearted fondness and childlike delight. Along with the questions, you can find all sorts of speculation, most of which was silenced once Adam opened up in 2017 and shared the details on social media.
Adam states that he received a total of 10,000,000 lightning-bug hugs. Wow! Before you try to imagine getting all of those wonderful little bug hugs, you should keep in mind that Adam remarked that the lightning bugs gathered in a gentle swarm out of necessity to hug him. He stated that lightning bugs or fireflies as they are also known have soft underbellies, intractible pterothoraxes, and immobile prothorax, basically meaning they cannot bend. Therefore, they came together in unison to give him some firefly love. While doing so, they also glowed in brilliant illumination because they were happy to do so.
With a little imagination, you can easily believe that a multitude of fireflies could envelop you in one giant hug composed of 10,000 individual hugs. Just close your eyes and listen for slightly less than three minutes to the piano and violin cover for Owl City’s “Fireflies” presented by 92 Keys.
Influenced by Postal Service?
The similarity to Postal Service’s sound is striking and undeniable. Imitation is often considered to be the best sort of praise, and in this case, the sheer success of this top hit seems to coincide with the idea of honoring fellow artists. Whether or not this imitation was intentional isn’t really the question. After all, much of the world of music resonates with similarities in themes, tones, and presentations, creating songs that tug on familiar heartstrings to engender immediate reactions of strong emotion.
Owl City’s Fireflies Music Video
When it came time to create the music video, Adam certainly wasn’t going to let go of his unique grasp of what a little creativity can produce. In his video, which happens to feature Adam at the keyboard/synthesizer, a varied group of toys come to life in a room filled to the brim with colorful bits of the past. It is almost like a swarm of fireflies suddenly coming to life as the sun goes down and the world slows down almost to a peaceful stop. Whether you listened to this pop song on your iPod or tuned to the radio to a channel featuring electronica-infused music, it is worth taking a look at the original video featuring Adam singing “Fireflies.” The sheer magic of it adds to the ethereal quality of the song.
Memetic Mutations for “Fireflies”
As once stated by Charles Caleb Colton, a famous English writer, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” In today’s world, memetic mutations seem to be one of the most popular methods for offering a touch of flattery to popular musicians of the day. A huge variety of catchy derivatives honoring “Fireflies” can be found all over the internet today. Renditions include versions featuring cats and dogs instead of vocalists, popular Disney characters, and well-known celebrities.
A Surprising Return to Popularity
Just as surprising as its original success, the recent popularity and fan interest in “Fireflies” is creating a resurgence that is as awe-inspiring as it is unusual. Many sources credit the rush to listen to a song where insects take the center stage to a single May-2017 tweet by Adam in which he explains the manner in which 10,000 lightning bugs can provide 1,000 hugs to a human being. Suddenly, it seems as though everyone is listening to his rendition of “Fireflies” all over the internet.
As the musical landscape continues to evolve, this momentary return to synthpop signals a refreshing exploration of past genres and popular pieces, suggesting the past is here to stay and is going to continue influencing the world around us – even to the point of taking a second look at the power of 10,000 lightning bugs to deliver 1,000 hugs in a tranquil, uplifting sort of dreamy moment.
Owl City – Live on Tour
An American electronica musical project, Owl City is the brainchild of Adam Young, who performs well on his own as lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. However, when he is on tour, his band brings along several artists who are notable in their own right. They include Breanne Düren (keyboard and back-up vocalist), Jasper Nephew (guitar), Rob Morgan (bass), and Gabriel Hagan (bass). Previous touring members include Casey Brown (drums), Steve Gould (drums), Laura Musten (violin), Hannah Schroeder (cello), Matt Decker (drums), Austin Tofte (keyboard and vocals), and Daniel Jorgensen (guitar). Matthew Thiessen continues to perform as a guest vocalist for the band.
Whether you call it synth-pop, techno-pop, electro-pop, or synthesizer pop, this subgenre of music delivers a lively rendition offering one wave after another of upbeat music. Adam has been able to carve a sizable niche in this subgenre for himself, sharing his talents with millions of music fans across the globe. According to RIAA, the Recording Industry Association of America, the single “Fireflies” has reached 7x multi-platinum status, meaning more than 7 million certified units have sold to date.