The Tour Bus: Owl City’s Quick Take on Writing Songs on the Road

July 19, 2017 | by Jon Simmons

Owl City, Photo by Abbey Olmsted

Owl City | Photo by Abbey Olmsted


The Tour Bus is an ongoing series featuring musicians talking about staying creative while touring as well as offering mobile recording tips from the road. In this bite-sized installment, pop icon Owl City shares how he writes songs on the go. (Read iZotope’s full interview with Owl City here.)

How do you capture ideas on tour? How do you find the time and energy to conceive new music on the road?

It’s true, my brain never shuts off so I’m constantly writing and creating and imagining new song ideas wherever I am. When I’m traveling, I’ll sing melodies into my phone, when I’m on tour, sometimes I’ll produce a full track on a 12-hour flight to Japan. I love how audio production software today allows an artist to both conceptualize and finish a creative idea over the course of a few hours, when in the past, the same process might’ve taken days. On tour, I usually hide in the green room or on the tour bus working on my laptop because creating music is one of the ways through which I deal with life. Since life is so fast-paced and crazy on the road, I’m usually really busy. I’ve always been driven to become better at what I do; I love the idea of trying to “beat my own score” and create a song that is bigger or better or catchier than the last. Being portable enough to work anywhere around the world is ideal for someone like me.

I’m of the opinion that inspiration comes from anywhere you’re willing to accept it from. Fortunately, on tour there’s a lot of visual stimulation, which provides ample opportunities to get inspired. It’s all about opening yourself up and engaging your senses.


Be ready to record your song ideas wherever you are. Download the Spire app, a free, multi-track recording app for iPhone.