Ep. #193: Angel Olsen

Angel Olsen is an evocative and true singer and songwriter who originally hails from Missouri but now calls North Carolina home. A frequent collaborator of Bonnie “Prince” Billy, as well as the Cairo Gang, Olsen emerged as a solo force with her 2010 debut EP, Strange Cacti and its 2012 full-length follow-up, Half Way Home. Her most recent album is Burn Your Fire for No Witness, which was widely hailed as a masterpiece and the best album of 2014 according to the A.V. Club. The record is available via Jagjaguwar and Olsen is playing select solo shows in Canada, including a NXNE appearance on June 20 in Toronto and Sappyfest in Sackville, New Brunswick on August 1. Here, Angel and I talk about how it’s funny to be called the best, lists and friendships, the year 2014, Dude Incredible by Shellac of North America, forming a band and playing solo, how band arrangements might impact deeply personal creations, working with Will Oldham and the Cairo Gang and leadership, other people’s annoying suggestions, what Burn Your Fire for No Witness might say about Angel’s 26th year, people’s fixation on darkness in her work even though there’s lightness in there, people should be able to sense her sense of humour, comedy jokes, two nuns and an orgasm, funny and mystifying lyrics, where the songs might come from, external perceptions and disappointing media coverage, podcasts are preferable, e-mail interviews too, nosy journalists, early music days for Angel, makeshift audio engineering, Skeeter Davis and the Davis Sisters, busking in St. Louis, early days working with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Emmett Kelly, people might be popping off too soon, getting into film and filmmaking maybe, writing a book, the movie Paper Moon, the next album is shaping up in some ways, recording everyday, conversations at parties that are presumably about LeBron James, a possible Angel Olsen covers album, working on piano pieces for something, the use value in learning another person’s song, the Everly Brothers and singing like you talk, the song “Iota,” insecurity, and this was fun.

Related links: angelolsen.com vishkhanna.com

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