the ﬁ rst few shows of a tour. And I think performing solo can still be difﬁ cult for me. But I guess that people are there to see or hear my music, so they must be fans . . . and that helps me relax and play the song.’ Peering through her catalogue to construct the set, Olsen is able to be the true curator of her work, linking fan favourites to deep cuts with personal resonance. ‘It took quite a bit of warm-up before we went out, but now we’ve ﬁ nally become a well-oiled machine, you could say. I’m feeling really good about the material – we’ve been on tour for a little bit now so it feels great.’
Each show sits on top of the last, with these experiences lifting Olsen to a different space. ‘I feel like I’m always building,’ she says. ‘I made All Mirrors and a lot of that is very different sounding, but it’s challenging to mix it all up and to create something with the past and the present, and see how they work together.’ In conversation, Olsen peppers her answers with subtle asides, gentle jokes, and a side order of self-deprecating humour. She’s intensely serious about her work, but often ﬂ ippant about herself, and that easy- going vibe exudes from the musicians around her. ‘I’m surrounded by a lot of good people, and we all joke around together. It’s not a stiff environment in any way – even though the songs on this record are more theatrical and darker, we still tend to have a good time together and loosen up once we’re in the middle of the set. I never take anything
so seriously that you can’t have a good time with people, and I think that’s important.’ Hitting Glasgow’s fabled Barrowland Ballroom for a February 14 show, Olsen laughs recalling past Valentine’s misadventures. ‘I think I got into a ﬁ ght on Valentine’s Day once!’ she gasps. ‘I don’t remember what it was about. Then my dress ripped and I got upset . . . but it actually ended up being a really good night. It turned itself around!’
While relishing the opportunity of spending Valentine’s Day with her fans, Olsen is never certain what to expect from one of her shows. ‘I feel like it’s a separate realm,’ she admits. ‘I have to come ready to expect a small audience or a big audience, for people to care or not to care. Each show is it’s own experience in that way.’ One thing is certain, however, and it’s that she won’t be looking back. All Mirrors is still fresh on the shelves, but this songwriter is already looking to the next challenge, to the next project. ‘I did write quite a bit in the summer,’ she reveals, ‘before I had to start touring, so I’ve been taking a break recently. I never know how things are going to take shape until I’m in the studio. So we’ll see.’
And that’s how we leave Angel Olsen – on the cusp of possibility, embracing creativity and wondering aloud about the future. All in all, it’s a good place to be.
Angel Olsen, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow, Fri 14 Feb.
HEAVEN SENT HEAVEN SENT
As independent and versatile as ever, Angel Olsen’s ﬁ fth record is proof of her unwavering status as indie heroine. The singer-songwriter speaks to Robin Murray about the success of All Mirrors, performance nerves and her upcoming Valentine’s Day gig
1 Feb–31 Mar 2020 THE LIST 27