Angel Olsen needs videos

"It could be seen as me making fun of them."

Olsen first attracted attention around Chicago playing casual shows in friends' apartments and basements. Her music, which has a mournful pang, occasionally pegs her as depressed, she said. But she's not. She's serious-minded. Shooting videos with Anger has made her more conscious of that image, though, Olsen said. She is aware many people will construct an idea of her through her videos; so she would like to come across as much like herself as possible — though the images within the videos still shouldn't be too literal.

In short, arty but not too arty.

"I think about music cinematically all the time," she said. "In a lot of ways, that's how I write (songs). I think of images first." She turned to Anger: "I would like to dance in a video. I know it sounds dumb, but I want to dance!" Anger smiled, unsure of where Olsen was going. "Play bongos," Olsen said, "light candles and dance."

Anger took a bite of food from Olsen's plate: "If Angel wants to dance, Angel will dance."

"But dancing with a friend, maybe," Olsen said. "And we're wearing masks, so it's not necessarily my face. It's my body, but, I don't know … depends technically what we can do. What matters is someone dances."

"Or a group of people."

"But who are these people? They're randoms. Are they even related to my music?"

"What you've described to me in the past was it's more about physical movement, anyway."

"Yes," Olsen said, "but it's also about this idea that dance is happening. I was watching this movie, 'Orlando,' and Tilda Swinton is running through a labyrinth and getting older and older as she runs, and when she comes out the other side, she is this different self. I don't want to rip off (director) Sally Potter, but what a cool metaphor."

"So the video is about time? Then maybe we show faces? It's the easiest place to show time passing," Anger said.

"Right, wrinkles."

"But it's super literal."

"Maybe it's more exciting in our heads than it would be to others," Olsen said.

Then, changing gears, Olsen said: "Oh, and there is this other video I have been thinking about, too."

Anger listened, eyebrows raised, expectant.

"I don't know if this song is even going to be on the album, but it's about water," Olsen said. "The lyrics are about a woman who wants to be pure. It's about purifying yourself. Wouldn't it be interesting to make a video for that about being dirty, running out of water? Something with soil? Sand or dust or something. Or burial?"

"Being buried," Anger said.

"And maybe showing the difficult labor of carrying soil up hills."

"So do these people see the person being buried?"


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