Courtesy of Zia Anger
By Jonas Weir
Angel Olsen has had a great year. Her 2014 album Burn Your Fire for No Witness was released to critical praise, and the more accessible indie rock sound has garnered her much more deserved attention. She'll even be releasing an expanded edition of the album with a few bonus tracks on November 17. For our October issue, we profiled the St. Louis native and talked about everything from country music to making to move to Asheville, North Carolina. We also asked her a few bonus questions about Missouri just for fun, and she had some great answers.
Missouri Life: How do people react when you tell them you're from Missouri?
Angel Olsen: I think people are surprised at first, and they don’t know where to place me. "So is it a city or is it the country? Is it the middle of nowhere?"
In Europe, they always like, “Mmm … St. Louis, yes. They have the Arch?” And you’re like, “Yes, they have the arch.” What do you say? People don’t know if it’s city. People who don’t know geography at all are oblivious to where and what kind of state you grew up in.
ML: Do you say Missour-ee or Missour-uh?
AO: I used to say … Missour-ee. Yeah, St. Louis, Missour-ee. I guess I say Missour-ee, though my mom and dad have Midwestern accents. I guess I do, too. Southern-style speaking hasn’t really affected me yet.
ML: If you could take only bring one food to a desert island, would be Kansas City barbecue or St. Louis-style pizza.
Oh, man. Probably St. Louis-style pizza.
ML: What’s your favorite outdoor place in Missouri?
AO: I really like the parks. Forest Park is really beautiful. Any park at night is kind of sketchy, though.
No matter how much I hated the music scene or had been just disappointed at the fact that it’s not as connected as it should be, I really love visiting. Every time I go back to visit, I always find out what’s going on with music and what’s going on with different neighborhoods that I grew up in.
I guess Tower Grove park is really beautiful, too. The botanical gardens on Magnolia are really amazing to visit. Just going to the South Grand area brings back memories of high school. I always hit up places of nostalgia when I visit.
Sometimes when I go to the loop, it’s really crazy, and I don’t know if I belong here. It’s funny to see that some things are always the same. You’re always going to see buskers. I remember when I was a teen, I used to play guitar outside of Vintage Vinyl. The guys inside would always tell people to leave, but [for me] they would come out and say, "I really like that song; keep it up." They were super encouraging, but I’m sure someone inside was still super annoyed that they had to see that every day.
There are a lot of places in St. Louis that bring back really good memories.