“I got a couple secrets brewing,” Angel Olsen says slyly about her upcoming performance at Pitchfork Music Festival July 15. “There is some old material I’d like to play. Maybe a solo song [without the band].” The singer-songwriter started her career a decade ago playing basement shows in Chicago, and has since released three albums, including last year’s critically acclaimed “My Woman.” Now based in North Carolina, Olsen chatted with us about her Windy City roots and the pair of shoes she won’t perform without.
What do you miss about Chicago? I miss old Logan Square. I miss going to the Italian ice place, riding my bike and being poor. I miss eating tacos everyday. … I miss the summertime and getting a watermelon and going to the beach. I miss being able to go to a show that is tiny and no one knows about.
You’ve started directing your own music videos — how did you get into that? You know, being frustrated by what wasn’t out there and what I wasn’t doing for myself. … I don’t want anyone else to tell me how to look or what my image should be. … I was like, “I can do this by myself, and I will do it, and it might be not as good, but I have money saved. I’m not even going to ask for permission to do it, I’m just going to do it.”
You filmed the video for “Shut Up Kiss Me” in a roller rink. My 6-year-old wants to know how you skate so well. Aww, well, I’d go to roller skating rinks growing up. You’d have crushes on boys — or whoever — and get popcorn and a cola, talk gossip and skate in circles to your favorite songs. I went back as an adult, put skates on and never took them off.
How would you describe your personal style? I have a friend, Bailey Raynor, @baileyobailey on Instagram — she makes dresses and halter rompers for me. We look at 1930s and ’60s style and reappropriate it for my body. And I have a signature pair of shoes that I wear most of the time onstage: It’s a pair of clogs I got in Portugal, called XUZ. They are my lucky shoes; they are as essential as a keyboard.
So are we going to see the lucky clogs at Pitchfork? Oh you gonna see ’em, girl. You’re gonna see ’em.
For tickets to Pitchfork Music Festival, visit Pitchfork.com/festival/chicago.