Q&A1234: Landon Conrath

The multi-faceted Minneapolis indie-pop artist Landon Conrath has been making waves in the music industry for quite some time now. Becoming the leading voice of his local indie music scene, touring with big names and collaborating with Jake Luppen of Hippo Campus, it becomes crystal clear that he’s growing a loyal fanbase of music lovers and musicians alike. Angst filled vocals, sinister guitar melodies that send shivers down and a powerful lyrical sentiment within his music that makes an everlasting connection with the listener, he’s an artist who bares his soul to the listener, speaking to them at eye level and giving them a place of solace to unleash their emotions. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Landon to chat about his journey, what happens next and what he wants to be remembered for.

For anyone who hasn’t heard your music before, how would you describe it without using any genre terminology?

It started out leaning more minimalist, DIY, and bubbly. But has been slowly transitioning into messier, raw music just littered with as many hooks as I can possibly think of. Recently I’ve really just been wanting to make music that is gonna be fun to play live. I’m constantly thinking about how the song is gonna translate in a club with a loud PA and a bunch of fans going crazy. Really just want to make chaotic music that has catchy hooks haha. 

You grew up in Lino Lakes and often performed at Church or in a cover band in your spare time, can you remember what your first gig was? Paint a picture for us.

Church was where I started playing music but I can skip over that history cause it was mostly the exact same every single weekend. My first legitimate gig was with a band that I joined straight out of high school. They were headed out on a national tour and needed a drummer who could play for free since they were on a tight budget. I remember deciding not to go to college and figured I would pursue a career as a pro drummer. The tour was only a few weeks long and soon I was dumped back at home with nothing to do for the rest of summer. I realized that I wasn’t the rock star I thought I was and ended up enrolling for school the next week. That first tour taught me a ton about live music, and really gave me a sense of a realistic life as a musician. It wasn’t all glory and fame, there was a lot of hard work to be done first. 

You also performed in the band Harbor & Home with a group of your friends who’re now a part of your tour band. How has it been taking your friends on this journey with you?

It’s been the very best thing….for the most part. Being in a band with your best friends makes everything SO much fun. We are constantly having a blast no matter if we’re just rehearsing or if we’re performing for hundreds of people. I’ve always believed that coming up with a circle of people around you that you bring along for the journey is better than trying to reach the people who are in the “tier” above you. People will work harder and be more loyal when they know that they are valued and won’t be tossed aside for someone else as soon as you outgrow them. The flipside of being so close with everyone is that no one is afraid to show their true feelings and in a place where a hired gun would normally keep things strictly professional, we can tend to get a bit emotional especially when we’re all in a car together for hours at a time. But in the end this creates a more healthy environment and it’s all completely worth it. 

You confessed in Cassonva that you’re afraid your whole life is a play, and you’ve got stage fright. Please tell me you’ve watched the Truman Show and if so did you get some deja vu?

I sadly have to admit that I’ve never seen the Truman show. But I think that this line was mostly trying to get at the fear that one day the rug would be pulled out from underneath me and I would come to the realization that this was all a dream. I, along with every other creative on the planet, struggle a ton with imposter syndrome and I think that’s what I was trying to get at. I just always feel like I’m faking my way through this whole music thing and one day people are gonna find out that I actually suck. 

I say that because, your origin into songwriting is almost from a movie. Breaking your wrist in a biking accident, meaning you can’t drum anymore, leading you to piano and songwriting as a result. It’s a crazy string of events isn’t it?

A crazy string of events that I’m very thankful for. It definitely felt like my life was over when I couldn’t practice drums for those 6 weeks I had a cast on but it ultimately led me to start singing.

Because you started out as a drummer do you take extra care when it comes to getting that percussion just right?

Drums are definitely one of the biggest parts of the puzzle that shaped my sound in the early stages of releasing music. We didn’t have enough microphones to record real drums so we relied on high-energy drum loops to get the sound across. This led to a very specific sound that people started to expect from me and I have done my best to continue the tradition. 

You’ve got a fantastic work ethic to which comes from your passion to accomplish things. You’ve done a lot of hiking, biking, skiing and other activities, is there any one activity you’ve found helps you most when you’ve got creative block or need a burst of inspiration?

I am very motivated by accomplishing things. Sometimes this can be my downfall since I can end up focusing too hard on how I appear to other people. I want to accomplish crazy things sometimes just to tell other people that I did it, not just because I enjoy it or am passionate about it. But ultimately my favorite activity outside of music is easily big mountain skiing. Being out west in the mountains is my absolute favorite thing on planet earth to make me feel re-energized. 

You’re very open with your songwriting but Science Fiction seems to be your most open yet. How does it feel having such a personal part of yourself out there in the world?

I’ve always kind of been a person that tends to overshare a bit so it feels pretty natural to just spill my guts in a song. I have a massive fear of being misunderstood by people and so it seems to make the most sense to me to just explain as much as possible to negate that possibility. 

The lyric ‘my chemistry owns me’ has struck a chord in your fanbase, why do you think that line in particular has become such an important lyric to your fans?

I think that lyric resonates with people a lot simply because it just puts words to the helplessness you can feel when your brain seems to be taking complete control of your soul. It’s hard when your body/emotions don’t seem to line up with how you want to feel. Whether people have struggled with clinical depression or they’ve struggled with just nagging feelings of sadness, I think everyone has felt like their body is betraying their mind. 

The track is also building up to your album Nothing Matters Anyway. What do you want people to take away from this album?

The album came together over such a long period of time and in such a disorganized fashion that I really didn’t think it was going to have an overarching theme. But I think it has gradually come together to paint a picture of the past few years of my life. I was at the lowest point of my life during the Fall of 2021 and I felt like I was inches away from ending my artist career. During that season it seemed like it was so much easier to just slap on the temporary band-aid of saying “nothing matters anyway” rather than actually buckling down and dealing with the problems that I was facing in my life. I think I just want people to know that everyone struggles with feeling like their world is crumbling around them. No matter what their life looks like on social media or anything else. 

Is there a standout track that you haven’t released yet that you’re really excited to release?

My favorite song is still unreleased. It’s called “So, So” and I don’t want to give anything else away about it. The only thing I’ll say is that I reference not one, but two chain restaurants/grocery stores. 

In 10 years time, what do you want the name Landon Conrath to mean to people?

I have a lot of dreams surrounding music. I would love to be able to produce other people’s music, continue to write my own, and tour with other bands as a hired gun. I basically just want to do it all, and do as much as I possibly can. I can’t say that I really want “Landon Conrath” to be a household name or anything, cause I definitely want to just go out in public whenever haha, but my main goal is to be able to pay rent and buy food every month just by making music. 

Who’re you counting in? (what new upcoming artists are you enjoying right now)

Oh man, there are so many insane talented artists coming up in the scene right now, but some of my favorites are…. Dora Jar, Papa Mbye, WHY NOT, BEL, Dylan Frasier, Sfven, and carwash.