Old Age, “This Land Stays With Me”
Old Age‘s newest album, “This Land Stays With Me”, combines haunting ambient drones, startling electronic phrases and chilling vocals that leave one with goosebumps and wanting more. Old Age, consisting of current Bellarmine University student Connor Waldman, released his debut album, Lusten, last February. In his sophomore album, Waldman taps into his St.Louis roots, frequently referencing the Midwest and creating landscapes with both his lyrics and music. I had an opportunity to sit down with Connor and speak with him about his latest work.
Listen to the interview!
Here is a transcription from our interview:
Portraits & Walls: I’m here with Connor Waldman from Old Age, who recently released his sophomore album, This Land Stays With Me. So, thanks for being here.
Connor Waldman: Thanks.
P&W: So, what drives your creative process? What goes on in your head when you’re writing music?
Waldman: A lot of the times I just imagine landscapes and sceneries and old memories, hence the title of my album, This Land Stays With Me. The whole time I was writing these songs I just had different places and memories in my mind, either when growing up or college, wherever. I just wanted to capture a place and a time and an ascetic.
P&W: Yeah, understandable. So without digging too deeply into your personal mind, what kind of landscape do you picture? Because I know when I think of landscapes I don’t typically think of city skyline, I think rural, snowy, farm.
Waldman: Yeah, definitely. I imagine more rural areas, like the Lutsen album that I did is all about Lutsen, Minnesota which is up in Northern Northern Minnesota up by Lake Superior, so there is a lot of dense forestry, big bodies of water, a lot of really cool rock structures, but also when I think of landscapes, I grew up in St. Louis, I think of that whole urban landscape, and they both definitely have different sounds, but they also have some things in common.
P&W: If you were to put a sound to the landscape of St. Louis, what would it be?
Waldman: I don’t know, I associate a lot of different time periods when I was living in St. Louis, like different bands and I constantly find myself referring back to Broken Social Scene for some reason I grew up listening to Broken Social Scene with all my friends and they just embody the whole atmosphere in St. Louis.
P&W: This album does have a lot of nostalgia feel to it…
P&W: What time period in your life do you really think this reflects?
Waldman: Well especially with “Onion Grass” and stuff, definitely when I was growing up in the first house I lived in St. Louis which was about until I was five; it was fun going back and trying to pick out all these vague memories and piecing them together and then finding out new information, now from my parents, about actually what happen and then it was early 90’s so you had a lot of cheesy synths, you know what I mean? I was doing it as a part of landscape, you know bringing in this whole atmosphere.
P&W: A soundscape.
P&W: So actually in your first album, as well as your second album, there’s really not that many lyrics, and onion grass is probably the one with the most of them… What was that like writing down lyrics? Were they personal things? What did you draw from?
Waldman: That was a lot from memories and then also I was talking to my parents about different things, my dad knows a lot facts about St. Louis, I always joke that he can do a tour of St. Louis. I really do like writing lyrics and I don’t do it as often as I should I guess but yeah, “Onion Grass” was a lot of fun to write. It’s all about memories from the first house I lived in St. Louis. Actually, there’s one line about this guy who lived behind us and there was a pool and he had a van and he backed into the pool and the van went into the pool and he actually drowned. Honestly, for the longest time I thought that was just a weird dream that I had, and actually when I put out that song my dad was like oh yeah, that happened.
P&W: Mildly horrific…
[Onion Grass from This Land Stays With Me by Old Age]
P&W: Well thank you for sitting down and chatting with me, it has really been a pleasure.
Waldman: Yeah, no problem, it was fun.