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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

Profile: Landon Conrath hates chasing trends

Minneapolis-based indie musician Landon Conrath went viral during the pandemic. We spoke to him about his roots and where he hopes to go next.
Courtesy of Sawyer Brice.
Courtesy of Sawyer Brice.

“I’m afraid my whole life is a play, and I’ve got stage fright,” indie-pop artist Landon Conrath sings in his upcoming single “Casanova,” slated for a March 18 release.

The 22-year-old Minnesotan has music in his bones and has no trouble publicly sharing the struggles he faces in his love life and career.

Conrath released his first single, “Pieces,” in early 2020 and rose to fame after scoring placement on some Spotify editorial playlists. He has since released two EP’s and a handful of other hit tunes, like “Acetone,” which garnered over four million listens on the streaming app. The musician recently played his second sold-out show at 7th Street Entry in February.

Though success rapidly came to Conrath during the early months of the pandemic, he has not been immune to the burnout many have experienced since.

“It was such a hard year for me,” he said. “I was trying to rationalize how much I cared about streaming, how much I cared about numbers and how much I care about what that’s doing to my head.”

His most recent release, “Last Week,” details a toxic professional relationship Conrath had while producing his first single. “It was like my first time forking over creative license to somebody else. You know?” He almost didn’t release “Pieces” after such a negative first experience in the industry, but he’s sure glad he did.

Conrath recently graduated from Bethel University with a degree in software engineering, after balancing his studies with efforts to foster a full-time career as a musician.

“I’ve always had a really intense connection to music,” Conrath said, adding that many of his family members were musicians or music teachers. He grew up in Lino Lakes, a suburb roughly 30 minutes northeast of Minneapolis, performing at church and working in cover bands whenever he could.

Conrath’s drive comes from his passion for accomplishing, whether that’s making music or pushing himself physically while hiking, skiing or biking.

“You’re just like destroying your body for fun, and you just kind of have to close your eyes and keep taking the next steps,” he said. “I guess that’s a good metaphor, as I’m saying that right now. To just keep trying. Keep showing up.”

He added that he didn’t want people to think his only hobbies included extreme outdoorsmanship. Often, he spends time relaxing by playing Fortnite with friends. “Don’t think I’m some crazy mountain climber, ultra marathoner. That’s definitely not the case,” Conrath continued with a laugh.

Conrath’s current band is mostly longtime friends who’ve performed and toured together throughout their late teens in their alt-rock band, Harbor & Home.

Caleb Dee, one of those bandmates and a solo musician in his own right, said that their friend group remains close-knit, despite each of them pursuing their own careers and often living in different places across the country.

Dee performed at 7th Street Entry with Conrath earlier this year. “It felt very nostalgic,” he said. “It was our first full circle kind of moment.”

Conrath played drums for Harbor & Home in high school, and couldn’t imagine any other life for himself back then. “I was like, ‘Man, that’s all I want to do,’” he said. “I just want to tour the world. I want to play on people’s records and I just want to play drums.”

He didn’t have a strong interest in songwriting until an unfortunate biking accident left him with a broken wrist, an inability to drum for months and a strong urge to keep making music. “I could still move four fingers, so I could play simplified piano,” Conrath said. “I started covering my favorite songs and learning how to do that, learning how to sing.”

Grant Deakins, another one of Conrath’s friends and bandmates that’s been with him since high school, said that Conrath is the same down-to-earth person whether they’re performing at First Avenue or in someone’s barn. “Getting to see Landon grow as a solo artist and develop his sound and brand over the last couple of years has been an honor to be a part of,” he added.

For now, Conrath’s working on getting his next album out later this year. He hates the idea of choosing between maintaining momentum by writing catchy hooks for TikTok and writing the kind of music that feels right.

“I’m trying to flip my headspace from those first six months, where it’s just like, ‘Whoa, we’re doing crazy numbers,’ to ‘I just want to make music because I actually, legitimately enjoy it,’” Conrath said.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Conrath’s age. Conrath is 22 years old. 

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