Landon Conrath Transitions Internet Fame to Reality

Humble is not always a word that best describes many musicians or singers, but it describes Twin Cities-based producer and songwriter Landon Conrath perfectly. When speaking to the unassuming 23-year-old Bethel University graduate from Lino Lakes, you wouldn’t guess he has almost a million monthly listeners on Spotify.

Conrath released his first song “Pieces” in January 2020. The song was picked up by some of Spotify’s algorithmic playlists, like Discover Weekly and Release Radar, which introduce listeners to new music based on what’s already in their playlists. But his monthly listener count grew exponentially when his song “Acetone” was added to Spotify’s Good Vibes editorial playlist that has 2 million listeners. 

At first, Conrath found it difficult to transition (or even feel) that success in real life. He and his band hadn’t played any shows (due to the pandemic) and Conrath only had a small presence on Instagram and other social media platforms. Were people actually listening to his music, or were they just shuffling through Spotify’s curated playlists?

“It was this weird disassociation between like, am I actually doing well? Or did I just get really, really, really lucky?” Conrath said. “It was this weird back and forth—I haven’t really done much and I’m not super successful but people seem to view my internet presence as successful which doesn’t feel right.”

While numbers mean a lot in the music industry, it’s not the numbers that drive Conrath. In fact, he seems to shy away from his Spotify success, as if his lengthy list of monthly listeners is illegitimate and non-transferable to his day-to-day reality, even though he’s built an impassioned following of local listeners.

Regardless of where he’s cultivating his audience, Conrath’s breezy indie-pop songs are catchy and ultimately uplifting, keeping true to his personal style.

“It’s like the most cliche story to start my songwriting career of all time. I just wrote a song about a stupid breakup, like everyone in the world does,” said Conrath about his song “Pieces.” He’s getting married next year, and jokes that he would thankfully have to find something new to write about. Lately, he’s spent time writing about mental health and his lockdown experiences over the last few years. His debut album, “Nothing Matters Anyway,” is all about grappling with the unknown, and finding a hopeful optimism despite its nihilistic title.

“We’re all dealing with a lot of the same things, like, it’s not bad when you’re struggling and have major lows in your life. That’s normal. Things are gonna be okay at the end of the day,” Conrath said. “There’s some camaraderie.”

Conrath tries to be involved in the production process of his music as much as he can be, even working alongside Jake Luppen of Hippo Campus on fan-fave “Trader Joe’s.” While touring, he’s been the music and production director for fellow Minnesota songwriter Ber. Since he’s predominantly a drummer, any guitar he plays on his songs are simple. But Conrath doesn’t mind that.

“It also just kind of comes out of a necessity. Like, I don’t know how to produce a really clean pop song,” Conrath said. “I probably couldn’t do it if someone hired me… so I kind of stick to my guns a little bit.”

But for an artist that strives to make music that feels like himself, it works.

“The more that artists are involved in their own music, the more that it sounds like them, just because it’s them,” he said.

Like any other Minnesotan artist, Conrath dreams of playing the First Avenue mainroom one day with his bandmates and “best friends on the entire Earth.” He hopes that he can use the platform he’s gained from his success on Spotify to highlight the Minneapolis music scene and give back to the community.

“Part of me has a weird pride about staying in Minneapolis and wanting to see the city become a music hub,” said Conrath. “I just want to stay here and do as much as I can to legitimize Minneapolis… the more music that we can have happen here, the more people will finally realize that it’s a great city.”

Catch Landon Conrath performing at the 7th St. Entry on Dec. 30. Ber, Creeping Charlie, TYSM!, and DJ Qani are opening.

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