Far more interesting than the self-centered tales of Airwaves entertainment that I post here on this blog are the conversations that I had with some of Reykjavík’s local artists. I only asked for interviews with people whose music I already loved. It was just a pleasant surprise to discover that these musicians are also among the most intelligent, interesting, and entertaining people that I have ever met. I have left every interview with a better understanding of the music that I love and a clearer picture of a remarkable music scene that has been hidden in the frozen north until recently.
They are a pretty diverse lot, and I hope that you find some new music that you will love as much as I do in this list of the ones that have run so far. Stay tuned for more in the next couple weeks.
An overnight sensation in Iceland, Ásgeir Trausti’s debut album merges classical guitar-based Bon Iver-style folk songs with electronic keys in a smooth blend that’s both folky and romantic. After we agreed to an interview, Ásgeir Trausti was booked to play KEXP’s Reykjavík Calling show here in Seattle. We met the morning of his performance at Neumo’s, and the interview ran here.
Valgeir Sigurðsson is a multi-instrumentalist trained in classical guitar, sound engineering, and production. He is also the founder of the Bedroom Community label. As a producer, he works with big names in indie music like Björk, Bonny “Prince” Billy, and Sam Amidon. As a composer, he writes intelligent, experimental electronic music that often serves as the score for films and ballet. Valgeir graciously invited me to visit Greenhouse Studios where he records. That interview ran here.
Angist produce some of the most brutal death metal in Iceland. Their unrelenting debut EP, Circle of Suffering, only hints at the good things ahead as Angist have continued to develop their sound since its release. Fans are salivating in anticipation of their first full length in 2013 – but that could just be brain damage from their live performance. Members of Angist met me at an Irish pub in Reykjavík, and the interview ran here.
Comprised of a mix of some of Iceland’s most renowned death metal originals and its hottest new talent, Beneath released their debut full length this summer. The winners of Iceland’s first Wacken Metal Battle, they play a fast and brutal death metal without ignoring structure and texture. I met singer Gísli and drummer Ragnar at a Reykjavík whiskey bar, and the resulting interview can be found here.
Folks in the States haven’t heard of 1860 yet, but they will, and in Iceland, their debut album has already made them a household name. Their particular brand of folk-pop features mandolin and a hint of old-timey feeling that makes their intricate, richly layered songs feel simple and accessible. In person at the KEX Hostel, members of 1860 were like their songs – complex yet open, and a joy to listen to. That conversation is written up here.