sunnudagur, september 30, 2007

Brúðarbandið aka The Band of Brides

Brúðarbandið is a seven piece all girl band from arctic Iceland. Formed only in the end of the year 2003 we have taken the Icelandic scene by storm and played numerous venues, TV and radio shows along with the Iceland Airwaves festival. We toured the USA successfully in in January 2005 and played at a supercool music/artfestival in Ystad, Sweden, in late April. We plan to enchant the crowds at Roskilde Festival in the end of June 2005.
Learning from scratch
Brúðarbandið is formed on the principle that curiosity is the greatest virtue. We all had at one point or another played an instrument and some of us had even gotten so far as to be in a band. However, when Brúðarbandið first came together we decided that each of us had to play an unfamiliar instrument. They say that ignorance is bliss and we had great fun discovering new things together as was our goal. We usually had a clear idea of what we wanted to do but no idea how those particular sounds were made so we just kept on trying to play that string or bang that drum differently until we had what we wanted. Just being able to make lots of noise was deeply satisfying and being able to drop hints to people that you were in a band also made us feel extremely cool.
Luck is a Lady
Apparantly people around us were enjoying the process too as we had only been rehearshing for 3 weeks when we were asked to play at a friend's birthday party. At that point our repertoire consisted of two original songs only but we managed to bang the third one together before this first gig of ours and performed with great bravado even though our knees were trembling. Next thing we knew we were being asked to perform on Mósaík which is an established Icelandic tv-show that covers culture and related matters. We were thrilled to get to be a part of something like that, not to mention getting to sit in front of lit up mirrors and having pink makeup put on us by professionals, ... oh, so chic! Few days later we got to open for that amazing riotgirlband Harum Scarum. And then everytime we thought that wow, this is as lucky as going to get, oppertunities just kept throwing themselves at us: offers from radio stations, tv-stations, newspapers and magazines, bands asked us to play with them, barowners and promoters craved us. On our first sweet spring we got offered a record deal with 12 Tónar, which a really nice label and an independent record store in Reykjavík. We countered our amazing karma by writing a heap of songs in a very short time and became more confident as gigs went by. Our debut record was released in July 2004 and is called Meira! which is Icelandic for "more!". It has 13 lovely songs and you can check it out here.
The wedding dresses
Yes. That's right! We always perform in wedding dresses and our name can be translated as The Band of Brides. The idea originally was Melkorka's. When we started she was writing a screenplay about a group of girls who play in a band and are dressed as brides. We were supposed to star in the film and thus we needed to aquire the minimal rockstar skills. Ironically, he film was supposed to be about a cruel world and the band's crushed dreams. Now that doesn't really describe us does it? Anyway, the filmproject got abandoned because the real thing was so much more fun and the band, like Frankenstein, claimed it's independence from it's master.
We like our dresses very much and we like being the Band of Brides. There's something inherently naughty about playing punkrock in a dress that is the symbol of a feminin gentleness. But our fondness for the dresses also has lots to do with the fact that they're covered with pearls, lace and things that sparkle. Having a dresscode like this for the whole band also means that we never have to worry what we're going to wear on stage which gives us more time to concentrate on preparing our actual performance.
Very different girls
"There are seven girls out here and they all have different coloured hair!" was what the receptionist at Sir in Nashville yelled out to the guy in the back when we came there to pick up the gear we had rented. But it's not just our hair that's different, our interests and taste in music vary greatly. Brúðarbandið includes an historian, a dramaturg, an anthropology student, a journalist, column writers, two mothers, an artist, kindergarten employee, a receptionist at a car inspection company,... Most of us have lived for extended periodes outside of Iceland, but of course in different countries! We like to think that this diversity only makes us stronger and it is an undisputed fact that our music is indeep a curious mix of influences.
More women rasing hell on stage!
Our manifesto declares that we'd like more women to rule the stage. This is not just some token declaration, we actually think that since only half of mankind feels free to turn them amplifiers on, there must be great rock 'n' roll resources still untapped. Today we obviously only have half the rock 'n' roll we could have had and we want that to change! We want more madness, more noise, more amazing songs to shake our asses to and we want it badly!
We have organised and hosted two events where groups consisting primarly of young women performed. Both nights rocked! We'd like to see women unite around this cause. But as with many passionate matters this is a two edged sword: sometimes it annoys us when the media focuses on our gender. Of course we like the thought of other women, of young girls, reading about us and thinking, hey! I'd like to do this and obviously I can!. But then again when bands are comprised of males their gender is not an issue and journalists never ask them how it feels to be a guy and play in a band.. We tend to solve any frustration resulting from this with either some loud playing or by purifying our minds with distilled liquids. Or both.
The drummers
The position of Brúðarbandið's drummer is more perilous than bungee jumping. Sunna, our original drummer took a temporary leave in January 2005 as her pregnancy didn't allow her to go with us the USA. Dísa, a charming dreadlocked chica, took her place and worked wonders with us for a few months. Eventually though we wore her out and three weeks before the Roskilde festival her doctor forbade her to play the drums for an uncertain time: she was suffering stress injuries to her shoulder. Our third drummer turned out to be male but he's still very talented and super cute in that wedding dress!
When on our third drummer in the same year, we started to joke that we were the Spinal Tab. Luckily Sunna is coming back to us after Roskilde, allowing us to break this viscious cycle of chewing up drummers and spitting them out.
The future
In august we will open for Sonic Youth when they play in Reykjavík. We are extremely honoured as they chose us from the miriad of icelandic bands who desired that spot. Otherwise our goal for the next months is to focus inwards. We're anxious to work on new material but all the fun travelling has been very time consuming as has training new drummers. A documentary about out USA tour is in the works.
Band of Brides demands more punk! More rock! More women raising hell on stage! More women producing loud noises through amplifiers!
Band of Brides demands men shirts with exceedingly low necklines! Tighter male trousers! More groupies!
Band of Brides demands less bullshit! Band of Brides demands a better government! Band of Brides demands diamonds and pearls! And free drinks at the bar!
Band of Brides opposes the specialization of society! Band of Brides supports people taking charge of their own fate, becoming their own king, their own priest! Band of Brides supports the act of making your own music instead of simply sitting still listening!
Band of Brides demands more love! Band of Brides demands more frequent sunsets, brighter Northern lights and bigger halos! Band of Brides demands that all swimming pools be filled with pink water! Band of Brides demands more weddings for everyone!
Band of Brides demands that the Icelandic public be alert and regain their innocence! Band of Brides is aware that that there is no saviour in waiting! Band of Brides is aware that the emperor is naked! Band of Brides is aware that those who only do what they know spend their life treading the same path! Band of Brides demands the disallowance of import taxes on pink lipstick!
Band of Brides does not have the patience to wait for tomorrow! Band of Brides is already a part of the future! Band of Brides will straight out start with the dessert!
Album Review of Brúðarbandið First CD "Meira!"
Bart Cameron
Published in Grapevine Issue 6, May 2005
We thought we’d take another listen to Brúðarbandið after being informed that they had recently broke the bank on a tour of the Bible Belt in the US. Everyone wants to like Brúðarbandið: they have seven members who wear wedding dresses, they have an accordion player and they have a manifesto. They also have a song with the refrain “Sid Vicious so delicious.” On most songs, despite the seven members, the music is curiously thin, with commendable punk bass and less commendable snare-heavy drums and a vague guitar presence.
Over the year since its release, I have revisited this album repeatedly trying to figure exactly what goes wrong. The singing is often flat, the lyrics intentionally grating but apolitical, (unless you think a girl saying a boy is cute is political), and the music, despite reaching for obvious hooks, kills any momentum... or will to live. As I said earlier, we want good things for this band. They seem to have the right material: namely, chutzpah. And an accordion. A CD that features seven women in bridal gowns playing punk has to be really really bad for us not to recommend it. This is dangerously close, but we openly acknowledge that Reykjavík is a better town for having this band here. We just hope they release a better cd soon. Please buy the cd so they have the money for studio time. Give it to a friend, what could be a better souvenir?
Worth two beers. Cost three beers.
Video "Sid"
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