Report on Iceland Music Scene by Dr. Gunni
reporting from the reef and telling you what has happened since my last report. The most active band this summer was OXMSA. Their first vinyl effort, a 12" called Rip Rap Rup sold well and the song "Kitty" from the record became popular, especially after the boys showed a promotional video on Icelandic TV.
Video of "Kittý" by Oxsmá
They toured the country and played in the most unusual places, like slobby fish factories, oddfellows clubhouses, etc. The 6 lanky guys also gigged wildly in the capital city, Reykjavik and became the band to see and hear. Unfortunately, they split up in September, causing several teenage girls to commit suicide (just kidding). After they split, they finally had the guts to reveal 2 movie masterpieces that they made during their 5 years of existence . Once again they' caused thrills . One is called "The OXSMA Planet" (a strange sci-fi movie with rockabilly aggression at its best), and the other is "Suck Me Off, Nina" (a wonderful comedy about some Icelandic hippies into drugs and shows the OXSMA boys imitating hippie music and wearing wigs, etc .).
KUKL, now internationally known, was pretty active in '85, playing in London, Denmark and Berlin. They played several times here, including once with MEGAS (an old Icelandic rock legend), creating a wonderful evening . Their LP came out on Crass Records and is titled Holidays in Europe. It's produced by Penny Rimbaud and sounds like everything you haven't heard before. They can be contacted through Gramm Records/ Laugavegur 17/ 101 Reykjavik/ Iceland.
MED NOKTUM released a mini-LP this summer entitled Skemmtun. They played some dates and gained some attention. Theirsinger used to be in a band called THEYR and the music is strongly influenced by that group and other Cold Wave bands with thought-provoking lyrics like Killing Joke. A new record can be expected from this group.
Video of the band Með nöktum
The VOICE is a new group of 4 young boys who play pop punk a la early CLASH. They play a lot but gain little attention.
They're planning to release a record but I don't know when.
VONBRIGDI finally played again (after a 1 year absence) with the same members.The music has softened up a bit, but it's still up in the air as to what direction their music will take . A mini-LP is planned for this year.
Finally, here is an interview, done by D.L . Johnson, with my band, S.H. DRAUMUR. We just put out an 10" EP.
We've been around for 3 years and the members are Hauker (drums), Steini (guitars), and me (bass) . We've also appeared on several comp tapes and have played 25 times. Warpt Records West (from Santa Cruz, CA) has just released a C-60 with us and a band called ITCH . This interview was done in our rehearsal garage.
It was freezing outside and the drummer was so cold that he had to wear gloves to play . ..
MRR: What was the scene like when you started back in '82?
SHD: Things were on the decline, bands were breaking up, some good groups started playing for money, the clubs dragged out their disco records, and the worst thing of all was that people in general lost interest.
MRR: Have things improved? SHD: Yeah, in a way, because 2 clubs (Zafari and Hotel) have opened for bands in the winter . But Radio 2 is doing a bad job.
MRR: What's Radio 2?
SHD: For over 60 years there's been just one radio station in Iceland, but then suddenly the state realized that it had to open a new one with "music for the younger generation". Many people thought that it would improve the rock scene, but instead of playing the real music for the youth, they mostly play castrated muzak and stuff like that.
MRR: They just legalized free-enterprize radio: will this help?
SHD: We haven't heard any good stations yet, but hopefully . . . We're thinking of forming one ourselves, but who knows if it will happen.
MRR: Do you expect your record (Bensin Skrimslio Skriour, or translated, Gasoline Monster Crawl) to be played often on Radio 2?
SI-ID : Not unless we bribe the disc jockey.
MRR: How would you describe your new record?
SlID: We don't want to tie it to any category, except to say it's rock'n'roll at its widest and the record is simply flicking great.
MRR: Where do you find gigs?
SHD: Our goal is simple : we want to let as many people as possible to hear us, so we play wherever we can--avant garde art galleries, clubs, theaters, colleges. . .but people don't seem to attend gigs as they should.
MRR: Why not?
SHD: They are brainwashed by the media, and they don't want to be seen in "evil places".
MRR: Well, this sounds like a bunch of paranoids in a fascist state . Would you say things are really that bad?
SHD: OK, OK, the problem is linked to the media . If we had radio stations who'd really dare to play good music, the scene would improve . Please remember that there are only 250,000 people living on this reef, so we should be thankful that there is so much going on.
People have written us and said they are amazed there is a scene here at all. They say that in their half million population city there may only be one good group . So, if we sell 500 copies of our record here, it's like selling 500,000 in America.
MRR: Do you consider yourselves to be part of the international punk scene?
SlID : Yeah, positively . . .well maybe not music-wise. We want to play different styles . .we are not musical fascists. We listen to and play various musical styles. But we still punks(!) because we follow the original goal : to do things ourselves. We are in touch with a lot of people internationally and still want to add to our correspondence. Write us.
MRR: Didn't you go to Europe last summer?
SHD: Yes, we played a brilliant gig in the UK, and were supposed to play some shows in Germany. But we got sunburned in Barcelona, Spain and had to rush our trip after lying in bed in pain for 3 days. In Spain in pain . .ha ha ha.
MRR: How do people react to your gigs . .do they slam or something?
SI-ID : I-la! Slam? . . .no, no . They just sit around and get drunk and crawl home . Sometimes they pogo, if they aren't drugged up too much.
MRR: What constitutes a "good" gig in Iceland?
SI-ID: More than 30 people, good sound, and profit instead of endless loss.
MR: Tell us about your lyrics.
SLID : All sung in Icelandic. We are one of the few groups doing that. Everybody thinks they will become big rock stars doing some bullshit in bad English. Prostitution. Our lyrics are mostly stories, word games. They can't be translated into English.
MRR: Well boys, last words and future plans?
SI-ID : We aim to lose more money on more releases. And we plan to gig in England in '86. Our EP is available for $5, and the first orders will receive a copy of the English-speaking fanzine Gorilla Ice Cream that features Icelandic groups.
Our address is : Gunni/ Alfholsvegur 30 a/ 200 Kopavogur/ Iceland.