sunnudagur, nóvember 30, 2008

Sigur Rós in Belgian De Morgen Magazine (29. November 2008)

Icelandic music is still hot in Belgium. Here's the Exclusive interview with Eva Vermandel, Belgian photographer who collaborated with the band, and Jónsi of Sigur Rós in De Morgen Magazine (dmmagazine), 29. November 2008. Sigur Rós were 3 times on stage in Belgium in 2008.
Now the Magazine is pride to have an exclusive interview with Jónsi, but De Morgen didn't cover the yearly Airwaves '08 Festival, and I know people who talked, although very short, with the band in Scotland! And btw I was there too, @ the Sugarcubes concert @ Vooruit, Ghent, but I didn't jump on stage.

Editorial by Rudy Collier
Interview by Bart Steenhaut
Pseudo-translation by !linus

Editorial: Icelandic cool
Sigur Rós, let me be honest with you: I had barely heard of them. But that is where it becomes fun to be confronted by a young redactional team. From time to time they have persuasive arguments to change even the mind of a somewhat elderly chief-editor. Such as: Sigur Rós was top of the bill at Werchter and Pukkelpop. and moreover: de Morgen Magazine is the only one, worldwide, to do an interview with the musical sensation of 2008. And if that wasn't enough persuasive force: Belgian photographer Eva Vermandel made a photoalbum about this band. Sometimes even the most obtuse chief-editor can be moved by such arguments. So, we want to know. who are these people out of bankrupt Iceland that can inspire the young folks in Flanders so much that they even achieve the top while singing in a non-existing language? Further more there is the remarkable role played by Flemish photographer Eva Vermandel in the Sigur Rós saga. She made a remarkable photoalbum about the band which was added to the luxurious edition of the latest album by the band. When she was 22 she left for London in the hope of building up a career as photographer there. aAtask she managed quite well. Without much glamourous tricks she made photographs for the Observer, the Independent magazine and worked for the Wire and British Vogue. that deserves some respect. As much respect goes to Sigur Rós, the counterpoint to the adage which tells us that the media is all-defining. Sigur Rós never needed the media, they even didn't want anything to do with it. Thus they haven't done any interviews this year, with the exception for one in the British magazine Q. How then did Bart Steenhaut managed to get to them? Shall we ever get an answer to it? Two years ago there was an appointment, but then front-man Jónsi left without honouring it. Now however it worked. Flemish Eva Vermandel probably provided a link. Because things work out between Vermandel and the Icelandic sensation. "I thought what she does is real art. not too styled, not too cool" we are told. Maybe the most interesting question of them all was asked at the end of the interview, especially so after the impressive performance Sigur Rós pulled off at Vorst Nationaal. With what sort of feeling do you hope the crowd leaves after a Sigur Rós concert Bart Steenhaut wanted to know. "I hope they are happy and satisfied. but above all I hope our music inspires. Sometimes i am amazed when i see the part our music plays in the lives of others."
There's more to Iceland than Kaupthing bank.

Top-act Sigur Rós collaborates with Belgian photographer Eva Vermandel
having to pose, that is really the worst of the worst
He is the singer in the band that had a worldwide breakthrough in 2008, and dislikes photo shoots. She is a Belgian photographer who works for the best British magazines. Sigur Rós' Jónsi Birgisson and Eva Vermandel have at first sight little in common, yet they collaborated for the deluxe edition of "med sud í eyrum vid spilum endalaust" (sic), the latest album [of the band] and a magnificent photo-book. "at first she terribly annoyed us. but what a result." an exclusive double interview.

Vermandel was twenty-two when she moved to London hoping to build up a career as photographer there. She didn't have many contacts, but she knew there was no place in Belgium for the sort of images she wanted to create. London was a tough city, but one where you could get a chance. And that is what happened. In the past her photographs, bereft of all glamour, appeared in the observer and the independent magazine and she worked for W, the Wire, Mojo and British Vogue.
Jónsi, on the other hand, had the year of his life in 2008. Sigur Rós became, with its absolutely unique music - somewhere in between classical music and post-rock and with a hint of folk - the band of the moment. And that happened outside the eye of the media because, with the exception of a feature article in British magazine Q, the band hasn't spoken with any journalists this year. The reason for this is that Birgisson would rather prefer to have a bone marrow biopsy instead of being interviewed. When I had made an appointment with him two years ago he left even before we had been introduced. Today the usually shy singer with the weird eye appears to be not only willing to talk, but he is also - there is no end to it - in an extremely good mood. There is even a hefty handshake to be had.

What did you appreciate in the work of Eva Vermandel?
Jónsi Birgisson
Nothing really (laughs loudly). We hadn't heard of her before. so when she came over for the first time to shoot some photographs she annoyed us straightaway. We are a close family, and it is not easy to allow someone into that. But when we saw her images I was very impressed. Real fine photographs. It wasn't the usual rock-photography. I thought it was real art and loved the way she used colours a lot. She just tries to capture the moment. nothing too styled, nothing too cool. I also like the fact that we didn't have to pose. because posing, that is really the worst of the worst.
Eva vermandel
I already did a photo-shoot with them eight years ago for the wire. And on that occasion they travelled around Iceland with me, but it appears they never made that link.

To be honest I don't really get this hatred towards photographers. Sigur Rós has always been intensively involved in design, and your cd's do not look the same as the others available in stores. What is so bad about a photo shoot on occasion?
There are never images of ourselves on the album-covers, and we never feature in our videos [what a little lying cheat you are Jónsi!]. We prefer it when the artwork reflects our music rather than ourselves. in that respect this photo-album is a real exception.

Do you think that - despite this dislike for photographers - you look well in images?
Hmm yes. But not in all cases. And there is one that i really dislike, but that has more to do with me than with her. And I love the layers in her work.
Those are there on purpose, because in everyday reality they are present as well. nothing is ever one way. You are never totally happy or a hundred percent sad. Real life rather situates itself in the nuances between those two extremes.

Did you needed to change the view you had of Sigur Rós greatly after working with them so intensively?
No. they were exactly as I had imagined them: talented musicians with a dislike for cameras. I collaborate best with people who are particularly good in what they do. The guys in Sigur Rós know what they want, and what they do not want. It makes things immediately clear, and that way there is never any bullshit. The only thing that surprised me is how strong a grip they had on their music. They are involved even up to the smallest details, and in the studio they knew exactly what could be improved, and how to get to that result.
(laughs) I deny everything Eva said. Most vehemently even.

Earlier this year sigur rós was one of the biggest headliners at Rock Werchter. I have been told that afterwards you set up a party the likes of which they haven't seen that often there. Even Róisín Murphy was impressed, and she is used to quite a bit.
I recall that things got quite out of hand over there.
see: that is not something people associate with a band that makes rather emotional, almost serious, music.
It is not really that remarkable. Beth Gibbons of Portishead also appears very introvert and serious on stage, but she is also a party animal. And comedians are off stage often extremely sour people.
Those are just two extremes in our personality. moreover: those exuberant parties are part of icelandic culture. We are constantly running around drunk. (laughs) Last night we travelled from Paris to Brussels in a double-decker bus, and we had a gigantic party going on. The bus was stuffed to the brim with people and on each floor there was a dj. A world-tour is as exciting or as dull as you allow it to be, or so I believe.

When bands get bigger the fun often wears off because unwillingly they find themselves running a huge organisation. In the case of sigur rós the process seems almost reversed. Your music and performances have only become more colourful.
That is absolutely true. look: when you are - like Sigur Rós - almost constantly touring it is like you are dropped together on a boat in the sea. You are almost forced to get along, otherwise you wont make it. The people in our entourage are also our best friends. So we don't have to boss around over anyone. A tour is a party that moves on to a different location each day. This summer we had, besides a string quartet, also a brassband with us. And despite the fact that we were on the road with a huge company there was never a bad word amongst us. nevertheless I find it useful that we are now playing with just the four of us again, because we almost never did that since 2001. It was necessary to work with just the four band members again, so that the bonds can be build up a bit. it is rather refreshing actually.

Do I get, based on your music, a good view on who the musicians in Sigur Rós are as persons?
I am not sure whether our personalities are that explicitly interwoven into our albums. anyway, I don't really care if you understand our lyrics or not. I don't think it is necessary. In Iceland for example the reactions are not different than elsewhere in the world. It just depends on how the music touches you.

Eva, is it important that you appreciate an artist when you are asked to do a photo-shoot?
When I am working on assignment for say the independent magazine, not really. People are people and everyone is interesting. Everyone except Ronan Keating that is. That is really a nasty piece of work. By far the biggest cunt I ever photographed. On the other hand, the boys from take that are rather sweet, but you wont see my buying a cd of theirs soon.
However, when I - like in the case of Sigur Rós - am working on a big project it is essential that I am a fan myself. The music of Sigur Rós creates a world in which I wouldn't mind living. The same goes for Joanna Newsom, Radiohead and The Smiths. Their music is some sort of escapism, far away from the real world.
For me it is hard to express what a band sets free in me, or why it touches me emotionally. For me music is a way to explore uncharted territory. That's what makes it so magical.

Touring as a photographer with a band seems to me to be physically - and mentally - extremely tough. But is it something you would want to do more often regardless of that?
No, because physically it is indeed rather demanding. I like healthy food and a good night's rest, two things you do not get when you are constantly on the road. I am not exactly rock'-n-roll i guess. I slept on the crew bus because on the bus of the band there was no room. And also because they wanted some privacy. It is important to have some space to your own. The crew called me Anne Frank because I always stayed in my bunk. I do like a good party, but when I am tired I need my sleep. I was usually the first to go to bed.
When you are a singer it is important to have enough hours of rest everyday anyways to save your voice. When you are exhausted it has an effect on the way you sing.

So you are a bit more disciplined in that respect compared to the rest of the band?
err. no (laughs) in the beginning I was, but nowadays we have so much fun that I can't bring myself to go to bed before the others.

Did you make eva's life a hell, in the beginning?
We have been quite rude, yes. and also we didn't really try to make her feel welcome. That's the fate of any photographer who gets close to us I fear. Cameras just get on our nerves quite quickly. It is just so annoying when there is someone stalking around you capturing every move you make, because that makes you enormously "self consious". Having said that however, she did manage to capture the essence of who we are in images. It doesn't cease to amaze me how she managed to do that. especially considering the fact that it was such a jumble with the string and brass sections around. When you have to portrait a solo artist you can probably still manipulate things a bit. But having to work with a mad gang like ours ... that doesn't sound like an easy job to me.

Eva, how did you feel about the fact that the band wasn't really happy with your presence?
I never took that personally, because I knew their attitude had nothing to do with who I am. On top of that I am very aware of the fact that people hate it when they are photographed. The thing is to be discreet. I do realise that had I walked into Sigur Rós' biotope without care I would have got zero on the request. In the end I am an intruder into a group of people who have known each other for years, so I didn't expect them to give me a warm welcome. After a while things got easier, but I always remained careful. the last thing I want is to forcefully arrange things.

I notice you use a very small camera. Is that another way to make yourself a little bit more invisible, or inconspicuous?
That is the intention, yes. I always use very small, sweet cameras. The fuji I used for the Sigur Rós book makes a very nice sound when you shoot with it. Almost like a toy camera. I am very intensively aware of the effects my camera has on the people I shoot photos of. That is one of the reasons why my employers often give me the "difficult" people to work with. Well, that is not too bad, because I like things to be challenging. John Lydon for example was a tough one, and recently David Attenborough wasn't exactly working along with me. While a few weeks before his brother Richard had been a real darling. All in all I got a good feeling out of it in the end. and besides: I prefer an honest bad temper over fake friendliness. Something that happens as well.

When was the moment where things started to get going between band and photographer? You appear to get along fine now at least.
During our recording session at Abbey Road studio. I was especially impressed by the images she took there. The layering in her photos really appeals to me.

During that session you collaborated with a big classical orchestra, and it struck me that you too where rather formal looking. All dressed up in very neat, respectable suits.
That is Icelandic humour for you, I guess. Seeing how the whole symphonic orchestra had dressed up for the occasion we thought it would be funny if we did it ourselves as well. We looked like we were wearing school uniforms. A bit stiff, but nevertheless: hi-la-ri-ous. It was also a way to hide the fact that we were a bit intimidated by such a large group of people who were going to play our music. It is really something to see a song, which you composed in a little room on your computer, come to life. We never worked with an orchestra before, and I found it was a very emotional experience. On top of that I was a nervous wreck. Everything was going to be recorded live, so I could not afford it to make any mistakes. Not without loosing face that is. it was real: everything on tape in one go, just like it used to be done in the past.

At first the artwork for your latest album was to be created by Olafur Eliasson, the world famous artist who, amongst other things, was responsible for the much talked about weather project at tate modern. How come this collaboration didn't go through?
In the first place we wanted to get him involved with our live shows, because we had the intention of doing something that absolutely did not look like a rock concert. Because these days all the shows of every artist look exactly the same, with a lot of lightening, fireworks and drama. We tried out a couple of things together, but pretty quickly it transpired that we weren't on the same frequency. but I found it nevertheless very exiting to get to know Eliasson. Except that the food he had in his studio was real shit. Pasta and stuff like that (laughs). That was an extra argument to discontinue the collaboration with him.

Did he knew of you beforehand?
Yes, he liked our work, and we liked his. So that wasn't the problem. Only, the way we make music is the opposite of his methods of making art. Everything he does has been contemplated over and over again long beforehand. Everything is organised, up to the most minute details. While we on the other hand stumble from one coincidence to the next accident, until something beautiful comes into being. Composing remains a very spontaneous and organic process. His approach was impossible to match with ours.

In the book you feature together with Björk, the first ever international superstar hailing from Iceland, in a photo. was she an example to you?
No, because musically there are no links between us. But we all look up to her because she has a very cool remarkable personality. And on top of that Björk is good company. What I admire most in her is that she, irregardless of whatever commercial pressure there is, stubbornly does her own thing. She knows what she is doing, and a hit is not a priority for her. That is the way we look upon our own music as well.

The first gig I ever saw was by the way a Björk one, when she was playing with the Sugarcubes in Ghent. I was fifteen and during the encores I actually jumped on stage. Einar (the other vocalist in the band, bs) even took a picture of Björk and I.

Last week you mailed to tell me Sigur Rós were such a dream to collaborate with because they have no ego. frankly i found that hard to believe.
Nevertheless. Actually there is a rather simple rule: the more talented the artist, the less his ego gets in his way. Only those without talent are fussy. Because that way they think they can prove something. But during the touring with Sigur Rós there was not one bad word said ever. And that was all the more remarkable because they were touring with such a big entourage.
That is also the reason why we are still around even after fifteen years, I think. Sigur Rós is just four guys who simply enjoy making music together intensely. nothing more, nothing less. There isn't a single reason to make more of a fuss about it than that.

Nonetheless, 2008 was beyond doubt the year of Sigur Rós. How did you experience the transformation from cult band to popular mainstream band?
It has been a very natural process. It probably wont sound hip, but I really enjoy playing for a large public. Our music can take it to be played in enormous spaces, at least that is what I think. Not that we ever thought about that in the past. We just played music with our friends and never gave much thought to other things. At first no one showed up. After a while there where some people we know who came along to watch. And now we play for seventy-thousand people at Rock Werchter. Actually the success has made everything so much easier. I have a very good feeling with what is happening to us. And I also enjoy being on tour.

So homesickness never troubles you?
All the time. I long all the time to be at home. But when the atmosphere in the band is good you learn to cope with that.

With what sort of a feeling you hope the public leaves after attending a Sigur Rós concert?
(thinks for a long while) I hope they are happy. and satisfied. but above all I hope our music inspires them. That would be the best compliment. Sometimes I am amazed to see the part our music plays in the lives of others. The child of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin of Coldplay, for example, was born to our music. To be allowed to be present at such an intimate moment as a birth, that is almost impossible to understand.
When in my case it ever gets to that point i wont even hear what is playing. Nine out of ten I would be all knocked out by painkillers anyways.
If it ever gets to that point I wouldn't want you to put on a Sigur Rós album. I will come over and sing live for you in the delivery room.

Source: Message Board @

Emiliana Torrini "Ha Ha" Live @ BBC's Culture Show

Emiliana Torrini did a great song of her Album "Me and Armini" Live @ The Culture Show @ BBC.
"Ha Ha""

"Me and Armini"

Dr. Spock 2nd Album

Although there's a financial crisis, bands still release albums. Dr. Wim found this item on Iceland Review Online about Dr. Spock:
Icelandic punk rockers Dr. Spock released their second album this week, entitled Falcon Christ. The band’s first album, Dr. Phil, was released in 2005 and was described as a “cold and nutritional splash to the ears of rock-thirsty listeners.”
According to Smekkleysa Record Store, Dr. Spock holds a unique position in Iceland’s musical flora when it comes to musical creation, humor and concert performance.
The band chooses to promote its music in original ways, for example by holding concerts in spinning classes at the gym and touring the capital region while playing on the platform of a truck.
Falcon Christ includes 12 new songs with Dr. Spock, including “Fálkinn” and “Dr. Organ” that have repeatedly been played on Icelandic radio stations lately. The band also entered last year’s run-up to the Eurovision Song Contest with “Hvar ertu nú?
The band’s members come from different backgrounds; from bands like Ham, Ensími, Motion Boys, Funkstrasse and Quicksand Jesus.

laugardagur, nóvember 29, 2008

Elíza on Effective Music Label in the UK

Icelandic singer-songwriter Elíza (Geirsdóttir Newman) signed a record deal with record label Effective Music in the UK, as revealed this week. The agreement includes Elíza’s two first solo records.
The first album Empire Fall was released last year and received positive reviews in Britain and elsewhere. The second is scheduled for release next year.
Elíza met with representatives of Effective Music in the You Are in Control conference that was held on behalf of Iceland Music Export (IMX) in Reykjavík in October. Elíza also caught the record label’s attention while performing at the Trúbatrix Festival in Reykjavík last month.
While in London, apart from signing the agreement with Effective Music, Elíza performed an unplugged concert in Electro Acoustic Club, premiering some new songs.
Source: Iceland Review Online
"Island" Live @ Organ venue, May 2008. Video by Magnus Axelsson.

Allan Pedder's Interview in Wears The Trousers
Elíza: “opera really enriched my musical universe”
11. November 2008
Elíza Maria Geirsdóttir Newman is not a name that trips all that smoothly off the tongue so it’s no wonder that, over the last 15 years, little by little its owner has sheared off a word here, a word there, until finally arriving at the ultimate star vehicle with which we get to ‘know’ them on a first-name basis. Not to be confused with Elisa, the Italian popstar who’s still desperately trying to break out of mainland Europe after 10 long years, Ms Newman has actually already tasted the sweetbread of success – a high-profile slot at Reading Festival, a tour with Coldplay, numerous well-received albums. But how, you might ask. With sheer bloody hard work would be one answer, with fated serendipity could be another.
Together with three friends from her hometown of Keflavik in Iceland, Newman formed her first band at the age of 16. An all-girl punk-rock outfit (though they picked up a male guitarist along the way), they quickly tore up the local music scene with an attitude to match their chosen moniker Kolrassa Krókrídandi (which translates to the nasty Blackassed Motherfuckers) and signed a deal with near-iconic national label Smekkleysa / Bad Taste. But it wasn’t until the band decided to overhaul their sound with a brattier, poppier flavour, started singing in English and changed their name to Bellatrix that the rest of the world began to pay attention. Sounding familiar now? Back in 1999 when Bellatrix signed to the also rather legendary Fierce Panda label, Elíza’s face was rarely out of the indie music rags for a year or so as the band were busy plugging such luminous indie-pop creations as ‘Girl With The Sparkling Eyes’, ‘Sweet Surrender’ and ‘Jediwannabe’ with Newman’s playful vocals at the fore.
But by 2001 it had all fizzled out and Bellatrix disbanded, leaving Newman free to do something completely different – study opera in London. “I love opera; it’s so dramatic, big and bold, and singing it is such a buzz,” she enthuses to Wears The Trousers over email. “It was really good to do something completely different after Bellatrix, something that focused my mind and soul. I studied with a few fine people but the best teacher by far was Sirry Ella Vaughan. She is brilliant and helped me in so many ways, both with the opera and with techniques that work in all singing. Maybe I’ll do an opera album next, you never know. It really enriched my musical universe.”
Quite how much soon became evident when Elíza unleashed a brand new band, Skandinavia, in 2004. Backed by a British trio, Newman melded her opera training with a return to her earlier musical roots to create a powerful orchestral rock sound that gave her room to flex her muscles as a classically trained violinist. Their earliest incarnation included The Darkness’s Dan Hawkins on guitar and comparisons were made to Led Zeppelin and to PJ Harvey but commercial success proved elusive and the band dissolved in 2005. “I was tired of living in London and wanted a change,” Elíza explains. “You know, no mountains and sea makes you very lost after 5 years. I always seem to get very lost abroad and disorientated because in Iceland I’m used to having the horizon, mountains and the ocean as a compass to tell me where I am. So I went to Cornwall to chill out and then back to Iceland and that’s when this album started to form.”
Elíza is referring to her debut solo album Empire Fall, released last October on Lavaland Records. Recorded in two of Iceland’s oldest studios – Geimsteinn in Keflavik and Hjóðriti studio in Reykjavík – with producer Guðmundur Kristinn, the album started life as an all-acoustic record but soon turned on its head and became a much grander affair. “The funny thing is, we recorded the album backwards, so to speak. We started with the piano and vocal and then guitar and bass, and ended up recording the drums last, much to the drummer’s amusement. Even though it was a strange way to do things and a first for all taking part, it really worked. Guðmundur even said he’d like to try this method with other artists so I guess I have somehow started a new trend!
“I really wanted to create an atmosphere and vibe, and that’s why I chose to work in these old studios because they have loads of soul and feeling in the air. This album was very much about letting go of perfectionism and letting things be spontaneous and born there and then. The vocals are really toned down, which was hard for me as I am very trained and like to show off. I play with my lower range more, and the whole notion of less is more. I got the guitarist Gummi P, who is a legendary guitarist in Iceland, to come in and do his thing and then things really started flying. We decided to keep everything very simple and organic. We wanted the song writing to lead the way and not overload the songs. The underlying theme was to find the core of the song and keep it simple and true, let the songs do the work.”
Inspired (like countless of others before her) by The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Rick Rubin and more, all but one of the songs was written especially for the album whilst Elíza lived in Cornwall and then back in Iceland (the exception being ’Queen Of Solitude’, which has undergone a remarkable transformation from its incarnation as a heavy rock staple of the Skandinavia live set). As is almost de rigeur for an Icelandic export, there’s a strong sense of the elements about Empire Fall, for example in ‘Stone Heart’ and in the title track. “I think it’s hard not to be influenced somehow by the forces of nature if you grow up around them, but I’m not sure it’s a conscious thing. I don’t set out to write about elves or glaciers. Having said that, I am a big fan of old Icelandic folklore and ghost stories and they are very connected to nature and the forces that lurk under the surface.”
Indeed, what lies beneath is a major theme for the album as various songs touch on the emotions of loss, on feminine strength and independence. These motifs are best expressed on the album’s pivotal song, the exquisite ballad ‘Hjartagull’. Written in memory of her mother who passed away in 2006, the sense of personal integrity that Newman lends the song, which she sings both in Icelandic and in English, is palpable and touching. “The sound of this album is simple and graceful, and maybe a bit more grown up than my previous adventures,” she writes. “And I wanted the artwork to reflect that. The look is very ’60s inspired; Nico and Julie Christie were some of the inspirations for that, as well as Marianne Faithfull and Jane Birkin. Basically, I tried to draw inspiration from strong, beautiful and talented women and hoped that some of their glory would rub off on me!”
Empire Fall was warmly received in Iceland upon its release there last summer, and Elíza is clearly enjoying her newfound freedom and freedom of expression. “There was no big master plan to go solo,” she insists. “I very much consider myself as a band person, but when I started writing and recording new material I knew something special was happening and the songs kept coming. “It’s exciting to be able to try out all your mad ideas and test your own limits. But I do miss having people to bounce ideas off. Sometimes it can be a bit lonely sitting in a room on your own arguing with yourself!”
She’s still good friends with her bandmates from Bellatrix, however, two of whom turned up to her album launch show in Iceland (”I made them cry when I played the slow tunes, so I guess that’s a good sign”), and two of whom live in Copenhagen doing “various things: music, babies, that kind of stuff.
“We started so young in Bellatrix and achieved so many things. It’s amazing to me still that a 16-year old shy girl from Keflavik could go on and do all those cool things. Hopefully there are more adventures like that to come, but I think probably the highlight of my career so far is now…that I released my first solo album and that I’m still writing and performing music that I like. That’s a real highlight, or is that called a miracle?”
More about Elíza @

Jóhann Jóhannsson again about Icelandic music in HUMO Interview

Jóhann Jóhannsson interviewed by the Belgian Magazine HUMO (cv). (November, # 48 of 2008)
For a country with just 300,000 inhabitants, Iceland creates a lot of good music. Any idea why?
In the 60s & 70s the Icelandic music schools had a very high standard. And of course we have the cold, long winter nights where we have to occupy ourselves. These are the classical answers.
But there is more. Icelanders like to collaborate, that's in our genes. Nobody in Iceland makes music to earn money, because our market is too small for that. We are all a bit naive: we just do what we please, without questioning ourselves is there an audience for. Our musical history is quite small, we don't have (musical) giants who look over our shoulders. For a Frenchspeaking Belgian it is difficult to come out of the shadow of Jacques Brel, but Icelandic musicians don't have such a phenomenon: we are making history at the moment.

fimmtudagur, nóvember 27, 2008

Rockville Festival @ Paddy's 27-30. November 2008

21:15 – 21:45 Andrúm
22:00 – 22:30 Dark Harvest
22:45 – 23:15 DLX ATX
23:30 – 00:00 Mammút
00:15 – 00:45 Sudden Weather Change
01:00 – 01:30 Mixed Emotions
21:15 – 21:45 Klaus
22:00 – 22:30 Miri
22:45 – 23:15 Slugs
23:30 – 00:00 Dr. Spock
00:15 – 00:45 Agent Fresco
01:00 – 04:30 Mixed Emotions
22:00 – 22:30 Morðingjarnir
22:45 – 23:15 Hellvar
23:30 – 00:00 Retro Stefson
00:15 – 00:45 FM Belfast
01:00 – 1:30 (Sérstakir gestir Kima) - Æla
01:45 – 04:30 Mixed Emotions

Sigur Rós "Inní mér syngur vitleysingur" Nature Video

Unofficial Sigur Rós Video
"Inní mér syngur vitleysingur""

miðvikudagur, nóvember 26, 2008

Mugison Live @ The Cumberland Arms, Newcastle Videos 18. November 2008

"Jesus is a good name to moan"

Emilíana Torrini @ Reykjavík Cinema 13. December 2008

Icelandic singer-songwriter Emilíana Torrini will perform in her first concert in Iceland in more than two years in the University of Iceland Cinemain Reykjavík on December 13. Torrini is currently on a world tour to promote her latest album.
“She is very much looking forward to performing in Iceland because she hasn’t performed here in a long time,” drummer Sigtryggur Baldursson, who has been touring with Torrini and just returned to Iceland from Australia, told Morgunbladid.
“Australia was a lot of fun and everything went well. All concerts were sold out except in Melbourne where we played in a rather large venue, but it was almost full,” Baldursson adds. He hasn’t played in Australia since 1990 with the Sugarcubes.
"Today has been OK" Live @ Melbourne

Torrini’s latest album Me and Armini was released in September and has proven popular around the world. In Iceland it has sold in 5,000 copies, which makes it a gold record.
Some of Torrini’s songs have been played in hit television series Grey’s Anatomy, including “Jungle Drum” from her latest album. Torrini will continue her tour next year when she will travel to Britain and America.
The sale of tickets to Torrini’s Iceland concert begins today on
Source: Iceland Review Online

FM Belfast "VHS" - The Official Video by Hugleikur Dagson

FM Belfast
"VHS" Video by Hugleikur Dagson.

A few years after their monstrous and unforgettable concert at Iceland Airwaves, Ratatat are returning to Iceland!
They and Iceland's own electro-pop group FM Belfast will be playing 20. December @ Broadway.
Tickets are on sale now @
Get FM Belfast's brilliant debut album "How to make friends" @

þriðjudagur, nóvember 25, 2008

Mammút "Svefnsýkt" Official Video

"Svefnsýkt" , the best song of their Second Album "Karkari"
The music video was directed by Hilmir Berg Ragnarsson & produced by David Cross.
The video is a tribute to the the groundbreaking film "The Exorcist".

mánudagur, nóvember 24, 2008

Reykjavik! goes AC/DC @ Rehearsal spot

Reykjavik! covers AC/DC
"You Shook Me All Night Long" @ their 101 rehearsal space. Taking over lead vocal duties is the band's bassist Valdi. Shot and edited by Stuart Rogers of iceairpodcast with sound recording by Jói \7ói.

Song of the 87. Week: "Chemicals" by The Viking Giant Show

87. Song of the Week is The Viking Giant Show's song "Chemicals".
The Viking Giant Show started as a solo project by Heiðar Örn Kristjánsson, the guitarist and singer of famous band Botnleðja for the last 11 years. Botnleðja has won numerous awards in Iceland for their 5 albums and there is still more to be heard from them.
The Viking Giant Show band members are: Andrés on guitar, Ingi on bass, Eysteinn on drums and Heiðar on guitar & vox. They just released the album "The lost garden of the hooligans".

laugardagur, nóvember 22, 2008

Dr. Spock's Album "Falcon Christ" is Out Now

Dr. Spock brings you Rock!

"Falcon Christ" Trailer

Retro Stefson @ Kimi Records Evening @ Tunglid @ Iceland Airwaves '08 - The Videos

Retro Stefson
"Senseni", together with Sigga, singer of the band Hjaltalin, also on Kimi Label

"Paul is Dead"


"Papa Paulo III"

Watch Channel 4 Interview with Sigur Rós' Goggi

Interview with Goggi of Sigur Rós @ Channel 4 about crisis in Iceland

Icelandic Music in TOP 50 of 2008 of Paste Magazine

Paste Magazine TOP 50:
# 2. Sigur Rós - Med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust [XL]
This record’s most exhilarating peaks are found in its hushed sonic valleys, especially the anguished opening strains of “Festival.” The first half of the song scrapes away all sonic clutter, featuring a minimalist aria of keyboard swells and lead singer Jónsi Birgisson’s falsetto soaring beyond heaven to an even more blissful plateau.
# 25. Mugison - Mugiboogie [Ipecac]
Iceland’s answer to Tom Waits takes another giant leap forward on Mugiboogie, the most viscerally super-charged album of his career. With sweat-dripping Pentecostal fervor and big-top grandiosity, Mugison claws out his still-beating heart and wrings it dry for listeners. The product is a genre-shifting revelation featuring the most delightfully untamed voice in modern music.
Source: Paste Magazine

föstudagur, nóvember 21, 2008

Hjaltalín, Sprengjuhöllin & Motion Boys @ NASA 21. November 2008

Hjaltalín will be quite busy in November. Not only are they playing a massive show tonight at NASA in Reykjavík alongside Sprengjuhöllin & Motion Boys, but they also have just been invited to support Cold War Kids on tour around Europe this month. The dates are:
22. November Spazio 211 – Turin, Italy
23. November: Rockstore – Montpellier, France
24. November: Razzmatazz 2 – Barcelona, Spain
25. November: Moby Dick – Madrid, Spain
27. November: Le Vigean – Bordeaux. France
28. November: Le Phare – Toulouse, France
Debut Album of Hjaltalín, "Sleepdrunk Seasons", is released in Europe and more shows are coming up. Expect a tour of Europe from 8. January 8th to 25. January that will include Denmark, Germany, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Belgium Other tours have also been scheduled for February and April.
Clip for Rafskinna DVD Magazine # 2 (House)

miðvikudagur, nóvember 19, 2008

"I've seen it all" Jeranium Remix

Björk Jeranium Remix of "I've seen it all

Two New Acts on Kimi Records Label: Sin Fang Bous & Agent Fresco

Kimi Sign Two More!
Kimi Records signed two new acts last week. The label, which has established itself as one of Iceland’s leading imprints in the last year or so, are co-releasing (with Morr Music) the debut album of Seabear leader Sin Fang Bous (Sindri Már Sigfússon) in Iceland. The album is called "Clangour" and will be released as LP, CD and Digital, as well as a 7" (Advent in Ives Garden) next week.
The second signing are Agent Fresco, a band who received rave reviews for their recent Airwaves shows. Kimi will be releasing their EP (Lightbulb Universe) in late November/early December, 2008. The EP is a 6-song epic mathrock release that - reckon the label - is going to change the Icelandic music scene.
Sin Fang Bous @
Agent Fresco @
Source: IMX
Kimi @

Watch 2 Exclusive Sigur Rós Live Videos @ HUMO Site

Belgian Magazine HUMO has 2 exclusive Sigur Rós videos online @
"Gobbledigook" & "Vid spilum endalaust" Live

mánudagur, nóvember 17, 2008

New Singapore Sling Video: "Martian Arts" - New Album Out now: "Perversity, Desperation and Death"

Singapore Sling just released a new Album, titled
"Perversity, Desperation and Death".
"Martian Arts" - The Video

SS @

Eliza "Hjartagull" Live @ Slaughtered Lamb, London (11 November 2008)

Eliza Newman Geirsdottir
"Hjartagull", a song of her Debut Album "Empire Fall" (Lavaland Records, 2007)

Ólafur Arnalds Live @ Carpi-Mo, Italy

Ólafur Arnalds

Song of the 86. Week: "Higher and Higher" by Jet Black Joe

My favourite song of Jet Black Joe, is the 86. Song of the Week. This song is featured in the movie "Cold Fever".
"Higher and Higher" The Official Video

sunnudagur, nóvember 16, 2008

Morðingjarnir @ Purrkur Pillnikk Tribute @ Grand Rokk @ Iceland Airwaves '08 (17. October 2008)

I uploaded more Videos of Kimi Bands on YouTube today.
Punk band Morðingjarnir (The Murderers) were supporting the Purrkur Pillnikk Tribute Band @ Grand Rokk venue @ Iceland Airwaves '08 on Friday night. Their Debut Album on Kimi Label is called "Áfram Ísland!". It has a very original, beautiful package.

Hjaltalín @ Kimi Records Evening @ Tunglid @ Iceland Airwaves '08 (15. October 2008)

The band Hjaltalín played @ the Kimi Records Evening @ Tunglid (The Moon) venue @ Airwaves '08 Festival. They released their Début Album "Sleepdrunk Seasons" on Kimi Label last year.

Dísa 2 Times @ Copenhagen: 27. November & 4. December

Dísa’s Danish Winter Warmers
21-year-old singer/songwriter Dísa is to play two concerts in the coming weeks. Both happen to be on a Thursday and both are in Copenhagen. The first is at Islandsbrygge and will take place on Thursday 27. November; the second is at Jolene’s and takes place Thursday 4. December.
Dísa’s debut album was released earlier this summer, receiving top reviews from every newspaper and music magazine in Iceland and two of her singles hitting the top of the charts. The album was developed over the last two years with a number of different collaborators such as Cameron McVie, Mark Ronson and Shelly Poole. The final result, however, is very much her own distinctive writing end performing style, produced by Icelanders such as Ragnhildur Gísladóttir, Barði Jóhannsson and Anglo-American Sam Frank.
Source: Iceland Music Export (IMX)

Wonderbrass "Overture" on Icelandic Television

The 10 girls toured the world with Björk on the Volta Tour

Dont Panic Films is coming to Iceland March 2009

Bowen Staines & Chris Clark present DONT PANIC FILMS
Their Goal: Promoting Icelandic music scene.

Jan Mayen @ Reykjavik Art Museum @ Iceland Airwaves 2008

Jan Mayen", one of the best indie rockbands in Iceland @ the moment. They deserve more attention. I shot some videos of the great gig @ Hafnarhusid (Reykjavik Art Museum) @ Airwaves '08, unfortunately the sound quality of my videos could have been better.

"Joyride" of their 2nd Album "So much better than your normal life" (Smekkleysa, 2007)

"We just want to get everybody high" of 2. Album too

"Party's Over" (also on 2. Album)

"Nick Cave", a song of their Debut Album on Smekkleysa "Home of the Free Indeed" (2005)

Jan Mayen @
Smekkleysa Label @

Pararchutes Off-Venue (Live in Alex' Living Room) @ Airwaves '08

Stuart of Iceairpodcast keeps on posting Videos he shot last Airwaves. I thought that I shot the most photographs and videos...
"All along"

laugardagur, nóvember 15, 2008

Bang Gang "Every time I look in your eyes" Alternative Video

Bang Gang Unofficial Alternative Video
"Every time I look in your eyes"

"Mjúsikk í Reykjavík" Videos by Sirgussi

"Mjúsikk í Reykjavík" is by the same maker as "Sleepless In Reykjavík": Sirgussi, who is now working for Monitor Magazine (
Video 2 & 7 (Ólafur Arnalds) posted in a previous post.
1. Video
Release Party of Mammút's second Album called 'Karkari" @ Idno Venue, near the Tjörnin pond, downtown Reykjavík

3. Video: Andrúm

4. Video: Dísel

5. Video: Our Lives

6. Video: Iceland Airwaves '08

Icelandic Musicians Release New Songs and Albums

New Songs and Albums
Jeff Who? released their second and eponymous album yesterday. The first, released in 2005, received a warm welcome in Iceland. Two songs from the new album, “She’s Got the Touch” and “Congratulations”, have already become hits in Iceland.
Jeff Who? @
Singer-songwriter KK also recently released a new album, "Svona eru menn" (“This is the way men are”), his first album in six years to contain new material. The album is country and blues inspired.
In other music-related news, electric-beat band Ghostigital have released a new song and video, “Hovering Hoover Skates”, while punk-rockers Dr. Spock released the song “Fálkinn” (“Falcon”) from their upcoming album "Falcon Christ".
Source: Iceland Review Online

Music Alliance Pact (MAP) # 2

Today it's 15. of the month, 15. November, so here's the second edition of the Music Alliance Pact. The project is going more global. Two more countries (Canada & Norway) joined, so 2 more songs. Enjoy the 14 songs!

I Guess I'm Floating
City Center – "Summer School"
Brooklyn’s City Center is the solo work of Fred Thomas from Saturday Looks Good To Me, focusing on ornamental, experimental pop songs created from found sounds, manipulated samples and Thomas's own guitar and vocals. While there’s no official debut yet, he has released a handful of 7”s and there are over 30 free MP3s up for grabs at his blog ( Look for a debut sometime in 2009.
With heavy influences from alt. rockers like Radiohead and Jaime Sin Tierra, this song is from Sync Filmico's second album, El Mar. It was released this year on CD and as free MP3 download from their website ( Their first record was published under a Creative Commons license and can also be downloaded for free.

Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
The Temper Trap - "Sweet Disposition"
There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the new material from Melbourne’s The Temper Trap and no wonder, because the first taste of their 2009-due album, Sweet Disposition, is a delay-driven melody fest. Recalling the sounds of ’80s U2, Sweet Disposition was recorded in the UK with famed producer Jim Abbiss, who has worked with some little-known acts like Arctic Monkeys, DJ Shadow, Björk and Massive Attack.

Ketch Harbour Wolves – "So Long To The Ground"
Even by the standards of Canadian indie rock, Ketch Harbour Wolves are pretty under the radar. Dead Calm Horizon is one of the best albums of the year - and free for download on the band’s site ( no less. Imagine that The National were transported to the Canadian wilderness and started writing songs about rural living and you’d have a good idea of where Ketch Harbour Wolves are coming from. The results are, simply put, hauntingly gorgeous.

Pastries, Peppers And Canals
Heidi Mortenson – "It’s True"
Highly regarded as the queen of experimental, unpredictable music, Heidi’s website says that she “makes colorful and textured songs with a nerdy and dazed approach; her sound grows from playful experiments and inventive production. Add emotional drive, a mentalist flavor and soul of old cartoon" - and who are we to argue?
Mumford & Sons – "Roll Away Your Stone"
Here’s some new folky goodness for you. Not folky as in the beardy sense, mainly because the kids in Mumford & Sons are probably too young to grow beards. Led by Marcus Mumford, this west London band peddle a sparkly, breezy, bluegrass-infused folk-pop, and given that they’ve been together for less than a year, they've arrived remarkably fully-formed.

I Love Icelandic Music
Hellvar – "Nowhere"
Hellvar started in 2004 when the founding members Heiða Eiríksdóttir and Elvar Geir Sævarsson (Heida + Elvar = Hellvar) moved to Berlin to study philosophy. Heiða had been the singer in the band Unun (aka “Heiða í Unun”)(, which released 2 albums (“Super Shiny Dreams” (Iceland version was called “æ”) and “Ótta” (Almost morning)(1999). Heiða made 2 solo albums “Svarið” (The answer) (2000), a Charles Bukowski tribute (2003). Also one album as Heiða & Heiðingjarnir called “tiufingurupptilguds” (2003) with band members a.o. Sverrir Ásmundsson and Elvar Geir Sævarsson. Material written for their rock band was rearranged for a drum machine. Back in Iceland the band became a trio with Flosi Þorgeirsson as bass player, who played in the famous Icelandic band HAM. Early 2007 Hellvar became a quartet: Flosi left the band, but child prodigy Alexandra came on guitar and bass virtuoso Sverrir Ásmundsson was added in the line-up. Together the two boys and two girls stir up a coctail from electronica to new-wave with a twist of lime. Debut album “Bat out of Hellvar” was released in the end of 2007 and was the first release on the new Icelandic record label Kimi Records ( The band toured in the USA, Germany and China.
Nowhere” Live @ Iceland Airwaves ’08 Festival @

Cap Pas Cap – "We Are Men" (Thatboytim remix)
Cap Pas Cap are heavily inspired by rock music on the fringes - no wave, punk and Krautrock. As a taster for a debut in 2009, the band will release the We Are Men 12" in December with one original track and three hi-grade remixes from Decal, Jape and this from Thatboytim. As well as playing in Cap Pas Cap, members of the band run the Skinny Wolves label which releases stuff from the likes of Indian Jewelry, Telepathe and Effie Briest.

Did – "Ask U2"
If I could have Foals playing at my house tonight, I would surely call Did as opening band. Four young guys from Turin who play "yellow punk-funk" with pop melodies. They have a free download debut EP out now on Kirsten's Postcard label ( Dance!

My Little Pony – "I Don’t Know Pt.1"
“The band, not the brand” seems to be a statement that will follow Norwegian indiepop orchestra My Little Pony forever. They recently released their debut album Think Too Much to great critical acclaim and new fans include one of Norway's biggest pop stars, Marit Larsen. My Little Pony are a pure pop band, where strong melodies and interesting lyrics make the framework of their music, but they also mix in several other genres in their indiepop universe, from bluegrass and Afro-jazz to reggae and more folk-oriented elements.

Cementerio Club – "Stereoman"
Cemeterio Club’s history can be summed up in numbers - a 10-year career, four studio albums, three acoustic albums, one lengua MTV. Led by Jose Arbulú, they are a clear example that good rock sung in Spanish exists. Here’s Stereoman from their latest album, released last year.

The Pop Cop
Beerjacket – "Drum"
Beerjacket is a young man with an acoustic guitar whose backing band comprises a tambourine and a drum machine. Stylistic comparisons to Elliott Smith or Jose Gonzalez wouldn’t be far off, while his prolific output of albums offer an endearing lo-fi sound that lets the quality of his songs and the calibre of his songwriting steal the show.
El Blog De La Nadadora
Espanto – "Profesora De Primaria"
Espanto are a duo formed by Luis and Teresa, who come from a small city in the north of Spain. After releasing a series of extraordinary demos, their first CD, Cantando En Tu Siesta - on the Spanish label Birra y Perdiz( - compiled their best songs up till 2007. Their music is basically pop, with references that range from Television Personalities to The Magnetic Fields.
Hajen – "Sharks"
Hajen has a very limited repertoire (three MySpace demos to be exact), but she’s just the type of artist that deserves the wider recognition the web can provide. She may not be completely ready for primetime but her uniquely Swedish take on the piano pop of Tori Amos and Regina Spektor is impressive. Hajen means shark in Swedish so it seems appropriate to highlight her theme song. With its warning of "sharks in the water, sharks up on land" you can bet this is not simply a tale of danger in the ocean.
More about the MAP Project
Blogging Global Music @
An Interview of Virginia Prescott with Jason Cranwell of Scottish The Pop Cop on New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR).

Get all the mp3s @

föstudagur, nóvember 14, 2008

Odin's Raven Magic (2004)

Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson (HÖH), Steindór Andersen & Choir
"Odin's Raven Magic"

Croisztans & Dýrðin @ Grand Rokk 14. November

Insane fun tonight @ Grand Rokk:
Icelandic/Danish gipsy-punk band Croisztans & Dýrðin. Absolutely free entrance.

Chris Martin on Björk - Singer N° 60 on Rolling Stone list of Best Singers ever

Chris Martin of Coldplay:
When you land in Iceland, you feel like you're somewhere a bit magical. Maybe it's the volcanic activity, maybe it's the dried fish, but something's going on: Everyone seems to be extraordinarily beautiful, and everyone appears to be able to sing. Their singers are so far ahead of everyone else — especially Björk. Her voice is so specific and such a new color. Now that she's been around for 20 years, everyone forgets quite how extraordinary she is. She could be singing the theme from Sesame Street, and it would sound completely different to how anyone else would do it, and completely magical.
She first crossed my radar on "
Big Time Sensuality", from that video where she's on the back of a flatbed truck. I really got into her on "Homogenic" largely because there's so much space left for the singing. On that album, there are strings and beats, but it isn't very full musically, so she has to do all the dynamics and everything. If you really want to hear what she can do, listen to "It's Oh So Quiet" from "Post": She can go from zero to 60 faster than any other vehicle in terms of singing. And then to angry.
In that movie
Dancer in the Dark, she's singing as a different person and it stills sounds completely genuine. She could be an opera singer or she could be a pop singer. Dulux Paint has a catalog that has all the colors you can buy of paint, right? That is how Björk's voice is. She can do anything.
Source: Rolling Stone
"One day" Alternative Unofficial Video