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.