Hailing from Iceland For a Minor Reflection (FaMR) comprises of four 19-year-olds from Reykjavík, Iceland - Kjartan Holm (guitar), Guðfinnur Sveinsson (guitar and piano), Elvar Jón Guðmundsson (bass) and Jóhannes Ólafsson (percussion). Their music is best described as energetic, melodious post-rock, though they expand and even subvert their style with almost every song.
Back in 2007, the quartet struck up a fan base with their self-produced debut album "Reistu þig við, sólin er komin á loft..." (Rise and shine, the sun is up...), a mesmerizing, hour-long tapestry featuring six songs and recorded over a weekend in Iceland. This record, as well as their energetic live shows, earned them a slew of accolades, including favourable comparisons to Explosions in the Sky, Caspain and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Their fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós even described them as a band with the potential to out Mogwai .
In 2009, FaMR s star has continued to rise. Aside from playing non-stop in Iceland's local café and bar scene, they ve been busy wow-ing festival crowds at events like Holland's EuroSonic (February 2009), where leading UK journal Music Week described their performance as ethereal, melody-soaked music with international appeal, and they are currently on tour around Europe.
Interview with Kjartan Holm by Iceland Music Export www.icelandmusic.is
How did you all meet and start the band? Is the strip poker story true, and if so the public probably have a right to know which member has the biggest, er, member?
Yeah the strip poker story is true! Guffi and I met at some college party and ended at my house in a strip poker with bunch of other people. This was the first time we ever met so it was kind of funny - but we really didn't care. I barely remember it myself. Jói has the biggest bits but Guffi is the king of foreskin (woo-hoo!)
Where does the band name come from? Why not For A Major Reflection?
The name comes from some MSN chat Jói and I had. We were deciding a name for the band and for some strange reason wanted to have a long name. This is what came out! No backstory or whatever. Just simple as that... For A Major Reflection is just too extreme…
What were your musical influences when you formed?
Jói and I had been in lot of bands before FaMR, including Elvar in some of them and then Guffi came to play the keyboards in a blues band we were forming but none of us had a keyboard so he was forced to play guitar. That's how FaMR started. The influences were everything from Converge to Bonnie Tyler.
And how have they changed, if at all?
They really haven't changed that much. Guffi still tries to force Coldplay on us and Jói and I still argue on who's better, The Smiths or The Cure.
How do you write your songs?
The idea of the songs often comes from me and something develops around them during practices and jam sessions.
Lessons from Sigur Rós were that we need cool visuals. Highlights were the after-parties and playing for 8.500 people in London two nights in a row.
What have been the best gigs you’ve played so far?
The best gig that first comes to my mind is probably the gig at Eurosonic Festival in Holland. The place was packed and the performance was strangely good. Also two nights ago in Aalborg, Denmark where we got great audience and an encore and at SPOT Festival in Aarhus, Denmark where we got a pretty cool mosh pit.
It's all about playing live. Of course we try to make our albums as great as we can but this kind of music is so much about live performance. We love to play live.
All the comparisons with Mogwai, EITS etc. – do they bug you or please you?
We couldn't care less really about all those comparisons to Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Pg. Lost, Sigur Rós and blablabla...we just play and compose music and think it's really fun and great.
Tell us about your new album – what can people expect?
The new album will be recorded properly, not in a small garage in Kópavogur in one take (although that was really fun). This time we will go to Sundlaugin, the Sigur Rós studio and just take it nice and slowly - no rush. Much more diversity than on Reistu þig við, sólin er komin á loft..., our debut. Can't say much more - gotta keep everyone super excited.
If you could rewind time where would you pause it?
I would pause it the moment we were offered to support Sigur Rós on tour.
What are your working/touring plans for 09?
We're actually on tour now and then we'll take a short tour around Iceland with our good friend Ólafur Arnalds and then record our second studio album in August. Time only know what comes after that…
FaMR @ Rock Bar Dillon, Laugavegur, Reykjavik 7. April 2009