The Hippest Nerds Around
Bloodgroup are known as one of the most innovative, powerful and entertaining live acts in Iceland, and they have been busy playing music festivals in Europe and America, as well as playing independent shows since the release of their debut album. Their second album "Dry Land" is a product of Bloodgroups studio sessions for the last year and a half and has been frequent on "Best of 2009" lists in Iceland. The album has be available in record stores in Iceland since 2. December, and is scheduled to be distributed to the rest of the world early next year (2010).
IMX caught up with lead singer Lilja Jónsdóttir upon their return from a well received Ja Ja Ja night in London.
First up, tell us all about your new album, Dry Land - how does it sound and who is involved etc?
It sounds a bit more serious than our last album, and more melodic. Raggi, Hallur, Janus and I wrote, recorded and produced all the songs. Ólafur Arnalds wrote the strings.
Where was it recorded and how did you tackle it (any prior ideas about what you wanted to do? or more studio spontaneity?)
The album was mostly recorded in our own studio, Studio Síld. We have been working on the album for over a year, so much of the music on the album was recorded and written gradually over time. We didn't really have many prior ideas, we just made what came to mind and stopped when we felt it was ready.
It's been a while since SS - what have y'all been doing in the meantime?
Well we've been quite busy touring, besides that we've spent every day in the studio.
Obviously you've been playing a lot of gigs - any particular highlights? Which country has the most responsive crowds / knows how to party hardest?
We played an awesome gig in Berlin in 2007, in a gay bar called Schwutz (or something like that). A bunch of crazy lesbians trying to rip Janus' clothes off...that can't go wrong.
Bloodgroup actually started out as a live act rather than a studio band, is that right?
Well I guess we look at it like two seperate things, writing and recording music, and then take that music and turning it into a live show. The songs sometimes sound pretty different from what they sound like on an album.
In our last interview you mentioned that you had more rock than electronic backgrounds - how come the focus switched? Was there a trigger, event or process?
No, not really. When we started it was just Raggi and I, and some friends. Raggi developed an interrest in electronic music, and then the rest of the guys got sucked into it. Now we're major electronic geeks.
Is there a big electronic / dance scene in Iceland these days?
Yes, it is relatively big, but we don't really consider ourselves a part of that scene, since our focus is mainly on melodic pop music with bassy beats, rather than full on dance music. The electronic scene has some promising names, like FM Belfast and Sykur.
What kinds of electronic or dance artists (local or international) have influenced or impressed you?
We all love bands like Daft Punk, Aphex Twin and The Knife. Those are probably the main electronic bands that influenced us into doing our kind of music.
If you're in a club getting your party on and people aren't bouncing around, what's your tactic for getting their asses shaking?
We always try to play a good show. Many of our new songs have less to do with dance, so it's not really that big of a problem if people don't dance. We just want them to have fun. If we're playing a gig where the goal is to get people dancing, we just try to have as much fun as we can on stage. By doing that, we hope to influence people in the audience and make them have fun too.
What's the wisest thing anyone has ever said to you with regards to music?
It's not the notes or the chords, it's the silence in between (a drunk guy at a bar somewhere).
One of the band is Faroese: does he live in Iceland or is this an international relationship?
He lives in Reykjavík, since 2008.
Are you still performing with DJ Benni?
What are your plans now the album is out? Tours? Singles? World Domination?
We have a single out, "My Arms", and we hope to release the next single early next year. Our next step is to release the album world-wide and tour Europe in the summer of 2010. Then, world domination!