I'm not even going to attempt to better that description which you can find on Grúska Babúska's very fancy website. It does sum the sound up pretty nicely, plus I really like the word wonky.They are a really very endearing group, great sound and a live show well worth seeking out across the next week.
Hello Grúska Babúska, where are you right now and what are you doing?
We are in Reykjavík, and getting back together after a short break this summer after the release of our debut usb-babuscka-doll-album and our London tour. Our singer just had her first baby girl and our flute player just moved back from Belgium, so we are finally reunited and with a new born possible fifth member joining our every rehearsal and gig now, which is very sweet!
For non Icelandic-speakers, what does your name mean please, why did you choose it?
The word Babúska is a term we use here in Iceland for the Russian Dolls that come apart and reveal something magical/fairytale-like inside them. Grúska then means to search and seek until you discover. We thought it was very describing for what we were doing, as we all come from different social and musical backgrounds and bring and reveal something new and magical and we all like to "grúska" in different music - mix and match and have fun whilst doing it. The name and the whole consept of Grúska Babúska and the music all fits, maybe entirely by accident, maybe not ;)
Your sound is pretty hard to describe, could you have a go?
hehe....that is a very tough question and maybe the most commonly asked one. But I think because we all come from different musical backgrounds (classical flute - jazz vocal studies - electronic folky synths and beats - theatrical musical studies) and because we have literally decided to have no rules in our music, but to let go and go with everything that flows, it makes the music so hard to describe and label. And maybe especially for others, as many people need to label things.... Not everybody gets the music and not everybody is willing to receive it, but it is what it is - it´s genuine and it´s what comes to us and it´s not trying to fit any genre or style or trend. It could be described as electronic folk pop classical indie rock, but I think I just mentioned almost all genres there! ;)... well, wonky it is at least for us, and we still laugh out loud of joy and quirkiness when we listen, rehearse and perform our music. So that´s what our music is perhaps...something that just came out from a group of 4 Icelandic very oddly different girls and we love it!....
You worked with Mike Lindsay on your debut record. How was that?
It was really fantastic. Mike got our music and concept almost immediately after he heard our songs, and even though he put up a bit of a odd face from time to time, i.e. when he heard our song Blabla (which will be released before Airwaves on a limited edition B-sides EP) or when he heard the playful childlike melodies of Miðaldarkirkja or the aggressive choir of Burg, he always appreciated and understood the genuinity and difference of our music. He never tried to make it less odd than it really was, or more, or over-produce it or take away the charm (well, he really wouldn´t even have succeeded trying to do that, having 4 Icelandic determined girls pulling his hair! :)). But he helped us with the very final recordings and we are very thankful for that, as we were no experts in studio recordings and pro tools, and he has one of the very most challenging and interesting sets of ears and mind in the music world today!, at least in our opinion.
There will probably be 5 or 6 other bands playing around town at the same time as you - tell me why people must choose to see your show?
Well, coming to our show will give people the only chance to get a copy of our limited edition B-sides EP, that we are releasing for Airwaves on the same day we perform. But honestly I don´t think people should rather see our show than the other shows - all the acts at Airwaves are interesting in their own way and will leave you with a party in your ears and mind for sure! I´d just recommend that people try to see as many Icelandic acts as possible. Airwaves is mostly an Icelandic festival and for some of the local artists a first-time-chance to be seen and heard by a foreign audience, and it is absolutely awesome to see and feel what the music world is all about - that it can be about more than the music that is fed to you through radio and other media. I would therefore recommend people to go out early and try to see a little bit of everything. It´s a true cultural event and one of the biggest ones in Iceland.
What else are you keen to see at Airwaves this year?
Björk viggósdóttir og dj. flugvél og geimskip are also performing on the Wednesday and other Icelandic acts are playing on Harlem venue throughout the festival and on Amsterdam (i.e. Caterpillarmen, Good Moon Dear), which are worth checking out. Well, then of course Kraftwerk, Wow!..... And Múm, Yo la Tengo and the Ólafur Arnalds show with the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra is bound to be amazing!
Can you pass on some tips for first timers at Airwaves and in Iceland?
Just to be and enjoy.
Grúska Babúska's main show comes on the very first day of Iceland Airwaves 2013, at 20:50 in Harlem. It would be a nice to start to your festival to be there and enjoy them, Right now there will be four further chances to catch them during the week. Check the app!