We all love Sóley don't we? That wonderful, haunting, enchanting and utterly engaging debut album, "We Sink", from 3 years ago (3 years already!) seemed to be universally loved and YOU dear iceblahers (?) voted it as the best record of 2011. All the shows at Airwaves have been very well attended indeed.
But, 3 years is long enough to wait for something new isn't it, although to be fair she has also produced a child in that time (CONGRATULATIONS!). So it's pretty lucky that today, July 18th, sees the release of Krómantík, and eight track collection of (almost) instrumental piano songs. You can hear it here. And even better, when I had a chat with her to celebrate she confirmed that a follow-up to We Sink would be following in 2015.
Hi Sóley, I know you've had a busy year so it's a wonderful surprise to have some new music from you. Krómantík is a very different piece of work to We Sink, what is the story behind this record?
Hi! Krómantík is composed over few years and recorded the summer of 2011 so it's not new for me. I kinda forced MORR music to release it, since i always wanted to do something with this tiny piece of work. It's not pop music - i composed some of the songs while i was in the art academy studying composition. I've always loved to both play piano and make piano songs and i will never stop doing that. This is just beginning. Will release Krómantík#2 soon hopefully!
Your music always makes me think of movie soundtracks, and Krómantík definitely does that too. Last time we spoke you talked about your love of Tim Burton's movies and soundtracks. Has he called you yet to ask you to write a score?
No he has not called yet. He doesn't know what he is missing! I'm joking - but it would be really nice to get a change to write a score for a movie. Maybe horror movie… but actually i don't watch horror movies myself because i'm very afraid of the dark so i don't know how i'll manage to do it. Maybe horror movies are OK if there is no music to make your hair rise slowly ...
Maybe he should write a whole movie based on Krómantík. That would be fun!
And is it true you are working on a more conventional (is that the right word?) follow-up to We Sink for next year? What can you tell us about that record at this stage?
Yes i am working on a new album. Wish i could do it full time but somehow my little 4months old daughter wants to be with me all the time! But that's awesome, i love her so much and she is adorable little child. So when she sleeps during the day i put her outside my studio window in her baby carriage and work like a maniac until it's feeding time again!
But you know, good things happens very slowly and actually the album is going very well. So far i've done around 30 min of music that will definitely be on the album so i'm pretty well set. I'm really really looking forward releasing it!
It has just been announced that you will be playing at Iceland Airwaves again this year. Will you be playing songs from Krómantík and from the next album?
I'll definitely be playing songs from my upcoming album. Don't know what will happen with Krómantík - i guess it all depends on the venue. I'd love to play Krómantík somewhere with real piano and sitting audience. Let's see, maybe i'll have a pop up Krómantík show in the airwaves week :)
Yes please! And some old favourites too I hope?
My set is always so short, I need to use whatever I can play!
Grísalappalísa were the first band I saw at Iceland Airwaves 2013. I'd heard and fallen in love with their first record, the seven track 'Ali', and I knew that this was a rare sighting of some former members of the legendary Jakobínarína (seriously, look them up if you don't know them already). The live show, even at the first slot of the night in the large space of the Art Museum was incredible. I very clearly remember watching it and think that this may be the very best show I see all festival, and I think it probably was, and others agree. They also played a brilliant KEX session.
So it was pretty exciting when a new single (ABC, below) and album appeared last month (on my birthday, thank you!) and I decided an interview with the band was long overdue. Step forward guitarist (of Grísalappalísa and beyond), Rúnar...
Like all good Icelandic bands, Grísalappalísa contains members from many other bands. Can you quickly tell us who is in the band, and where else we may have spotted you all before please?
Rúnar Örn Marinósson (moi) and Bergur Thomas Anderson, guitarsnapperr and bassknuckle, are also current members of dreamy-haze-gaze pop group Oyama and former members of local treats Sudden Weather Change and Me, the Slumbering Napoleon. Gunnar Ragnarsson and Sigurður Möller Mótorinn Sívertsen, singer/partyboy and drumthumper are former members of Jakobínarína, teenage punkjunk band of FIFA 09 fame. Albert Finnbogason, guitarslinger and musical maestro is also a member of Youtube famous Sóley's live band, eerie droneboner band Heavy Experience, along with our sexy sax-man Tumi Árnason, and former member of the terrifyingly great grindmachine Swords of Chaos. Sax-man Tumi is also a member of ice-dub wonder Ojba Rasta and probably something else that I'm forgetting. Baldur Baldursson, our poet and original prankster, is also the brains behind the mysterious Veirumenn.
It seemed to me that, about a year ago, Grísalappalísa appeared from nowhere. How long had you been working together before those first releases?
I joined Grísalappalísa roughly a year ago. Before that the guys had been making Ali for about a year, not unlike the process of making our new album. We like to do things fast but meticulously.
Your live shows are pretty emotional and intense (and hugely enjoyable), the first show at Airwaves 2014 was very possibly my highlight of the whole festival. Is it fun? and do you know what is going to happen next or is it all spontaneous?
Thank you for the kind words about our show! Yes, it's tons of fun, the most fun I can have. Do you mean the performance itself? It's mostly spontaneous, the only thing that's not is the order of the songs we play and even that often changes during a show. No show is quite the same for us. We have songs that are written in a way that you can morph it into something new every time, it's unique at every show. Some bits and antics we repeat but it's never exactly the same.
Your new album comes quickly after your debut last year. How was the writing and recording process, are you drowning in ideas?
A lot of the new lyrics are leftovers from Ali's banquet but we wrote all the music together. We'd bring individual pieces, riffs, ideas and such to rehearsals and there we put it together like a puzzle. When we started recording we only had like 9 songs ready but we also had extra lyrics so some of the songs are just written on the spot. Now I feel a little dried up but that kind of a period usually doesn't last long. We'll be cooking up something fresh before you know it.
Is the album a logical next step? ( I hope I have that translation right! )
Your translational skills do not fail you. It certainly is a logical step. It's big, refined, rich and catchy. Grown up cheese.
Are you looking forward to playing these new songs live? Are there any plans to play shows outside of Iceland?
We've already played a lot of the songs live but it's always fun. It's fun to see the people who come to our shows shout the new lyrics out, like they want to be with us, not just looking at us. We don't have any global plans as of now but we're touring Iceland in a few weeks, bringing pop for the people!
I'm sure the people are looking forward to it very much. I thoroughly recommend that you all check out Grísalappalísa as soon as possible. You can get ALL OF THEIR MUSIC over here.