There’s more of this in the interview below but at my first Airwaves in 2004, Þórir Georg was working at the excellent 12 Tonar store and sold me his debut album (I picked it up independently and didn't work that out until later). Since then I think I have seen him play every year, I don't think he's had a year off. That first album was stunning and I remember one show in the record store where the audience were all sat around cross-legged on the floor enchanted by the songs by this unassuming guy with just an acoustic guitar. A cover version of Hey Ya got a lot of attention but should not hide the quality of songwriting across those early records.
More recently he has tended to play plugged in and with a live drummer, giving those early records a different sound and also creating a whole bunch of albums with that set-up. He releases a lot of records and they are always worth checking out, they definitely vary in sound but very rarely dip in quality at all. For eleven years, Þórir Georg has been one of the first names I look for on the Iceland Airwaves schedule.
I always start with this. Where are you right now? and what are you doing?
Right now I´m sitting in my apartment on Grettisgata listening to the Cocteau Twins and getting ready to prepare dinner.
So this is my 11th Iceland Airwaves. At my very first one, you were working at 12 Tonar and sold me your first (I think) record, a mini cd. What are your memories of Iceland Airwaves 2004?
Honestly, not many, my memory is not so good. I remember my first album came out during Airwaves that year. I vaguely remember being recruited as the drummer for Singapore Sling the day before their Airwaves show that year and playing a great show with them. I probably had fun.
I guess that makes you a veteran of the scene. Do you feel like a veteran?
No, not really. I´ve just been doing this constantly for a long time, and will probably keep doing it for a long time so I don´t think about it in that sense. And I just turned 30, so I kinda feel like I´m just about to start really doing this. It feels like the last 10 (or more like 15 I guess) years have just been me playing around with writing songs and recording , working through my shit, and now I feel like I´m ready to really start focusing on doing something of importance to myself.
I was already going to ask you about the huge volume of music you release but then, just yesterday, another record (Tíningur) appeared. That's three albums in 2014 so far. Do you never stop?
In short, no. But at the same time I don´t feel like I spend that much time doing this. But it is one of the few things I enjoy doing so I spend a good proportion of my free time on music. I work a full time job so that eats up a lot of my time obviously. But I do document a lot of what I do and I like putting a big chunk of it online available to those who are interested. I´m not really into keeping things to myself and just putting out what I consider my most “accomplished work”. My favourite artists are usually artists that put out a big volume of work and show different sides of themselves even if that means risking putting out art that people might dislike.
How much of this year's output will make it into your Iceland Airwaves 2014 setlist?
Right now it looks like there will be no songs in my Airwaves setlist from my last few releases. It will be some older stuff and a little bit of brand new stuff. There´s a shift happening within myself causing me to be more interested and focused on different music so this will be a type of show I probably won´t be playing a lot of in the near future.
Not tempted to play "Hey Ya" again?
The only time I´ve played that song in the last 8 - 9 years or so was in Hamburg, Germany, a couple of years ago due to a very nice woman who owns a beautiful small bar I played at requesting it. It went horribly and I doubt I will do it again.
Are you playing with any other bands at the moment? Or making music under any other names? I loved the Kvöl record.
I´m only really doing Kvöl and my own music at the moment. Although there are always a few project I´m involved with to a different degree.
Have you had a good look at the Airwaves schedule? What else are you really excited to see?
There are a lot of great bands and artists playing airwaves this year. The band I´m most excited to see is locals Börn. And having seen them A LOT in the last few years that should speak to how much I love that band.
Finally, can you give some advice for people attending Iceland Airwaves and visiting Iceland for the first time?
Bring a coat. Have fun. Eat pizza, not many people know this but the pizza in Reykjavík is fantastic. Go to a place called Pizza Royal down town. Or a place called Pizza King if you venture a bit out of the city centre.
You have JUST ONE CHANCE to see Þórir play at Iceland Airwaves this year, don’t let me down!
Friday 7th, Iðnó @ 20:00