Fjallabræður played on the Sunday night of Airwaves at Nasa. As they arrived on stage they said "you weren't expecting this". They were right, this was a real treat and one of those brilliant surprises which keeps us coming back to Iceland for more. Fjallabræður are an all-male choir from Flateyri backed by a rock band. The sound they made was awesome. I could not resist tracking them down and finding out more,
How many of you are there? Is it true everyone is a fisherman or a farmer?
We were around 30 at the gig but the whole choir is around 70 strong, but we can't all sing, some have to work, some are at sea and some have families to attend to. Most of us come from Flateyri and other local fishing villages in the Westfjords, so we all have similar backgrounds and everyone has either worked as a farmer, fisherman, in a fish factory, cutting fish and other various jobs that need too be handled in a small village.
Tell me about Flateyri, was it totally empty last Sunday?
You could say so, it is a rather small fishing village, with a population of around 300, so every man counts as a large percentage. In the recent years a lot of young men and women have left these small fishing villages to find jobs in the city and build a future for themselves and their families. A decision that is most of the time fuelled by need rather than desire. And because of that, companionship like Fjallabræður is a good venue for us too get together.
How do you manage to organise to rehearse all together?
When you want something, you make time for it! We get together once a week for about 2 hours. But before gigs, we meet everyday a week before. At times like that it can often get a bit smelly... let's leave it at that.
It has never been particularly hard too get men too show up since we have such a good time and enjoy the company of each other. I thank we are the only band in the world that can go through two packs of cigarettes during break.
You sang one song in English - how did that come about?
This was the first song I wrote for this project, in the
beginning this was supposed to be a 3 piece rockabilly band but it took a
surprising turn and became a man's choir.
How did the gig go? You all seemed to have big smiles in the bar afterwards!
The gig went very well thank you. We are not known for our singing talents where we come from but we always sing with our hearts and scrotum out, and when you do that you always feel great and the people around you can feel it to. The crowd was also very good and seemed to like what we had to offer. Plus… some of the guys got laid later that evening, hopefully because of our performance, so that is always a good indicator.
Was that your biggest show so far?
No I can’t say that it was but it was one of the best. We
have had a couple of huge gigs these last months and one of the was singing in
front of 50.000 people in downtown Reykjavík and that is huge in Iceland
Have you released any music or do you plan to?
We released an album two years ago but a lot of things have changed since then. We did not have a band then and the songs have changed. With that in mind we have been in the studio this month recording our second album which will see the light of day next year. Very soon we will post some of the new songs at our myspace.
Did you see anything else at Airwaves 2008, what did you enjoy?
Agent Fresco at the Kerrang night where very good and our friends from Vicky. But all in all, the festival was excellent.