It’s six o’clock on a Friday, a time that is the hallowed ground you mentally yearn for all week long. I’m sitting in a bar taking advantage of their rather nice happy hour. I am for the sake of a informative narrative, killing time before interviewing Boogie Trouble. Tonight they’re having their regular band session and we’re meeting up with them at eight o’clock. This band is so new that they even got that new car smell. I’d only just heard them a couple of days ago on the radio playing their sassy new single Gin and Grape. Why impressed? I’ll tell you, Boogie Trouble is a disco band! No, no I can sense where your thought process is going, this is not a cover band, a parody of some sort, nor are they a tiny bit gimmicky! This is a band that managed, early in the morning on the radio before I’d had my first cup of coffee, to get me moving — now that’s got to be something worth taking notice of!
When we finally got to the house where we met up with them, I began by asking them about the appearance and how the band got started.
It was probably when we were in Snæfellsnes. It sort of started with us playing a reggae version of a disco song, which then evolved into us writing and playing more fun music. Making pop music and doing it well. So… why not play disco?
You’re simply embracing pop music then?
Disco definitely, seventies yes. The hallmark of a good song and its lyrics, is that it can be arranged for any style. Once you’ve settled on disco and that particular sound, its parameters and its possibilities, you´re grooving.
The reputation of disco, as it has been handed down to us, mainly consists of the platform shoes and cheesy outfits of its later years. Disco by that time and especially here in Iceland had become a parody of itself. But so much of it is simply amazing, look as you might, but you’ll not find a more juicy baseline and merciless use of cheap tricks. The groove is just cranked up to sixth gear and you can’t but get into it. As with any genre it can evolve into something less than savory, take hip hop for instance, what you get nowadays is nothing but “bling and bitches”, and no real skills.
It is true that as disco drew closer to the 80′s it became warped but everyone has they’re guilty pleasure, mine being Fjólublátt ljós við barinn.
Þú og ég for instance, their first album was fantastic! And that’s the beauty of it! We were playing a concert the other day at Hemmi and Valdi, having played the night before at Factory. We were on stage at around 3am in the morning so everybody was buzzing and really up for it. Whereas at that concert the place was full of Hipsters and Icelandophiles. We stepped on stage with the disco hairdos and disco ball and we started to groove.
“we’ve got some clothes that fit the profile”
Before our eyes we could see how we won them over, from initial skepticism to the point that even the most reserved were at least moving one foot and shaking their head to the beat. It presses a button in most people even though they won’t admit to it. If only, we’ve got some clothes that fit the profile but we are always on the lookout for more, so if anyone out there has something lying in the closet, never to be used, we are hungrily excepting relief packages.
We’ve often wondered whether it’s the lack of adequate facilities or enthusiasm that’s behind the reluctance of Icelanders to dance?
We can’t, well not unless we’ve had about six pints. You hear a lot of people say that there isn’t enough dancing happening. Then again that’s sometimes the very same people that complain that no one’s on the dance floor so they can take the plunge. You’ve also got to ask yourself what role does dancing play in Icelandic society? If you take bar dancing for instance in one of Reykjavik’s many cramped drinking establishments, that has one point and that is to hook up with someone. Down on the meat market at least. The lack of facilities is a problem, many places are residential building that have been converted into bars, like say Kaffibarinn, is effectively a can of sardines.
Are you the Icelandic equivalent of Scissor Sisters?
We aren’t fabulous, sadly not, none of us has the makings of a gay icon. Except maybe Jói or Dr. Sweet as he’s better known as.
To remove any lingering doubt, you are completely serious as a band?
As we see it, we are making good music, if they songs groove then all the better! A good song is a good song. We are on the other hand not trying to conjure up the image that we are making music in the 70′s. We aren’t trying to fake it even if we are making music that is inspired by and references music from that period. We won’t do a dance routine unless the spirit takes us, not because it’s what we should do as a disco band, we are not a show, we are an evolution of disco!
One thing leads to another, this talk got me thinking about your name?
It came to us in a dream, to all of us (they really can’t keep a straight face). No Pétur Torfi will not be pleased if we take this away from him. This came about in another bar, another time, it’s always a bar. So we were sitting there wondering about names and our friend Pétur just says Boogie Trouble, and you have to say it with emphasis, say it with flair. That was then a working joke name but then it just stuck, as often happens with these things.
Now your name is in English, but from your lyrics I get the feeling that you are a very Icelandic band?
We’ve had this conversation before and maybe the name is just a reference to disco legacy, think about it, is there a word in Icelandic that is an adequate translation of boogie? We haven’t found it. So Boogie Trouble it is. We haven’t contemplated world domination so singing in English for an Icelandic audience is a bit weird. If we do decide to take over the world then we already have the head start of the name.
Recording sessions on the horizon?
Yes, when the studio is free, we have a connection with a local recording studio that we can get for a reasonable price and can therefore create an EP for the summer. There will at least be one or two massive summer hits. If all goes to plan we will be headlining Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum (the largest summer festival in Iceland, not for everyone’s taste, but I think they were putting one over on me)
“after two sherries anything is possible”
Wouldn’t a road trip around the country playing the old community halls be a great plan?
Without a doubt, you get a lot of bands from the local scene going out into the countryside to play and, this is not a judgment on the music or the people, but they don’t appeal to the natives, where as we can get your aunts on the floor. We played in someones sixtieth birthday not so long ago and they all went crazy for it. After two sherries anything is possible. So hopefully we appeal to everyone and their gran.
Sigurður Tómas Guðmundsson, Ingibjörg Elsa Turchi, Klara Arnalds,
Jóhann Vignir Vilbergsson & Sindri Freyr Steinsson.
You’ll seldom get such a strong endorsement from us, but like a children’s movie, the band members of Boogie Trouble are such unfiltered and honest fun people that you just can’t knock them. They are the real deal! So if you ever get the chance to see them live seize upon it, it might just be the best time you can have on your feet.
Interview: Guðni Rúnar Jónasson
Camera/editing: Rútur Skæringur Sigurjónsson
Photographs: Nanna Dís