Not long ago Snoop was online and saw that a new band was emerging from the Icelandic music scene, and composed of people we knew! What!? We know cool people? This was amazing, we had no idea that we were so well connected. This was an ample reason to phone them up, look in on them and find out what the band’s all about.
Might the good children at home have some information about you, names and what instruments you play?
My name is Hrafn and I play bass. And the pregnant pause was? (it took Hrafn about 10 seconds to say his name). I was trying to make up a pseudonym. Frank: What was your band name? You had a band name! Hrafn: Fritz von Blitz. Now that’s a stage name! Well my name is Auður and I play keyboards, cymbals and sing. I’m Óskar and I play the drums (this was taking on the tone of an AA meeting) – my name is Egill and I play the guitar, keyboards and I sing. I am Frank and I play guitar as well, but also I play synths and Mandolin.
How does it work synchronizing such a large band, and I’m assuming that you are like most other bands juggling other work too?
Egill: It’s okay. No, its a god damn struggle! Frank: I quit my job around new years to do this and to study sound-engineering, so I’m here most hours of the day so that doesn’t take much sync’ing. Hrafn: That’s why he has to bum food all the time! Frank: Yeah I never have any money! I had a really good job programming for CCP but I bailed from that and now I’ve got nothing! It’s always a joke when we talk about it but it has stopped being a joke! (this to general laughter from the rest of the band)
You’ve sacrificed yourself for the art. Are you the manager then, making sure they get here on time and send out reminders on facebook?
I did last year but I can’t be bothered anymore. Hrafn: It’s probably going to end up that way? Frank: No I can’t afford it. You can’t afford Facebook? Hrafn: You can come over twice a week for dinner if you do. Frank: That’s a good deal, done.
Where does your music come from, seeing as you’re of that age having been into gangsta rap in your teens?
Egill: I have no idea! Óskar: How did you go from rap to this! Egill: I was into rap back in the day but I sold all my CD’s and the clothes and it was done. Frank: Is hip hop still around? Hrafn: In Vesturbærinn definitely. Frank: Does that mean Pox is still around? Auður: Ha? I have no idea what you are talking about.
The band name, does it come from the Hungarian Ice skating queen Nóra Hoffman?
Egill: Yes! Funny you should ask cause that exactly the case and for Nora from the “hit” TV show Brothers and sisters that was shown on RUV (Icelandic state television)Frank: And a Galley ship that ran a shore, this we found out when we where recording our album, there was this whaling boat call Nóra that had stranded just outside the studio. Auður: There’s also that cat lady that lives in Flateyri. Frank: She came to our concert. Hrafn: And Nóra is something like diarrhoea in Finnish! Egill: This was all in our mind when we picked the band name. Auður: It all just came together in this name. Egill: Amazing coincidence.
“He was on some tour around Flateyri wearing headphones”
You recorded the album in Flateyri, how did that pan out?
Frank: Just fine, we had no idea what we where doing, we where all virgins to the process. Hrafn: Really fun. Auður: It was a whole week of working and playing from 9 in the morning to 2 at night. Just throwing it all in there. Hrafn: We just put ourselves into the hands of Önundur Hafsteinn Pálsson, the producer, and he just used the whip on us.
No incidents? Nothing like one time when the Rolling Stones where recording an album in some castle or other and they all recorded their part at different times of the day?
Yes, our old drummer got lost when we where going to record the last song on the album and ended up just not being on that song. He was on some guided tour around Flateyri wearing headphones. Auður: That’s how we found out about the ship though. Hrafn: We just really simplified the drums in that song.
It seemed to me that you borrowed friends and family to help with the record?
Frank: Well Egill’s girlfriend Rikke played the trumpet but for the most part we had people like Hallgrímur Jóhann Jénsson, cello player and Eurovision legend, and Alexandra Kent playing the fiddle, but is actually a bass player. Egill: What! Is she a bass player? Frank: Yes she plays the contra bass. Egill: Wow! Auður: Who else, oh yes, Harpa Jóhannsdóttir she’s a bassoon player. We’re now of the opinion that they might be able to conduct this interview themselves.
You recorded your first album last year? And…
Hrafn: The year before actually, but it was released last year! Well I will edit all this later and the interview will consist mainly of clever questions and stupid answers to make sure I get the best possible rep. Egill: Snoops quest to speak only to people stupider than itself. Exactly! To the point where I know things about the band that you don’t.
Sea change in direction for the band in the new material?
We got a new drummer and the songs are a bit more heavy, a bit more rock. Óskar are you bringing something new? Óskar: I don’t know, I only saw them once before I joined the band and I don’t rightly know how the other drummer was. Egill: Were you drunk? Frank: Were we any good and where was it? Óskar: It was at the Icelandic Airways and I think I was drunk. I think I play a bit differently. Hrafn: You do. Auður: We are also just starting a fresh a bit, ‘cause some of the songs on our last album were from as long ago as 2001. Isn’t that so? Well some of them. Frank: There was a large catalogue of material that was cleared out with that album from back when it was just Egill, Auður and Hrafn. So the new album is just new.
“We get emails and pictures of some guys”
That was material you had made at Ásvallagata back when it was just the three of you?
Egill: In the garage. Good times! Is the heart still there? Auður: I keep snooping around the house and I intend to buy it one day when we get rich and famous.
About getting rich and famous, you have a lot of foreign followers on Facebook are you getting interest from abroad?
Frank: I don’t know why but we have around 2500 fans on Facebook and of those there are some 800 Arabs that think we are some girl and keep sending us messages asking whether we are single! We get emails and pictures of some guys. Egill: Logan Nigtu has sent us his pictures loads of times and we don’t know why this is. Auður: Imad is a real fan! Frank: Imad is fan number one! He’s made fan art and everything! Óskar: What about that Bosnian Eurovision thing? Frank: Ah yes we won Eurovision, not everyone can boast of such a feat. For real there is like a shadow Eurovision competition that is online. Are these real bands then and a real competition? Egill: I think it’s just that people nominate local bands and it’s just really random.
Aside from the marriage proposals, any intentions of going abroad to play?
Frank: We really want to go abroad and play but we never have any money. Egill: We almost made it to Germany but exams got in the way. Auður: We intend to release the album before Christmas and then we’ll start to promote it. Hrafn: Next year we’ll get there.
Do you intend to keep playing in Icelandic?
Yes they all seem to agree. Egill: Unless I suddenly think it a really good Idea to sing in English but I can’t see that happening. Hrafn: Maybe in Spanish? Auður: We almost wrote a song in Spanish. Almost? Auður: We didn’t know enough Spanish to finish it. You could become the first Google translate band. Frank: There is a lot of positive attention when you sing in Icelandic and I personally tend to like bands that sing in Icelandic.
Have you defined yourselves as a band or could you try different styles and genres?
Sure, we’ll see. Auður: Well I don’t really know what genre we belong to. Frank: We’re asked about it quite a lot but we never rightly know what to answer. I was trying to avoid asking that question straight out. Frank: That and who our influences are, do you have that question? (in a less friendly tone)
How frequently does the band meet up, once a week?
Egill: Now it is yes, but it was less efficient when we where looking for a drummer and everyone was studying for exams. Auður: But now its been more than once a week nearly every day. Frank: Like I say I’m in here most days now. That’s why you have such a healthy complexion.
How long have you been in this studio?
Hrafn: Year. Auður: No ten months or so. Do you feel it makes a difference? Egill: Yes and it will when we record the album. Auður: It’s also nice to make it you own, it gets a bit more cozy.
At last, what’s on the horizon?
There is the concert tomorrow and then we just keep on going. Auður: We’ll disappear for a bit when we record the album. Will you be playing this summer? Frank: We will but we haven’t booked anything. Auður: We aren’t the best at being practical. Would a manager help with that? Egill: We sort of have a manager but we need to make it a bit more official. Is that this Mr. Imad? Hrafn: Our Indonesian fan! No sadly not.
The next day we found ourselves in downtown Reykjavík, at Factory, one of the city’s better music establishments. The final act of the night, our subject Nóra, was the most polished of the three bands, their energy was palpable and we certainly had a great time. The new songs definitely had a harder, more rocky feeling to them, just like they said. All in all it couldn’t have been a better way to end the week, so to Auður, Hrafn, Frank, Óskar and Egill we say Ciao for now.
Interview: Guðni Rúnar
Photographs: Nanna Dís