Operating out of Iceland for the greater part of the last decade, kimono have long been your classic band’s band, meaning that most of the musicians performing at Airwaves count kimono as their favourite local band (the guitar bearing ones anyway). That’s not to say people outside of bands don’t like them – of course they do. Calling kimono a ‘band’s band’ is just our little way of trying to convey how influential they’ve been over the past decade, and how richer the local guitar rock scene is for their contribution.
In any case, we asked them our classic Airwaves questions to prepare for their performance at NASA on Thursday. So read on and get prepared!
Who are you? What can we expect from your Airwaves appearance, and what can we expect of you in general?
We are kimono. We play DC hardcore by way of Iceland (not math rock like our one-sheet says… what the fuck is math rock?). You can expect to get your ass kicked.
Are there any acts missing from the bill that you’d like to see on there?
Bob Cluness said the other day that Mastodon was missing. I didn’t think so until he said it. Now there’s a Mastodon-sized hole in the schedule. Thanks Bob.
A lot of our readers are first time Airwaves-visitors. Do you have any tips for them? What to see, what to do, what to avoid, etc? Where to buy records? Or a good place to grab a bite or get away from it all for a while?
Sign up to gogoyoko and buy Icelandic music directly from the artists and labels. You’ll find almost every Icelandic band playing at Airwaves on there and you can extend your Icelandic music experience far beyond the confines of a single weekend that way. I am biased because I work at gogoyoko. Then again, if you need physical things to hold in your hand go to Smekkleysa (Laugavegur), 12 Tónar (Skólavörðustígur) and Havarí (Austurstræti). These are all excellent music stores with excellent people to help you find what you’re looking for.
Given that most Airwaves-visitors won’t have a lot of time in their schedule to see the Icelandic countryside, are there any nature-havens close by that you’d recommend?
I once saw a recommendation in a guidebook for people to visit Europe’s largest outdoor bar in Seltjarnarnes. The thought of tourists visiting Eiðistorg to see Europe’s largest outdoor bar makes me smile, so I’ll second that recommendation.
LOL. Who are your favourite Icelandic acts these days?
Seabear. We toured with them this September and they were a lot of fun to see live.
A lot of international journalists like to ask: “How has kreppa affected the Icelandic music scene.” Do you think the question is valid? Do you have a preferred way of answering it?
It depends on what you mean by that question. If you’re asking, “have any Icelanders started to write songs about the economic collapse,” then I have to admit that I have no idea, or at least I haven’t heard any.
But there are changes happening or about to happen. The music centre downtown (Harpa) continues to be built because the government decided not to fund the expansion of a golf course to the tune of about 500 million so that those funds could be used to finish the building, which I think is a positive step. I’ve heard that a portion of that money had already been used by the golf people, but not for what it was supposed to be used for, so they have to pay it back.
I find that this story illustrates very nicely the spot where we are standing today, because you have a clash between the new way of thinking (hopefully, to build up the culture) and the old way (unfortunately, to build up the golf courses). According to a report that I saw presented the other day, the amount of money generated for the Icelandic economy by the creative industries in Iceland is almost as much as the fisheries and we continue to spend a disproportionate amount of money on sport (Is golf a sport? I don’t know… maybe Bob Cluness knows). This country will only escape the mediocrity of the present when it starts to nurture the types of activity in which it has the most talent. We have not done enough to support our filmmakers, dancers, visual artists, video game developers and musicians operating in Iceland and this is what needs to change. We’re not there yet, but I can see it in our near future when I hear stories like this one about the Harpa.
There are some very intelligent and thoughtful people, like the people at Iceland Music Export or the Federation of Icelandic Artists, working at making this happen. People like Bob Cluness and his mastodon-sized hole.