Their first show in over a year Rökkurró are back for Iceland Airwaves with new energy and an acoustic set, but with the future yet to be decided
By Steffan Lykke Møller / Photos by Pat Moriearty
Recently, you haven’t heard a lot from the melancholic indie rock band Rökkurró and their dreamy melodies, but for the line-up for this year Iceland Airwaves, the six piece band pops up yet again.
In 2010 they came out with their second album ‘Í Annan Heim’, which was well received around the world – or at least in Europe. That led to a European tour and a couple of shows in their home town Reykjavik – ending with a show at Faktorý in August 2011.
Crowns and smiles
Before this show in the late summer 2011, they knew that they wouldn’t be playing together again for a least a year. Or maybe never again, it hadn’t been decided at this time. The band’s singer Hildur and the keyboard player Helga would go to Japan to study, so this concert would be a goodbye to the music scene for a while for most of the bands six members – except the bass player Ingibjörg, who also plays in the band Boogie Trouble.
But they didn’t want it to be a sad goodbye, so all the members of the band threw on crowns and made the concert one big party. They wanted to leave the stage with style.
Last week, when I saw the band back on to the stage all together for the first time in over a year, the crowns were gone. But thankfully they all carried big smiles instead. Not something they planned beforehand I think. They kind of just came onto each and every one of their faces when they entered the stage in Faktorý for what can be called the preview before this year’s shows at Iceland Airwaves.
Two months of rehearsing would for the first time be tested on a live audience. But the break didn’t made them rusty. Quite the contrary. “We just had so must energy we needed to get out,” guitarist Axel tells me after the show.
And that clearly stood out. Lead by Hildur’s expressive voice, which she has kept sharp all year working on her solo project Lily and the Fox, the rest of the band quickly found each other, and it was easy to see that they enjoyed
After the show, several people among the audience that had seen plenty of their concerts, told Hildur that this was the most powerful show they had played yet. The band and the audience couldn’t have wished for a better preview for Iceland Airwaves.
Just like Christmas
So their confidence is high when I meet up with the six band members a couple of days later at their rehearsal studio on a remote part of Reykjavík harbour. They feel more than ready to play the festival, which has been their main goal since they got back together in August this year. It will be the fifth Airwaves for Rökkurró, but the festival never gets boring for them. “It’s kind of like Christmas for Icelandic bands,” Hildur tells me. “When I was in Japan, it felt just as bad to be away from Airwaves as it was to be away from family and friends during Christmas.”
And the rest of the band agrees. There was just something missing last year when they had to miss out on Reykjavík’s biggest music event. “I didn’t even go down to watch any of the shows last year. It was just not the same,” says Axel. So it was quickly decided that the band would perform at Airwaves this year. They just had to.
An extra challenge
To make it extra exciting this year, they have for the first time ever decided to play an acoustic set in between their two plugged-in concerts at 12 Tonar on Thursday and Harpa on Saturday night. “We would like to challenge our self some more,” Helga says. And a challenge it seems to be for the band. Most of the rehearsing this last time before the performance is focused on getting this acoustic set just right.
“It kind of hard, because our music is not exactly something you play on a guitar around the campfire,” says Árni, the band’s other guitarist. “It is a bit more complicated than that.”
But they won’t take anything less than perfection for this acoustic show taking place down at the Nordic House on Saturday at 13:00. “It is just such a nice venue, so we really want to get it right,” Hildur says.
So what about the future of Rökkurró? Well, that something that still needs to be decided. After Iceland Airwaves, they will start making new material. What kind of style it’s going to be is not clear yet. But they’re planning on something a bit different than what they have done earlier. “Who knows,” Árni jokes, “maybe we go all acoustic.”
Rökkurró play at 20:00 on Saturday at Harpa Norðurljós.