If you are holding one of four editions of this year’s Airwaves issue, featuring one of four musicians—Ásgeir Trausti, Gísli Pálmi, Skúli Sverrisson or sóley—that we think are doing some pretty great things these days.
This singer-songwriter wunderkind has the breakout success story of the year. Only a crisp, green 20-year old, he took a sharp left turn from his athletic career plans and followed in his family’s musical footsteps. He came out with his first album ‘Dýrð í dauðaþögn’ this September, only months after producing his first demo tracks. He tells us he has been busy playing gigs since the album came out, which isn’t surprising given the critical acclaim he’s received.
His Airwaves schedule is also pretty jam-packed; he is playing a total of eight shows (two official, six off-venue) and promises something special for them all. Of course, Ásgeir will be enjoying the festival too. “There are so many new Icelandic bands that I’d like to see,” he says. “Especially the ones to come out of the Icelandic Battle of the Bands. I’d really like to see them.” Definitely do your best to catch one of his sets and find out why there’s so much buzz around this boy!
He plays at 00:10 on October 31 at Þýski Barinn and at 22:30 on November 3 at Harpa, Norðurljós. Check the off-venue schedule for his six other appearances.
“I tend to do my own thing,” says this young rapper out of Reykjavík. “I like to keep things mysterious.” While he may prefer to keep his current activities under wraps, there is no question this artist is one of the most exciting and unique people in the local hip hop scene. Along with producing his own sound, blended smoothly with dubstep and house beats, his rhymes switch between shameless boasting and tongue-in-cheek self-effacing, with incredible results.
But it’s onstage that Gísli Pálmi’s reputation precedes him. He puts on entertaining live performances full of blatant showmanship. “I plan to rock out as usual and hype up the crowd,” he says about his upcoming Airwaves gig, staying cool and collected about what to expect. As for what he’s planning to see, he mentions his friends in Lockerbie and Weirdcore member Bix. “I’m also really excited to see the performance by Shabazz Palaces,” he adds, “And I always look forward to seeing Retro Stefson—they’re really great performers and always fun to see live.”
He plays at 22:10 on November 1 at Þýski Barinn.
It is often said that the best way to judge a person is by the company they keep. In the case of this composer and guitarist, his collaboration roster is nothing but intimidating to fans of experimental music. David Sylvian, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson and Arto Lindsay are just a few of the world-renown artists Skúli has palled around with over the past twenty years. However, at his core he is simply a humble, hard-working musician.
He’ll be a busy man all through this month until his performance at Airwaves, too. “I’m working on a couple of recordings that are coming out later this year,” he tells us. “Both will be released on a new Icelandic label called Mengi. I will also be touring through October.” For the festival, he will perform pieces from his ongoing Seria works, premiering the third instalment. “I’m most looking forward to seeing SWANS,” Skúli adds. “I also always like seeing Sam Amidon, and I am excited to see Sigur Rós with their new line-up.”
He plays at 21:40 on November 3 at Iðnó.
From backing bandmember to front-and-centre performer, Sóley Stéfanssdóttir has quickly risen to be in high demand. She is working on her follow up album and collaborating with a puppeteer to soundscape an upcoming play (skip ahead a few pages to read about that). “I just got back from Denver this morning,” she tells us on the morning of our cover-shoot. “I was there over the weekend playing a show with Mugison, Pétur Ben and Lay Low and we were working with four artists from Denver.”
With little time to breathe between now and the Airwaves festival, she still has some plans on the horizon. “I’ve been in contact with a guy who’s really interested in doing some visuals, so there might be some video at the Reykjavík Art Museum show,” Sóley says. “I will also hopefully play some new songs!” What she hasn’t had much time to do is make her own festival picks. “There are so many Icelandic bands and they’re all my friends, I don’t want to forget anyone!” she laughs. “I’m really excited to see Dirty Projectors because they’re a band I can’t see just anytime. People are also talking a lot about the band playing right after me, Poliça. I have to sit down and look at the schedule!”
She plays at 21:40 on October 31 at Iðnó and at 22:00 on November 1 at Reykjavík Art Museum.