Say hello to Drangar, Mugison’s collaboration with Jónas Sig and Ómar Guðjóns
Early last week, a bomb was dropped on Iceland. This was not one of those horrible bombs that blow people to smithereens and dismember them and leave a smattering of blood and guts all over the place (while spreading democracy). Nope, this was the good kind of bomb, a metaphorical one that leaves you happy and excited. A bomb of good news.
The good news is this: Mugison has started a new band, along with his mates, renowned musicians Jónas Sig and Ómar Guðjóns. They call their trio Drangar, and judging by the group’s first single (embedded below), the forthcoming full-length album will be pretty damn good. You of course know Mugison from his years of Mugicity. Jónas Sig (also known as Jónas Sigurðsson) has been steadily gaining in popularity over the last few years with his band Jónas Sig og Ritvélar framtíðarinnar (“Jónas Sig and the Typewriters of the Future”) and its patented brand of Icelandic-language neo-soul, while Ómar Guðjóns (also known as Ómar Guðjónsson is a celebrated guitarist who has played with Jagúar, ADHD, SJS Big Band and Tómas R. Einarsson (he has also released some fine solo albums). To celebrate the appearance of Drangar, we emailed the group to learn about this new venture Read on for their answers! But first, their new song!
Hi Drangar! Congratulations on the new band! The first song sounds pretty awesome! How did this come about?
Thanks so much, we are very excited. The band was formed nearly a year ago, and we started working on record the album in February. The initial spark came when we meet during a crazy snowstorm on Flateyri in late November of last year. Jónas and Ómar were touring the country on a broken camper van, and Mugison dropped by to jam and party. After that, there was no turning back.
Who plays what? Do you guys assume any different roles in this collective than in your other endeavours?
We play all the instruments ourselves, but the roles are different between songs. It’s a total collaboration.
What about the songwriting and lyrics? Is it collaborative, jam-style, or does each of you write their own songs or what?
We started out making songs in a two period songwriting session of two days each, but the lyrics were a bit longer in making.
From the very beginning, we decided that we had to maintain total collaboration in the creative process. So every note, every instrument part, every melody and all the lyrics where made collaboratively, by the whole group.
This was basically the essence the made us so excited about the band. Since we all have experience of writing our own material independently, we had never anticipated that we could share this intimate process with someone else. Let alone between the three of us. But we all felt the same trust and from the very beginning there was a creative space for us to dive into and harvest from. Something we can’t explain, but still… it’s there.
Is the band just comprised of the three of you? Or are there more Drangar? What about the upcoming album—any special guests?
Drangar is only the three of us. That was always part of the concept. Three brothers in spirit, creating and crafting the music from start to finish.
Naming a band is totally hard and often a boring endeavour. How did you come up with Drangar? It sounds pretty cool.
Thanks. Usually it’s a long and boring process of listing out all kinds of names and picking one out, but this came kind of naturally.
The lyrics for your first song sound kind of political at first listen, without much analysis. It mentions stuff like human rights and standing up, getting up. Care to elaborate? Is your upcoming record political in nature?
You could say political, but you could also say that the song takes a stand. Not necessarily in relation to the Icelandic political landscape, but rather a personal stand that everybody needs to stop focusing on what divides us and instead focus on what we have in common with each other.
We in the band share a strong desire to contribute something meaningful to our environment. To give something out. Everybody has something to give. We have music. We can at least try to be as honest as possible in our music and voice how we truly feel about things we care deeply for.
What’s the album going to be like? Is the first track, Bál, pretty indicative of what’ll be on there, or do you experiment with different sounds?
There are eleven songs on the album and we feel that we travel quite widely in terms of mood and style. Some songs are soft kind of acoustic electro, some are more rock funk and others are bluesy earth-y. Still, we hope they all maintain a strong sense of Drangar as some kind of essence.
Are you guys playing Airwaves?
We’ll definitely be attending the festival. There might be some off-venues or other kinds of appearances. Time will tell.
Anything to add?
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