Emerging Icelandic shoegaze stars Oyama had to stop their performance in Harpa yesterday due to being too loud for the venue.
During a particularly fragile passage of classical music, their distorted noise-rock was audible through the walls of the Eldborg hall, prompting rumours that Ólafur Arnalds had personally asked Harpa to pull the plug on Oyama’s performance.
“Some of Harpa’s staff came down and told us we had stop playing until Óli’s break,” says singer and keyboardist Júlía Hermansdóttir, “and said it was because we were making way too much noise and disturbing his show.”
But Ólafur was actually a bystander. “I just found out this morning,” he says. “It was actually during the Max Richter recomposed Vivaldi piece, which is a completely acoustic piece with small instrumentation, only 20 piece… so very quiet. Harpa is designed with sound locks between the actual concert rooms – you don’t hear anything between those. But it was not designed with rock bands playing in the hallway in mind… so that was the problem. I was in Eldborg watching the Richter piece. It’s this super fragile piece with 1500 people sitting there in complete silence, and you could just hear boom, boom, boom. And then I saw Steinunn Birna, the musical director of Harpa, running out in panic…”
“The funny thing is that Óli used to be a drummer for some very loud hardcore bands – he’s a great drummer,” smiles Hermansdóttir, “so it’s kinda ironic that he’s moved upstairs and plays so quietly – and that even the soundproofed walls of Harpa can’t protect him.”
It turns out that it was an unexpected timing slippage that caused the plug to be pulled, with the previous 12 Tonár band Captain Fufanu running late by 20 minutes, meaning Oyama started late and overlapped with Richter. Oyama relented and stopped playing after three songs, but the disappointed throng have three more chances to see them play: Gamli Gaukurinn will host a performance at 22:30 tonight, with extra shows at Sky Bar on Saturday afternoon at 16:00, and Amsterdam on Sunday, at 22:00.
But don’t forget your earplugs.