Every year as part of this series of pre Iceland Airwaves features I try to interview the winners of the annual Músíktilraunir competition (music experiments). The competition has an incredible record of finding brand new bands on their way up. I guess most famously of all with Of Monsters And Men in 2010, but there are many other great examples.
This year’s winners were Rythmatik, a four piece from the beautiful Westfjörds area, play a kind of indie rock which is still distinctly Icelandic despite their well-reported love of Scottish greats, Big Country. Who doesn’t love Big Country?! Rythmatik are a band to seek out at Iceland Airwaves 2015, they are clearly on the rise, and nice guys too...
Rythmatik, where are you and what are you doing?
We are currently located in Reykjavík, far away from home in the Westfjords where most of us were born and raised. We are currently in the midst of releasing our first ever EP, producing a music video and preparing for Iceland Airwaves, so there is a lot on our plates at the moment!
Congratulations on being the winners of Músíktilraunir this year. How exciting was that? And how exciting is it to see your name alongside some amazing bands that have won it before?
We felt and still feel ecstatic about it! It’s just such a big title here in Iceland and we still feel so overwhelmed that we actually won, it’s amazing! So many great bands that we admire have won and went on to do amazing things. Bands like Agent Fresco, Mammút, Maus, Mínus, Vök and the list goes on and on! We had competed the year before, but had only been practicing as a functional band for about 2 months. Needless to say, we crashed and burned that year, but we just found more drive to keep going and better ourselves so we practiced a lot the following year. If you think about how many practices you can fit into one year, I mean that is a lot!
I loved to see that you name Big Country as an influence. What a band! Were they big in Iceland?
Hahaha! That is actually one of the more frequent questions we get, which is great! Big Country is such an amazing band with such a unique sound that we just love. It has probably influenced Hrafnkell’s (Guitar, Vocals) guitar playing the most and you can tell in many of our songs. No, I wouldn’t say they were popular in Iceland, maybe more of a cult thing like they are elsewhere. We actually discovered them through our Dads (Valgeir, Hrafnkell) record collection, but many of the bands that we listen to come from that CD shelf at home.
I believe that you have released two songs so far (on soundcloud), are you working on an album?
Yes, it’s called Epilepsy and will be online October 16th! We are dying from the excitement and can’t wait to share it with everyone. Please track us down during Airwaves if you’d like a copy or look us up on the interwebs!
Do you guys have a favourite song to play live?
We’d have to say Brick Thief because we usually want to close the set with a banger and this one is the heaviest by far. It’s just the best feeling seeing people react to it, especially if they react nicely and don’t leave. Jokes, but it is fun to feel like a real heavy rock band once in a while, even if it’s just those 4 minutes.
You are playing on Thursday between Þórir Georg and Fufanu. That sounds to me like a great couple of hours! Are you happy with the slot?
Extremely happy, those are 2 of the most promising acts at this year’s Airwaves. Þórir Georg has that 90’s sounding laid back atmosphere and Fufanu, well Fufanu will rock your socks off! You should definitely check them out.
Who else are you super keen to check out at Airwaves this year?
Besides the big names like Retro Stefson, Agent Fresco and Ensími, we are looking forward to see many of the rising talent here in Iceland. Our boy Axel Flóvent for example is sooo talented and produces the most amazing music, also CeaseTone and Munstur. If you’re heading to some off-venue gigs we would also recommend Vára and Milkhouse, plus if you want to see something crazy go see dj. flugvél og geimskip!! I mean Iceland Airwaves is all about discoveries and experiences!
Finally, do you have any advice for people attending Airwaves or visiting Iceland for the first time?
Explore, and don’t necessarily plan everything you are going to see. Go to the off-venues and be surprised, because those are the best finds, when you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get.
Go and see Rythmatik, here are all your chances...
Bíó Paradís - Wed, November 4, 2:00 PM
Slippbarinn - Thu, November 5, 5:00 PM
Iðnó - Thu, November 5, 8:40 PM
Bókabúð Máls og Menningar - Fri, November 6, 4:30 PM
Hitt húsið - Fri, November 6, 7:00 PM
CenterHotel Arnarhvoll - Sat, November 7, 4:40 PM
Tjarnarbarinn - Sat, November 7, 5:50 PM
Gaukurinn - Sun, November 8, 11:30 PM