Category Archives: Interview

Icytopics interview: Cheddy Carter

“The future can, at times, have an effect on the past – I believe Borges articulated something similar”, Cheddy Carter

Fact  #1: A recent FC Barcelona game witnessed a racist act against the Brazilian defender Dani Alves, as one of the supporters threw  a banana in an attempt to resemble him to a monkey. Nevertheless, Alves responded brilliantly as he peeled and ate the banana quickly before continuing on with the game. Thereafter an anti-racism campaign was launched with the hashtag #somostodosmacacos (We are all monkeys).

Fact #2: The rappers IMMO, Charlie Marlowe and the producer Fonetik Simbol have been part of the four-piece combo Original Melody since 2002. The group has released two albums: Fantastic Four and Back & Fourth. In 2013 they started recording OM Sessions, a collection of four EP albums to be released throughout the year, but so far only two of them have appeared.

How is this connected to the debut single and video for Saturday Session by Cheddy Carter? Read the interview with this new, but experienced, hip hop trio and find out.

All of you are merited producers and performers with a shared history. Why did you decide to regroup as Cheddy Carter?

We decided to regroup and form the offshoot Cheddy Carter from Original Melody for two reasons: first, we are partial to the word ‘offshoot’, and seeing as we are rarely afforded the opportunity of using the word – we figured that to form an ‘offshoot’ band would greatly increase our chances of doing so. Second, seeing as only three out of Original Melody‘s four members were involved in the offshoot’s creation, we felt that said offshoot warranted a new name; after all, one cannot rightly call a clover a four-leaf clover if said clover has only three leaves. That would be delusional and misleading.

What inspired you to create Saturday Session?

There was no dramatic inspirational moment leading up to Saturday Session. I suppose that the title proclaims the concept. It was a Saturday. We had a session.

What’s up with you and bananas? When you were in Original Melody you released The Banana Sessions with a track called Banana Peel and now bananas are the main props in the new video.

Well, there are several reasons for the bananas. To begin with, the title of the song Banana Peel is derived from the idea that banana peels symbolize life’s pitfalls, and we felt that to discuss life’s pitfalls directly would be heavy-handed, and thus we went with a more symbolic and thus more subliminal approach. This also relates to the title of the project, i.e. Banana Sessions. As regards the video, in light of the recent Dani Alves scandal, involving bananas, we felt that we needed to voice our disapproval of racial prejudice, and again we went with a symbolic approach. Even though, I should mention, that the video was shot before that incident; we believe, however, that this did not necessarily prevent the incident from having an effect on the video’s aesthetic. The future can, at times, have an effect on the past – I believe Borges* articulated something similar. Finally, bananas are healthful, savory and fun.

* Jorge Luis Borges. Argentine short-story writer, essayist and poet.

Icytopics Interview: CeaseTone

“The concept of CeaseTone really came from not being able to decide a specific genre I wanted to focus on, because I love all sorts of music”, Hafsteinn Þráinsson

In this visual age it’s hard to break through the clutter. Especially if you want to do it on any type of media display, and with style and finesse. So when newcomer CeaseTone’s delivers a new single that not only sounds fresh – upbeat, light hearted and slightly quirky, with Hafsteinn Þráinsson singing like a cross between Jeff Buckley, Richard Thompson and Belle and Sebastian – but also wraps it in a strikingly stylish video, then we get curious. So here it is. Listen, watch, read and enjoy: An in-depth interview with CeaseTone.

What is CeaseTone?

CeaseTone is the musical name I took when started my solo project. It’s a play on my name Hafsteinn, meaning sea stone, which consequently has become CeaseTone. At first it was an acoustic project. But now it’s evolved from that, towards a bigger sound combining electronic, folk, alternative, post-rock and more. And in order to re-create the sound I got some friends to play with me live, while all the studio work still remains in my hands.

The concept of CeaseTone really came from not being able to decide a specific genre I wanted to focus on, because I love all sorts of music. I study and play jazz guitar, I’ve sung in choirs and experimented with choir pieces, I’ve played in some metal and rock bands, I have a great interest in electronic music and I have DJ’ed since elementary school. With CeaseTone I wanted to combine everything and create something I could call my own. So I made an album called Pandora’s Music Box in 2012, but in retrospect I didn’t achieve the sound I was looking for. The material I’ve been working on now is much more of a complete concept.

What are your plans for CeaseTone?

The next step is to put my newly formed live-band into good use and play as much as I can. I’m heading into the studio to record my first official album and I hope to find a label that will release it. A music agency in Central Europe has shown interest, but nothing has been decided. Still that gives me hope that I might reach a foreign audience a lot sooner then I intended. So many good things have happened since I released Remedy that I’m very optimistic. 2014 promises to be an awesome year. A year when I make an album and play as many gigs as I possibly can.

Are you involved in any other musical collaborations?

A few years ago was in Postartica, a prog rock band that didn’t last very long.  It consisted of me, Alexander Örn, who now plays bass in up and coming The Vintage Caravan, Ninna Rún, our singer, and Tumi Snær, now drummer in death metal band Angist. We have played a few gigs just for fun through the years but nothing more than that, everybody is so busy with their own projects.

I also play in a band called Lockerbie alongside CeaseTone. I love taking on many projects and collaborate with different people. Here in Iceland it’s important to make friends and establish contacts. You must keep yourself busy and have many options open, especially if you want to make a living from music.

Icytopics Interview: bird

“I already have enough material to put on at least three full-length albums…”, Jón Valur Guðmundsson

A fantastic voice appeared online. Seemingly out of nowhere. The melancholy but catchy pop song had verses built around a minimalistic synthesizer loop. The beautiful and ethereal refrain urged us to “go back”. And we sure did. Go Back by Bird has been playing on repeat ever since. After some research we found out that this was the first solo-release from Bird or Jón Valur Guðmundsson, a 26-year-old singer/songwriter from Iceland. But we wanted to find out more. The result: Icytopics first interview ever…

Thanks for a great song. I discovered Bird via Hjálmar’s Facebook page, but can’t find much information about you. What is Bird? 

“Bird is basically just a one-man project, for now. I play several instruments and I play all the music myself. I’ve played different instruments in many bands through the years from a very young age. Between projects I found that I have written so many songs now that I just have to get them out of my system before they turn to dust. The name Bird comes from my second name, Valur, which in direct English translates as gyrfalcon – a type of bird. I’ve always been very fond of birds as symbols when I think about it. I even have two older brothers that are also named after birds of prey.”

What are your plans for the project?

“My plan was to just start with this one single, Go Back, and see how things developed. I’m planning to work further on my first solo album this year. I already have enough material to put on at least three full-length albums, so now I’m taking some time to carefully choose and re-arrange some of the songs that might be best fitting for this project. By the beginning of summer, I hope to have put together a band to back me up live and start playing some shows. I don’t plan on releasing the album until probably late this year or early 2015, if it all falls into place.”

You played drums in Who Knew, a fantastically talented band. What happened with that?

“Who Knew ended so suddenly for all of us; like a band-aid that was ripped off. It was so quick and quiet that I sometimes feel as if the whole thing was just a lucid dream. I think our last gig was at Iceland Airwaves 2012, for the KEXP radio station, without us even realizing it. Thankfully, that moment was recorded and can be found online for everyone to see. At that time we just had finished two or three years of traveling and touring and soon after Airwaves a couple of the guys in the band wanted to take a step back and leave the music scene, for a while at least. The rest of us gave it a bit of time, to let everyone finish school, and allowed our minds to wonder off a bit. We always thought we would just start playing again but that was somehow harder than we thought, so we just went our separate ways. But we are all still very good friends and meet up regularly. So that was that, really.” •