Tag Archives: Iceland Airwaves

Catch Sóley live this summer

Artist: Sóley | Song: Halloween

Sóley (Sóley Stefánsdóttir) is an Icelandic singer-songwriter, pianist and member of the indie-collective Seabear. She also studied composition and is a passionate piano player and singer. In  2010 she released her debut EP Theater Island which was followed by her first full-length album We Sink. 

Sóley is playing two festivals this summer– Rauðasandur Festival and ATP Iceland. This song is called Halloween from her upcoming album and this was the very first time she performed it live. It was recorded for KEXP at Iceland Airwaves last year.

Icytopics presents: The Icelandic Festival Guide

Planning to travel to Iceland? Then don’t miss the opportunity to visit some of Iceland’s fine music festivals. (Well, the first one you probably missed, because it just finished.)


Aldrei fór ég suður 18-19 April

Isafjordur in the Westfjords is home to the annual, sweaty, joyous, fun-filled grassroots music Festival of “Aldrei fór ég suður” – or “I never went south.” The festival is the brainchild of the Icelandic music legend Mugison and his father and it is becoming Icelanders’ favourite way of spending their Easter weekend. True to Mugison’s rules and egalitarian values local school acts support the bigger names from Reykjavík.

Artists: Cell7, Dj. Flugvél og geimskip, Grísalappalísa, Hermigervil, Highlands, Hjaltalín, Kaleo, Mammút, Maus, Retro Stefson



Heima i Hafnarfirdi 23 April

The concept of this music festival world comes from the Faroes, Faroese claim to actually have gotten the idea from Iceland.  Musicians from various genres will hold short concerts in 13 homes located in the town and festival visitors walk between houses and listen and enjoy. Each artist appears at least twice in different homes and plays for 40 minutes.

Artists: Ylja, Vök, Mono Town, Elíza Newman og Anna Magga (Kolrassa Krókríðandi), Strigaskór nr. 42


Secret Solstice 20-22 June

Secret Solstice is a festival that‘s being held for the first time on the 20th-22nd of June 2014. The festival features over a hundred artists both local and international from a various array of genres. It showcases both established artists as well as exciting up-and-coming talent over the course of three days in the 24 hour midnight sun during the summer solstice. It‘s themed after the Norse religion and mythology of old. It‘s set to deliver a unique party atmosphere filled with great entertainment.

Artists: Massive Attack, Woodkid, Schoolboy Q, Múm, Carl Craig, Hjaltalín, Gluteus Maximus, Banks, Damian Lazarus, He, Eats Everything


Raudasandur Festival 3-6 July

Rauðasandur Festival is a small music and experience festival set in the stunning scenery in the Rauðasandur region of The West Fjords of Iceland. The festival takes place during the first weekend of July each year. It focuses on country, blues, folk, reggae and anything in between, as well as outdoor activities such as beach volleyball, sandcastle competitions, yoga and hiking.

Artists: Emilíana Torrini, Sam Amidon (USA), Moses Hightower, Lay Low, Ylja, Amaba Dama, My Bubba (DK), Pascal Pinon



Braeðslan 26 July

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Braeðslan. It takes place in a tiny seaside community called Borgarfjörður-Eystri which is located in the far north-east of Iceland, home to just around 100 people. The line-up gathers some of Icelands most beloved bands at the moment.

Artists: Drangar (Jónas Sigurðsson, Mugison og Ómar Guðjónsson), Emilíana Torrini, Lára Rúnars, Mammút, Pollapönk, SúEllen


Þjóðhátíð í Eyjum 1-4 August

The last weekend of July or on the first weekend of August, Icelanders have their annual shopkeeper’s holiday, named Verslunarmannahelgi. All over the country they celebrate in their own tremendous way by numerous parties and festivals. The most known as well as the biggest one is Þjóðhátíð, located in Westman Islands. Although some people look at this as a music festival, some even say that the music doesn’t matter; it’s all about the atmosphere. There are three highlights during the weekend,  the bonfire at the Friday evening, followed up by a firework exhibition on Saturday night and the Sunday sing-along event.

Artists: Mugison, Hjálmar, Jón Jónsson, Ham, Retrobot, Friðrik Dór, Blaz Rocha, Ingó og Veðurguðirnir, Magnús & Jóhann.


Iceland Airwaves 5-9 November

The Iceland Airwaves Festival has become one of the world’s top showcases for new music. Since the first edition was held in 1999 (in an airplane hangar) it’s been lavished with praise pretty much everywhere they write about music. The festival encompasses a main program as well as off-venue events that give newcomers a chance to be heard.

Artists: Flaming Lips, The War On Drugs, Caribou, Future Islands, Oyama, Samaris, Kaleo, Highlands, Rökkurró, Skurken.

The War on Drugs, Caribou, Future Islands
Read more at http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/icelandairwaves/2014#yOdqM0szmfVPKAHe.99
The War on Drugs, Caribou, Future Islands,
Read more at http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/icelandairwaves/2014#yOdqM0szmfVPKAHe.99
The War on Drugs, Caribou, Future Islands,
Read more at http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/icelandairwaves/2014#yOdqM0szmfVPKAHe.99

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.” •

Introducing: Fura

Artist: Fura | Track: Poems of the past

Fura has already played both Iceland Airwaves and Sónar, the two most important festivals in Iceland, which signals that they are an act to keep an eye on. Last year Björt Sigfinnsdóttir started working with production duo Hallur Jónsson and Janus Rasmussen (members of Bloodgroup) and soon they released the first single Demons. 2014 promises the release of their first EP and Poems of the past is the first sample of what is to expect. The melody sounds both anxious and lost. But there is a grandeur in the music also, a fusion of laid-back beats, slow-burnin’ grooves, melancholic lyrics and cinematic atmospherics. We look forward to hearing more…