ITW – Vök | Sophie sat down with the trio on tour across Europe, talks album, sax, and Icelandic music recommendations

Written by #2016, Future Sounds, Interview, News, Photos, Radar

Though I usually let Ben (aka Sodwee) introduce the artists interviewed, I thought I could give it a try with Vök, especially since I’ve been a huge fan of their music for a couple of years. Created in 2013 by Margrét Rán (vocalist) and Andri Márfirst (saxophonist), the Icelandic band, now a three piece with the addition of Ólafur Alexander (guitar), were in Paris last week to perform their second show ever in France. Having missed the opportunity to enjoy their dreamy synth pop the year before, there was no way I would not attend this concert and have a little chat with them, even if it meant crossing Paris back and forth all day long! What was supposed to be my first concert alone actually turned out to be one of my favorite concerts ever with Andri even playing the sax solo of “Adrift”, literally at my feet…. never underestimate the power of the sexophone…

CIRCLES EP

by Vök is out now... Out now.
Interview & introduction by Sophie. Photographs by Michela Cuccagna.

First, I’d like to start with your band’s name, Vök. In Icelandic it means « a hole in the ice », which implies some fragility within something powerful. Could it be a good way to define your music ?

Andri : (laughing) It has this duality because it also means « a hole in the clouds ». It can be this very dark and gloomy thing but it can also be bright.

Margrét : When Andri suggested it,I had never heard the word Vök before and I liked it but we didn’t think further ! (laughing) We didn’t think that for people that would not understand our language, it would be so hard to pronounce it !

Andri : To be fair, it was never the plan at that time to play abroad. So we didn’t think about how it would look for foreigners !

Margrét : We have to deal with it now ! (laughing)

You actually founded the band just before Musiktilrauner, the battle of band, which you actually won. Impressive !

Margrét : Yeah, that was kinda crazy !

Andri : It was actually the first concert that we ever played as a band. We only had three songs but the semi finals were five days before the finals and then we only had two songs ! We were like « We have to make a new song ! » (laughing)

Margrét : We actually kinda dig up an old song that we made when I was studying electronic music, Before. We didn’t like it but it’s now our most popular song.

Andri : We love it now !

You’ve already released two EPs, Tension and Circles. Your sound keeps evolving from minimalist electro to something a bit warmer and even catchier if I may like ‘Waiting’ your new single. Would it be right to say that you’re getting more and more pop ?

Margrét : I would say that we are taking the middle, mixing pop to our dark side.

Andri : We like to diverse between very heavy and jolly songs. I don‘t think our style is changing a lot, we’re just getting better at making music so we can do more things.

Can we have some hints about the album ?

Andri : It’s gonna be somewhere in the middle between the two EPs.

Margrét : There’s going to be pop of course.

Andri : In the past couple of years performing live it’s been so fun to see people dancing that we like to have fun too.

Are you sticking to English now ? You used to also make songs in Icelandic.

Margrét : I think we’re going to make one or two songs in Icelandic for the album.

Andri : Most literature and movies we watch or read are in English so it’s much easier for us to romanticize or make dreamy lyrics in English than in Icelandic. It’s a very difficult language.

Margrét : If you write in Icelandic it has to be perfect ! Kinda poetic.

Andri : There’s hundreds of generations of poets in Iceland, almost every Icelander is a poet in some ways.

More than 300,000 people live in Iceland and I feel like all of them are musicians or poets. If we played a game and you would give a French artist to every Icelander I know I’m afraid I would lose, and we are 60 million people in France ! (laughing) Isn’t it stressful to have such a huge artistic heritage ?

Margrét : I’m really happy and thankful. It’s helping us actually.

Andri : It actually helps a lot. There’s so much culture that even though a couple of years ago we didn’t think of ourselves as musicians it came naturally. You experience it all the time, it’s all around you.

Do you have any Icelandic artists that you would recommend ?

Andri : My personal favourite is Emilia Torrini. You gotta listen to Axel Flóvent too. He’s like the Icelandic Bon Iver.

Margrét : He’s really good. Very mellow.

Andri : It’s hard because we’re not that much into hip hop and the Icelandic music scene today is all about hip hop.

Margrét : It’s very good live, like Úlfur Úlfur and Emmsjé Gauti but we don’t listen to hip-hop at home.

Andri, in the band you play the saxophone and I have to confess, it’s my favourite instrument ! What does it add to your music ?

Margrét : I would say it adds a little of jazz, sensuality and fun. Andri can’t handle himself when he’s playing ! (laughing)

You’re on a 4-week tour across Europe and you’re the only girl in the van Margret ! How does it feel ?

Margrét : (laughing) I’m getting used to it !

Andri : She’s practically our guys now !

And Andri told me he was the one driving !

Margrét : He’s the best driver I guess !

You don’t drive Margrét?

Margrét : I do but I forgot to make a new driver licence (laughing) That’s convenient !

Andri : And our sound engineer drove one day like a maniac and he almost killed us three times so he’s not allowed anymore ! (laughing)

Finally, since Sodwee stands for Sound of the Week, what would be YOUR Sound of the Week ?

Margrét : We’ve been listening to Son Lux a lot, I would say ‘Easy’, it’s a good one !

Andri : And Bombay Bicycle Club but it’s a long time favorite!


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Last modified: March 28, 2016

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