Getting to know: Valdimar

In the lead up to the Iceland Airwaves Festival Mr Wolf has decided to get better acquainted with some of the festival’s top picks.

Recently, Mr. Wolf caught up with Valdimar and Ásgeir, of Valdimar, a band that is making huge strides in Iceland’s indie music scene since the release of their first album, Undraland (2010, Geimsteinn). Valdimar and Ásgeir are the original duo of an ensemble that has grown to six members, plus additional brass players who make frequent appearances alongside the group.

All but one of Valdimar’s members are childhood friends, having grown up in the Keflavik area. Unlike Reykjavík, Keflavik is not known as a hub of music culture. Thus, Valdimar were somewhat out on their own when they came into the music scene. Valdimar himself, who is the band’s namesake, as well as the lead singer, attributes their success to the fact they have “come out of nowhere”. Unlike so many other groups who grew up in the collaborative music culture of the capital, they are quickly recognised as “the band from Keflavik”.

There is a great element of difference in Valdimar’s music. It is still in the tradition of Iceland indie pop, but there is something different in the way they have pulled together their disparate influences, making their style quite unique. Valdimar calls on rap as one of his biggest influences, while Ásgeir prefers more traditional forms, such as jazz. You wouldn’t exactly say that Valdimar sounds like rap-meets-jazz-plus-indie, but you can definitely feel a depth and breadth of styles meshing together to create the vast tapestry of sound scapes in Valdimar’s tunes. This is especially true of their newest album, Um Stund (2012, Geimsteinn), where the tracks are bigger and fuller, and the album overall is a more complete story than its predecessor. Valdimar and Ásgeir describe Um Stund as a sequel album; they were interested in taking what they did in Undraland and developing it to the next level.

Valdimar jokes that he is a dictator, that the drives the direction of the band, but in reality it is a collaborative process. While Valdimar and Ásgeir often begin the writing process, it quickly becomes about incorporating all the members of the group to come up with the completed piece..

Valdimar are currently writing and recording for a new album, and are hoping to organise some European tour dates in the not too distant future. In October, you can expect to see them at Iceland Airwaves Festival, where they are sure to charm you with their heart-warming and moving music.


Valdimar and Ásgeir say…

Our music sounds like…the ocean.
We make music because…we like it.
The best advice we were ever given was…if you play a wrong note, play it again always act like it was on purpose, and always keep going.
When we grow up we want to be…policemen.
Happiness is…a warm gun.
We can’t live without…Valdimar.

Words: Annie Ferguson