Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Tim trad 191608

Meet the Airwaves Virgins

31 October 2017, 10:55

Meet ten local bands playing Iceland Airwaves this year for the first time you really need to see.

For the second year in a row, Iceland Airwaves is held immediately after the nation has gone to the polling booths to vote for a new parliament.

It remains to be seen whether or not the festival organisers wield some form chthonic power over government heads, but either way, the showcase festival comes as a welcome reprieve to visitors and locals alike. There are some 218+ bands performing, and we’ve taken the liberty to highlight ten playing for the first time that you really should go see.

Between Mountains

Katla Vigdís and Ásrós Helga were 14 and 16 respectively when they took part in this year’s Battle of the Bands in April. With their own delicate and almost fragile take on indie pop, the duo won the contest and is now set to play on the big stage, where they will perform no fewer than nine (!!!) times.

Where in Iceland are you from?
Ásrós: We are from Núpur in Dýrafjörður and Suðureyri In the Westfjords.

When did you start making music?
Ásrós: Katla writes the music. But she started writing when she was twelve.”

Describe your sound
Ásrós: We are playing indie pop.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
Ásrós:Because we have interesting harmonies and new in the music scene.

Who else should we check out?
Ásrós: You should check out two very cool bands called Gróa and RuGl.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
Ásrós: Have a look and the most popular tourist spots.

Catch Between Mountains on Wednesday at Grund dvalar- og hjúkrunarheimili (10:15), Kex Hostel (13:00), Sólon Bistro (19:00), Thursday at Viking Brewery Reykjavík (14:00), Friday at Bíó Paradís (13:00), Hitt Húsið (19:30), Fríkirkjan (21:00), Saturday at Landsbankinn (15:00), and at Gaukurinn (22:30). Follow them on YouTube and Facebook.

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Elli Grill

Elli Grill is one of the founding members of Shades of Reykjavík, a trippy hip-hop outfit that shook Iceland's compact scene with rhymes that skirt the line between artistic irony and comedy, seemingly simultaneously holding a dark mirror to modern Icelandic society and having a ball. Without leaving the fold, Elli has struck out on his own in search for gold (not to get rich, but to make a new grill).

When did you start making music?
Started makin’ ghetto techno with my friend Lafontaine, who has my name tattood on his ass, the crazy bastard!

Describe your sound
Crazy homeless sci-fi scientist that made himself a radioactive lizard, and sees beauty in dark stuff.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
Because it’s a dark spiritual experience and I’m a born a crazy entertainer and weird hip-hop is cool right now, and it’s the right thing to do.

Who else should we check out?
Kuldaboli, Skrattar, Alvia Islandia, Sturla Atlas, Geisha Cartel, hrnnr & smjörvi, Morgan Freeman, Lord Pusswhip, Huginn, Countess Malaise, GKR, Lafontaine. Shout out to Thule Records and Robotdisco.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
Right now I’m super drunk in Christania freetown in Copenhagen and that’s the place to be when hungover with the newest techno music, eating a shamanshawarma straight up ultra mega spiritual stuff.

Catch Elli Grill on Wednesday at Hressingarskálinn (23:20), Thursday at Friðarhús (19:00), and on Sunday at Hverfisbarinn (21:20). Follow him on Twitter.


JóiPé X Króli

Unquestionably the standout act from this year’s Icelandic music scene, these two adorable teenagers have dished out some of the country’s best earworms. Jóhannes Damian Patreksson and Kristinn Óli Haraldsson, aka Jói Pé and Króli, say they spent their Christmas holidays and all of their free time recording and mixing their sophomore album, ‘Gerviglingur’, which came out earlier this year. Their take on rap is idyllic and vulnerable, juvenile yet approachable, and it’s universally cherished by their fellow countrymen.

Where in Iceland are you from?
: I am from Hafnarfjörður.
JóiPé: I am from Garðabær.

When did you start making music?
: I started making music late in December when i first met Jói.
JóiPé: I first started making music when I was in the 10th grade.

Describe your sound
The whole hip-hop spectrum, anything from old school style rapping with some fresh trap.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
If you want a relatable down to earth show that you can still party to then you should come see us.

Who else should we check out?
Herra Hnetusmjör, Dj Snorri Ástráðs, Birnir, Sturla Atlas are a few we think you should check out.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
Chuck Norris grill and Joe and the Juice.

Catch Jói Pé x Króli on Wednesday at Bryggjan Brugghús (18:00) and Reykjavíks Art Museum (23:30), Thursday at Græni Haturinn in Akureyri (23:00), Friday at Alda Hótel (15:00), Kaffihús Vesturbæjar (16:30), Slippbarinn (17:45) and Húrra (02:00), and on Saturday at American Bar (14:00) and Viking Brewery Reykjavík (18:00). Follow them on Spotify.


Three-piece stoner band has been making (sludgy) waves for years, alternating between playing on bills with heavy rock and metal outfits, and artsy indie bands. After playing on the off-venue for ages, Godchilla finally made it onto the main bill, from where they will try to rock everyone’s socks off.

Where in Iceland are you from?
We have been described in the past as the ‘the best sludge band from Flúðir’ (population ca. 450). Two of us are from near-Flúðir in the deep south of Iceland and our drummer’s from 105 Reykjavík representin’.

When did you start making music?
All of us started playing in garage bands in our early teens. Biggi and Hjalti have been playing together since they were 14. Godchilla in it’s final form started playing together late 2013.

Describe your sound
Let’s just say if our sound was a pokémon, it would be some sort of Gengar/Hypno hybrid. Spectral and hypnagogic surf sludge, in other words.

Godchilla Pokeman card

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
If you are in the mood to rock and/or roll, we can probably scratch your itch.

Who else should we check out?
Skelkur í Bringu is the Icelandic garage punk version of Melt-Banana led by Steinunn Eldflaug a.k.a. dj airplane and spaceship.

Indriði from hc/punk legends Muck does some super cool Kurt Vile-esque stuff along with some weirdo noise-techno.

Kuldaboli is Iceland’s freezing answer to Drexciya and all dat Gerald Donald Detroit techno. Dance-tastic angst for insomniacs.

Lord Pusswhip, our Dracoola-boy will fulfill all your horror trap beat-needs.

Pink Street Boys is some of the best real-sleaze dirty-sock garage rock you can find.

And of course ROHT! They’re the sonic equivalent of a rusty bulldozer running over Iceland’s shitty patriarchy at 200 km/h. The Friday night combo of them and Kælan Mikla is not to be missed.

We’re also looking forward for the whole night after we play on Thursday @ Gamla Bíó, loads of POW HAMMER SMASH stuff.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
: Go sea swimming (down at Grandi or Nauthólsvík beach).
Biggi: Whatever you do and wherever you go, remember to stay hydrated.
Hjalti: Get some stupid idea and go too far towards making it a reality. For example, you could lease a storefront across the street from the penis museum, with the intention of opening up a butt museum there. Then get crunked.

Catch Godchilla on Thursday at Gamla Bíó (19:40) and on Saturday at Loft (17:30). Follow them on YouTube.


The former guitarist of hardcore legends Muck, Indriði’s solo career has been marked less by face-melting riffs and growling vocals, and more by introspective dreamy psychedelia. He’s been around for a while and released his debut ‘Makril’ last year, but since moving to Berlin it seems like his solo career has started taking shape. 2017 might be his breakthrough year.

Where in Iceland are you from?
101 RVK.

When did you start making music?
Some Danish couch surfer taught me how to play Smoke On The Water on my mom’s mandolin when i was a kid, next christmas i got a guitar, then when the world of music programs and computers opened up i fell in very deep.

Describe your sound
It's very tight, but very soft. Dreamy floaty upbeat tender rock and roll.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
Because my band is AMAZING. Just got back from bandcamp in Germany and it got me super excited. I'll be joined by protopunk band Balagan, Theremin wizard Hekla Magnúsdóttir and perc-tastic Gylfi Sigurðsson.

Who else should we check out?
Go see Hekla Magnúsdóttir and Balgan, they are also doing their own solo sets on the off-venue program and both acts are truly the coolest stuff happening in each worlds.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
Take a walk in Öskjuhlíðin. Google it! Xox.

Catch Indriði on Wednesday at Hlemmur Square (18:00) and Hverfisbarinn (00:20), Thursday at Jörgensen Kitchen & Bar (18:00) and Iðnó (20:50), and Saturday at Bíó Paraís (19:00), Follow Indriði on Facebook.

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While the Icelandic music scene is generally known for dreamy elf pop and poetic rap, there is also a vibrant brütal punk undercurrent. ROHT, the hardcore noise outfit making its debut at Airwaves this year, comes from this scene, and is brutish, ghastly, terrifying and loud; in other words absolutely brilliant.

Where in Iceland are you from?
We as a band are from Reykjavík though half of the people in the band is from Húsavík.

When did you start making music?
ROHT as a band started early 2016 but we´ve been playing music together for about 7 years in various projects.

Describe your sound
Our friend and label head described us as "stomping isolationist noise punk with a raging undercurrent of industry and primitivism" which I think is as better description than we could come up with ourselves.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
Hmmm.. Ideally because you heard us and liked our music. Or because you are a fan of punk and aggressive music and are looking for something new. Or because Kælan Mikla play right after us and they are the best so you might as well sit through our 12-minute set.

Who else should we check out?
I’m not too sure who’s playing the festival and who’s playing off-venue, but some local bands we recommend if you get the chance to see them somehow are: Dauðyflin, Kælan Mikla, Döpur, Dead Herring, Panos From Komodo, Rex Pistols, AMFJ and Madonna & Child.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
We are old and rarely have hangovers to deal with. Check out Lucky Records for a nice place to hang out and check out music or chat about whatever with some friendly staffers. Pizza King makes perfect pizza and BioBorgari make the best burgers in town. Alternatively try to be just okay enough to check out all the cool off venue gigs that will be going on all over town during the day.

Catch ROHT on Saturday at Gaukurinn (20:00) and Sunday at Lucky Records (16:15). Follow them on Facebook.


Sólveig Matthildur

Synth-mage Sólveig Matthildur is a member of groundbreaking dark wave band Kælan Mikla, runs record label Hið Myrka Man, was one half of anti-Airwaves festival Myrkramakt, and publishes fringe magasine Myrkfælni; and she’s also got this solo project. Born from her moving to Berlin (a common theme on this list), she uses it to explore the deepest pits of sorrow, and discover hitherto unknown fields of melancholy.

Where in Iceland are you from?
I was born in downtown Reykjavík but moved to Seltjarnarnes in 2000, when I was 6. So I was raised there by the sea, playing with elfs on Valhúsahæð and mermaids in Seltjörn. Until I was 18 and moved downtown to work and hangout at bars.

When did you start making music?
When I was 7 years old I started studying classical flute. I joined an orchestra later on and a bigband where I played the barinton saxophone. Additionally I studied guitar and piano. The music school in Seltjarnarnes shaped me alot but eventually I got more into punk and poetry and started my band Kælan mikla where I played the drums.

Describe your sound
I soon gained interest in synthesizers, moved to Berlin last year and started making my own music. More inspired by my classical background but with a hint of punk and the darkwave/minimal synth scene that Kælan mikla has been a part of for a couple of years now.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
My music is sad and depressing and could make your time in Iceland miserable. So maybe you should not attend my performance at Airwaves.

Who else should we check out?
I am excited about many performances but I recommend attending as many off veue gigs as you can. Especially in R6013. It's my friends basement and is, in my opinion, the current core of Icelands underground music scene.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
You should enjoy suffering while you can and see as many early gigs as you can. Cure takes too much of precious time and you got got plenty of it after the festival.

Catch Sólveig Matthildur on Thursday at Hlemmur Square (16:00), Friday at Iðnó (20:00), and Saturday at Gaukurinn (21:40). Follow her on Facebook.


Katrín Helga is one of the founding members of Reykjavíkurdætur and Hljómsveitt, and plays with sóley and kriki. Being only 25 and having played in so many influential bands, her debut solo album is aptly named “I Thought I'd Be More Famous by Now”.

Where​ ​in​ ​Iceland​ ​are​ ​you​ ​from?
Reykjavík, although I lived in Norway until I was ten.

When​ ​did​ ​you​ ​start​ ​making​ ​music?
I recorded my first cassette when I was six. I remember taking it to school and making people listen to it. Little has changed since then.

Describe​ ​your​ ​sound
It’s dead serious and totally playful at the same time. The sophistication from my background in classical music meets the punk spirit of "it doesn't matter what you are capable of, but what you do". I write and record everything myself and pick up all kinds of weird instruments like block flute and trumpet, but live I have a killer band with me consisting of some of the most talented musicians in Iceland. I put a lot of emphasis the lyrics which revolve around the bitter-sweet melancholy of everyday life.

Why​ ​should​ ​we​ ​come​ ​see​ ​you​ ​at​ ​Airwaves?
I see music as a three dimensional thing where the dimensions are: melodies, lyrics and image. I’m studying visual arts at the Art Academy so I want my concerts to be kind of an installation or Gesamtkunstwerk where music, text, dance and image all come together. I have big plans for the visual aspects of this concert, as well as for the sound.

Who​ ​else​ ​should​ ​we​ ​check​ ​out?
Sóley is working on a new solo accordion experimental drone thing that is AMAZING. She will be playing that off venue, but you should also come see her on venue in Fríkirkjan where I will be playing with her her more traditional pop songs. Reykjavíkurdætur are gonna try to top themselves this year with a show even crazier than last year and you should definitely go see Cyber, they’re so theatrical and cool.

Where​ ​should​ ​we​ ​go​ ​during​ ​the​ ​day​ ​to​ ​nurse​ ​our​ ​Airwaves​ ​hangover?
To the swimming pool! It’s a good way to be outside and get some fresh air even though the weather is shit.

Catch Special K on Friday at Húrra (20:00) and Saturday at Hressingarskálinn (22:30). Follow her on YouTube.

Une Misère

This hardcore-metal hybrid came out like a wrecking ball in a tight-knit scene that had seen many of the seminal bands dissolving in the last year. They won Wacken Metal Battle with their tight yet explosive sound that's turned heads wherever they've performed. Guitarist Finnbogi Örn answers on their behalf.

Where in Iceland are you from?
I’m a bastard of the Reykjavík landscape, I’ve lived everywhere from Mosó to Hafnarfjörður. It’s safe to say that I despise most of it. I’m currently living in Kópavogur. Where I’m working from home as a freelance designer.

When did you start making music?
I was in bands from like the fourth grade, but didn’t actually write anything proper until 7-8th grade. I was in a punk band called Tjara. We had one song.

Describe your sound
My sound is everything I take in from the world around me. In Une Misère it is the bleakness found in Icelandic culture, being so isolated and whatnot.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
Une Misère is deconstructing the genre of metal and reverse engineering it for a live experience you’ll never, ever forget. Fuck a gimmick, this our reality.

When you see us we intend to break your walls of grandeur down, you are not an identity, and you’re here to witness our show. You are among rats. You are a cog in the machine.

Who else should we check out?
Shame, Pinegrove, Aldous Harding, We Made God. Check out how bleak this city is. When the noise turns off and it’s back to your everlasting melancholy.”

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
Go to any place that has a greasy vegan burger, either Prikið or Bike Cave. After that, go to Bónus, get some veggies that will hydrate you to the max. Try an Icelandic cucumber. Drink some juice, and most importantly, go fuck yourself.

Catch Une Misère on Thursday at Gamla Bíó (20:30) and Saturday at Gaukurinn (01:30). Follow them on Facebook, Spotify and Youtube.

Fox Train Safari

Formed nine years ago, Fox Train Safari have taken their sweet time getting to Airwaves’s big stage, courting fans in the process. Through the years the members have changed and the style has evolved, but at the heart of it all is a soulful band that excels on the live stage.

Where in Iceland are you from?
We are all from the Reykjavík area except our polar bear wranglers Jói and Tumi who are from the northern part of the Island.

When did you start making music?
We have all been in music since we were yay high (indicates quite tiny with hands). If you mean together some of us have been playing together for more than a decade.

Describe your sound
Syrupy with a bit of salt and a lot of soul.... Yes a lot of soul.

Why should we come see you at Airwaves?
Because we're fun that's why!

Who else should we check out?
There are so many brilliant artists performing this year both Icelandic and from abroad some of the Icelandic ones to see and hear should be Dillalude, Futuregrapher, Asgeir, Moses Hightower, Paunkholm, Young Karin and Joey Christ.

Where should we go during the day to nurse our Airwaves hangover?
Go have a hot dog (or a few) at Bæjarins Beztu and go soak in a pool and sauna until good to go again. It may be worth the trip to go to Mosfellsbær or Alftanes for the pool experience

Catch Fox Train Safari on Wednesday at Gaukurinn (22:30), and on Thursday at Sólon Bistró (19:30). Follow them on Facebook, Spotify, and YouTube.

Iceland Airwaves run from tomorrow until Sunday
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