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TLOBF Interview :: Hafdis Huld

TLOBF Interview :: Hafdis Huld

07 July 2009, 23:18
Words by John Brainlove

Icelandic singer Hafdis Huld is quite taken with the plush environs of Farringdon’s Slaughtered Lamb pub. “Yeah, I played here once before, it’s cosy. It’s not every venue you get to lie on a… what do you call them, like a half-sofa?” She screws up her face in anticipation of the phrase, blue eyes twinkling. A chaise lounge? “Yes! Most places don’t have one, but here if you wanna lie on a Shwais Lonnj, you can do so.” She chews the words up as they come out, delighting in the sounds.

Hafdis is an expert at small talk. She could talk the hind legs off an elephant, and makes no bones about it. “Yeah when I was young I didn’t talk at all, and then one day I did, and my mum and dad were so happy, but they didn’t realise that from then on I’d never stop.”

Our conversation is riddled with references to childhood. Hafdis is somewhat infamous for being an enthusiastic exponent of Iceland’s “Krútt” generation – that is, seeing the world through a childlike filter. Literally translated, Krutt means “cute”, although in this sense any naiveté comes with a knowing gleam in the eye. But Hafdis has her doubts. “I don’t know if I fit with Krútt,” she says, “it’s all big jumpers and flat shoes, and I like my heels and glitter and dresses too much. And I have no bearded men in my band, they are all very clean shaven. I mean, we do experiment with sounds and have lots of interesting instruments and toys, but it also very pop. Maybe treading that line is good.”

Hafdis has long been based in England, although she speaks with a noticeably thick Icelandic accent. “I came here to study music, and met my band here, they are English – my boyfriend is English, my management is English, my label is English, so there are a lot of reasons for me to be in England. But I can’t stay away from Iceland for that long, it’s such a big part of who I am, I have friends there and family. When I’ve been touring here or in Europe after a while I get a very strong need to go back home.”

Talking about Iceland in general, Hafdis shares the sadness of most Icelanders about how the banking crisis has affected perception of Icelanders worldwide. “It’s sad that a few businessmen got us into this mess,” she explains. “The Icelandic public have nothing to do with that. It affected us too, a lot of people I know lost their savings.”

But of her individual image, she deflects questions about any duality between the ‘real’ Hafdis and the performer, roping in her boyfriend Alistair as a witness that her unrelentingly breezy personality isn’t crafted for the stage. “I guess there are two version of Hafdis,” he says, smiling, “one is 100% and the other is maybe 98%.”

So does she bounce out of bed every morning in full Hafids Huld chatter mode? “Of course it takes me half an hour to wake up, until I’ve had chocolate and all that, and I am very animated,” she says. “I do believe things are magical and beautiful and I go out of my way to make them like that. A lot of my friends do comment on it being a bit like a cartoon character, but I think if that’s the way I wanna see the world, it’s good.”

Later, she’ll play her light hearted pop ditties with theatrical gusto, taking simple pleasure in the attention and in brightening up the room. It’s throwaway and breezy, and it’s a full-on charm offensive. But Hafdis’ music is a fair representation of her particularly glitter-doused way of looking at life.

Hafdis Huld on MySpace

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