Search The Line of Best Fit
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Hildur RP v1 1

The enduring power of a hardcore punk show

20 November 2018, 15:47

Electro-pop artist Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir - aka Hildur - might now make music that's a million miles away from hardcore, but she writes for Best Fit on the enduring visceral power of a punk rock show.

I was 16 when I went to my first hardcore punk show.

Before that the most raunchy thing I had seen was Foo Fighters. I liked rock but if it was anything heavier than your maintream radio rock I didn’t get it. Why the hell would you listen to something where you couldn’t hear what part of the noise was the voice and what part was the guitar?

I was invited to see a hardcore punk show because a guy I was seeing was playing in one of the bands. The relevant truth is that the only band I remember from that night was a band called Fighting Shit. A girl I knew randomly from school was there because the drummer of the band (now known as the neo-classic composer Ólafur Arnalds) was her nephew. She saw my frightened face and told me this line I’ve always remembered: “Just try to focus on one instrument and listen to that”.

So I tried to listen to just the guitar. And then the guy on stage broke it. I was amazed. I remember seeing that and thinking - is it like this every time? The incredibly raw energy, the passion, the otherworldy bond between the audience in the moshpit and the music. I had no clue why I liked it because I was this nerdy girl that would never had thought I would like anything “cool” as this was.

Everyone I met at the show was incredibly caring and nice and it felt like a community. I felt at home. Fast forward one year. I have shaved my head. I have stopped wearing my glasses. I have tunnels. I’m going to a hardcore punk show once to twice a week. I have so many new friends. They are turning me vegetarian. I am comfortable in a mosh pit. I have learned how to use my hands and elbows if people are bouncing to heavily on me. I’ve learned that you don’t want to spend the whole gig in the pit, you just do it when you feel like it. I’m thinking about which tattoo to get first. I feel like I’m a part of something very special. And it was.

This was a big thing for me. How I went from being this shy girl walking close to the wall and this new real me girl, taking space. Being whoever I wanted to be and feeling good about it. It was not just about the music but the music brought all of those feelings together. I realized the intense emotion that was a part of performing music that was close to your heart on stage. Something I had always dreamt of trying but never had the guts to do.

Some months later was invited to start playing in a band. It was very far away from hardcore punk, it was a indie folk band. Because of me being very active in going to hardcore punk shows I knew a lot of people in the scene and they were so curious to hear my band that they got us to play.

The first show we ever did was called “Andkristnihátíð” or “Anti-Christ festival”. Everyone else playing was a hardcore, punk or metal band. But we fitted right in and everyone loved us. Because they were open for raw expression, no matter which kind it was.

Now I make pop. Some would say very poppy pop, but I never left this raw expression. The music I’ve made has alwasy been as close to my heart and feelings as possible. I think my days in the hardcore scene affect what I do everyday, because that was the point t I learned to be more “me” and to express myself however I wanted. Shaving my head was a form of expression, screaming to some words at a concert was a form of expression and then writing songs for my new band was an extremely important form of expression.

I think a lot of people can’t imagine me in a pit. I haven’t been in many years, but I still love the thrill of it. I met some of my best friends today at a hardcore show. I met my drummer at a hardcore show. Would I have imagined then that 10 years later we, the hardcore kids, would be sharing a stage, playing around the world with my pop songs? Nope, but I love it.

Converge, Modern Life is War, Gavin Portland, I Adapt, Refused, Fucked Up. Those were my favorite bands. I still go back and listen to some of theose songs every now and then and it makes me feel warm inside. It’s just pure emotion.

"Everyday" by Hildur is out now.
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