Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit


11 February 2014, 14:00 | Written by Joe Goggins

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before; Vök are a dreamy electronica outfit from Iceland.

There’s plenty of past form there, of course, but this particular pair – comprising singer Margrét Rán Magnúsdóttir and Andri Már Enoksson on beat-making duty – manage to combine a palpable sense of nostalgia with a clear effort to think forwards, in impressively smooth fashion.

Their debut EP, Tension, channels chirpy, Chairlift-esque pop on “Before”, and relies heavily on a combination of guitar lines that recall The xx’s self-titled LP and thumping electronics that wouldn’t have been out of place on Poliça’s Shulamith. They spoke to Best Fit ahead of becoming the latest in a long line of new Scandinavian talent to make their first UK appearance at Ja Ja Ja, and talked influences, their unlikely formation and why Iceland provides such a hospitable environment for musicians.

How did you come to form Vök? Had you been making music beforehand?

We started composing some beats separately, and all the while were picking up new methods and sharing them with each other. A few months later, we wrote our very first song together, “Before”. It wasn’t until after that, via a crazy idea from Margrét, that Vök was formed to take part in a Battle of the Bands competition.

That was our first concert, and we had no idea about how we were even going to perform! We called in some help from a couple of genius sound engineers, and we managed to play. Since then, we haven’t really been able to get enough.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard you before?

“Screw you! Listen to this and have a nice day!”

…just kidding. We’d probably call it dreamy, experimental electronica.

What are some of your shared, and individual, influences?

There’s a lot, and most of them don’t sound anything like us, actually. We’re both into Yelle, Portishead, The xx and Boombox, although there’s plenty more besides.

Could you tell us a little about the area of Iceland you’re from, and how you feel it’s influenced your music?

We’re from a small town on the outskirts of the capital called Hafnarfjörður, but you can still experience a lot of the different aspects of city life there. We spend a good deal of time in Reykjavík anyway, although our hometown is a lot more relaxed, so we feel we get the best of both worlds; that’s something that’s reflected in our songs.

Why do you think Iceland tends to turn out so many artists with a dreamy, experimental sound like yours?

Icelanders tend to share a sense of pragmatism; that, and generally they have nothing better to do! Growing up in such a small community, you tend to want to differentiate yourself from others. You want everybody to think of you as special.

How have the live shows been so far? Is it difficult to make this kind of music work live?

For the most part, they’ve been very enjoyable, apart from a couple that were pretty poorly planned. Like most things, there’s been ups and downs, and in our case, the learning curve has definitely been a very steep one. It’s not over yet, obviously; it’s never really over, and as much as there’s a lot of work each band puts in before you see them perform, there really is a lot more work behind each song than you expect with electronic bands.

So yes and no. Electronica is growing worldwide all the time, so people are getting more used to having to deal with big rigs of electronics all the time.

Do you think Scandinavian artists can find it difficult to break into the UK and US markets? If so, why?

Music is a universal language, as far as we’re concerned, so if you like the melody, the beat or just the general vibe of a band or song, it shouldn’t be harder to get into them because of their geography.

What made you decide to write lyrics in English?

There really wasn’t a specific reason behind it, other than that we wrote in Icelandic and English to begin with and other people, as much as ourselves, just tended to bond better with our English lyrics.

You’re signed to Record Records; how influential a label are they in Iceland?

They’re the best, without a doubt. So many of our favorite bands are on this label, and Halli Levy, the owner, is really invested in the music he releases. We love working with him.

You’re playing Ja Ja Ja in London very soon – who would you say is your favourite Scandinavian artist?

The first ones to come to mind are Yelle and The Knife, but saying one band is your favourite is just impossible.

Is this going to be your first UK show, or have you played before?

This is our very first time in the UK. We’re hoping you Brits prove them horror stories wrong!

Are there any new Icelandic bands you can recommend? (other than yourselves!)

Absolutely! Highlands, and Halleluwah!

Vök play Ja Ja Ja at The Lexington on 13 February.

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