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

Fufanu grow in confidence, working on new album

16 June 2016, 10:00 | Written by Gabríel Benjamin

When the first electronic beat starts, the throng of a hundred people turns front and centre to the sextet on stage. The guitars roll in, discordant and fast, followed by drums and bass. And then the hypnotic vocals start. Soon, the normally chatty crowd of KEX Hostel pipes down as Fufanu power through classics from Few More Days To Go such as “Now,” “Circus Life,” “Plastic People,” and “Ballerina In The Rain.”

The album version of these songs has a subdued and distant quality, almost no wave-y, but performed live they are in your face and full of panache. Cymbals clatter loudly as the synth keys and guitars form a wall of sound, with the bass and vocals almost melding together. They marry the best of gothic shoegaze and psychedelic post-punk.

An Austrian couple I had earlier seen retreat from exhaustion after the warm-up band’s performance return when Fufanu start with second wind and rush to the front, headbanging furiously. Once Fufanu add two new songs to the mix, everyone seems to collectively lose their shit. The new installments have a very aggressive tone, are faster paced, and feel like a far cry from FMDTG’s more mellow tunes.

With Fufanu having just been announced to warm up for Radiohead at Secret Solstice, which kicks off today, their rise to fame may seem meteoric from outside—they just released their debut album this winter—but has been eight years in the making for Guðlaugur and Kaktus Einarsson (no relation).

They ran into each other in 2008 at an HTML course for freshmen in Borgarholtsskóli high school, and quickly struck up a friendship. Together they formed techno outfit Captain Fufanu, which then transformed into Fufanu in 2013 as they added live instruments and ditched their rank.

Meeting with the duo at their downtown Reykjavík studio, they say this development is still in process as they grow more confident. “There’s a great difference between our first show and what it’s like right now,” Kaktus says. “In the past we had been playing club and electronic music behind our computer screens and gear, but when we started playing instruments we couldn’t hide behind anything.”

Guðlaugur says a lot of their older songs have evolved since they recorded them “because we don’t want to play them the same way forever. They’ve become more aggressive because we’ve become tighter as performers.”

The two confirm that the new songs are indeed from an upcoming album that they’ll finish recording this month. Despite having signed on to One Little Indian and playing numerous high profile shows, the two say they can’t really afford getting stressed about the expectations they’ve created. “We’re competing more with ourselves than what other people hope for,” Guðlaugur says confidently. “We’re not going to go and make a post-punk album because everyone thinks we’re a post-punk band. I think one of the reasons we’ve evolved so much is because we’re not stuck in any genre.” Kaktus adds that the new album “will be amazing.”

The two don’t go into many details about their upcoming Secret Solstice show. They assure me that they won’t try pulling any crazy stunts, sticking to the tested and true formula of their last few shows. But they did mention they’d play more new songs. “It’ll be tight as fuck,” Guðlaugur promises, and I believe him.

Fufanu play Secret Solstice on 17 June at 8pm.
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