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Archive for the ‘ARTISTA: Hjaltalin’ Category

Il nuovo video della pluripremiata band islandese Hjaltalin, Crack In A Stone, è uscito qualche giorno fa e noi ve lo mostriamo

La cosa più fica è però che abbiamo avuto modo di intervistarli (in lingua inglese, così fate pratica…) e quindi, ecco il risultato.

Hi, thank you for this interview. Let’s start with a bold question: is there a strong connection between the Icelandic climate and the music that you and other bands from there make?
It is probably easier to link our music to our country, the landscape and the climate. We just make music, and we happen to live in Iceland and this is where we grew up. It must have inspired us in a way but we don’t think about that much and it doesn’t affect our work

Is Reykjavik a great place where to explore your creative instinct or do you feel like you need to export your music everywhere bringing other influences to it?
Reykjavik is a wonderful city for artists and creatively thinking people. The size of the city makes it easy for people to connect with others, everything and everybody is easily accessible. There are lots of interesting things happening in music and in arts in general. But on the other hand we live in this little remote island, and going abroad, seeing different places and people, exploring different kinds of music and influences is very important for us. Getting feedback from others, reaching new audience and ears is very healthy and important and that is of course our goal.

Your new record, Enter 4, is coming out these days. What can you tell us about the conception and the recording of this album?
We worked on that album for quite a long time. After a few working sessions in various places outside of the city we felt like there was enough material for us to work with. We took two weeks in October, looked ourselves in a studio, worked long days and nights finishing those nine songs on Enter 4. We somehow managed to finish the album without hardly anyone knowing we were working on new material. So the album came as a surprise to both the public and the press. This intense work, and the fact that we wanted to keep it to ourselves – to keep it a secret – made the making of Enter 4 quite interesting. The atmosphere was tense and mad, but at the same time full of warmth and excitement. What happened in the studio is just between us and those working with us. There was some inexplicable magic in the air.

Yoonha Park directed your last music video, Crack in a Stone. How was this video conceived and how did you get to know this great director?
Yoonha is Rebekka’s boyfriend. Rebekka is our bassoonist. It is a simple as that. An easy task. Yoonha came up with this brilliant but simple idea – and the result is a brilliant but simple video.

You have played live with some orchestras and ensembles too. After this experience, do you think that those performances could belittle your common shows or was it enhancing for your band?
It is just totally different in all respects. Such a fun doing it, but the last year or so, we’ve been focusing on the 7-piece act, which is really the core and heart of Hjaltalin.  I think we could do some more orchestral shows, because that brings a wonderful set of possibilities, but in no way does it belittle the normal Hjaltalin set. The normal set has a kind of intimate energy that is impossible to replicate in a larger setting.

In an interview with The Quietus, when they asked you if the new album was “electronic music”, you answered that it wasn’t. Any suggestion of how should we call it instead? The “clinking” sounds you cited have quite a “glitch” effect in some songs. Do you identify with this definition in some way?
Well, I guess you need to call these things something, but while we are making them, we are not thinking about that at all. With Enter 4, we just wanted to make a record which combines our influences to a whole. On the other hand, it is a normal tendency to categorize and define things. I guess it is a pop/rock album with electronic influences (trip hop for example), but that doesn’t say anything, does it?

In 2011, you’ve been in Italy for a few dates. How was the audience? Would you like to return here soon? (Some spoilers are suggested!)
The Italian audience was great. We felt very much at home in Italy. We played a very memorable gig in Milan, a concert we often refer to when discussing our best gigs. We would love to come back soon, how could we not? We bring ourselves and our music, you supply good people, good vibes and some of your excellent food and wines. OK?

You recorded a cover version of Beyonce’s song, “Halo”. Why did you choose this song? How was your cover received from fans and critics?
We were asked to do a live performance in the national radio station, Ras 2. They asked for three songs, two of our own and a cover. We picked this Beyonce song simply because we had played it a few times for fun in concerts. We wanted to do a traditional well-known hit-song, strip it down and try to make it fit our soundscape. We put it on YouTube few months later. It was very well received and became a hit in Iceland. Honestly, we had not expected that, but it was a nice and pleasant surprise.

A question for reviewers like me: does a band like Hjaltalin find reviews important? Do you read them? Do you ever feel like some critics don’t actually understand your music?
Reviews are important just as the informal reviews you get from your best friend, your mom, that stranger you meet at the bar or that somebody who writes shit about you somewhere on the internet. A good and well written review will though more likely dig into the subject and try, and put it in context with other stuff and music. Negative reviews can be just as good as the positive ones. That is, if you see and feel that the critic has taken some time to really listen and at least tried to understand. You can’t expect everyone to love and admire your work, and you shouldn’t – but getting some feedback must be important. It shows that what you do means something for somebody – whether it pleases them or upsets them.

Thank you for your time. Let’s hope we see you soon in Italy. Bye! 

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