Hellvar was formed in Berlin by me, Heiða, and multi-instrumentalist Elvar, but we were living in Berlin for a year from 2004-2005 to study Philosophy at a local University. We had both been in various bands together and apart for years before, but we had decided to put musical career on hold to focus on the studies, and then it turned out we just couldn't keep away from it. First formation was a drum-machine, and then Heiða and Elvar taking turns playing bass and electric guitar with Heiða singing. Half of the first album was recorded in our living-room in Berlin. This explains the How and the When, and I even added a Why? Why music? Oh, because you can't not do it, even when your mind is set on other things.
Had you been involved in music before Hellvar ?
My first engagement was learning to play guitar at home from the age 13 and onward. I came home from school and quickly did my homework so I could spend the rest of the afternoon and evening playing. I only started writing my own songs at the age of 16, when I got my own guitar from my parents. Before that it was learning Bowie-songs, Beatles-songs, Smiths, Cure, U2..... When I came across chords to any song I knew I tried playing it. Led Zeppelin also took up a big part of a year for me. Home from school, homework, and Baby I'm gonna leave you for 5 hours was a routine I stuck to religiously. Hahaha. First band I was in was also at 16, and I was in a few garage-bands from 16 to 23. One of the bands was in Marseille, France, when I lived there for a year. I also started making lyrics in English when I lived in France and was performing my troubadour-stuff there. I wanted people to understand my lyrics, but didn't know enough french at the time to compose in french. No-one understands Icelandic so that was futile. Some professional guys, heros in my opinion at the time, heard me sing and play in a gig in Reykjavík in 1994 and called me and offered me a singing-job in a band they had just formed called Unun. (means Pleasure in Icelandic). I was in Unun until 2000, played around Europe, and then I did my first solo-album and have been writing and releasing my music ever since. At the moment I am working on a solo-album of mine, probably gonna be some low-fi, electro/acoustic experimental album. Very exciting. Hellvar is working on new material too, and then I am in this electro-duet called Ruddinn, with a guy called Bertel. We have done one album together under the name and we just finished recording a new one, out late this summer.
To someone who has never heard of you, how would you describe your music and who are your main influences ?
Hellvar is very much like mixing water with olive-oil. You can shake it all you want and it still won't blend, but if you add some colouring to the mix it will make great patterns. One is often influenced by the music one was listening to in one's teenage years, I mean, those are the roots and then life experience and newer influences and the weather and politics and whatever comes on top of that, like filters and layers. Elvar and I don't really share roots but the layers and the filters and where we stand on things are very similar. Whereas he comes from metal and punk I come from seventies and indie/alternative rock and then a bit later goth. We are not the teenagers we were once and I have even developed taste for some metal and he likes some of the mid-seventies soft shit I have been pushing on him at the house. The thing is we are both music-lovers and we have always been. We are not through with discovering stuff and try to broaden our musical horizon all the time. Hellvar incorporates our roots as well as our love of rock and we are not afraid to take unexpected detours into whatever genres of music we feel necessary in the songs. If you need me to put labels on the music I would go with alternative, goth, shoe-gaze, punk-rock.
What inspires your lyrics ?
Weather, politics, philosophy, injustice, films, books, artists, people, darkness, melancholia, depression, love, confusion, adventures, funny animal videos on the internet....How long can this interview be? I can go on for a while... restaurants, weirdness, conversations, parties, art-galleries, night-time, tea-drinking, clowns. Oh you want me to stop? Ok, I'll stop.
How is the music scene in Iceland ?
It's brimming with life. There is nothing to do in Iceland in the wintertime but watch TV or make art. The people who are TV-watchers have no time to do art. Artists have no time to watch TV. It's basically too cold and shitty out to go and do anything. I do see a lot of brave tourists who come in the wintertime and go hiking and mountain-climbing or whatever. But for them this is an adventure, and they can leave Iceland after their adventure is finished. It is different when you can't leave. I started doing music because of my general lack of enthusiasm with TV and sports and I think those are the reasons that kept me going. That, and the I can't not do music. The economical crisis has also dragged people out of their self-made cages and made them realize that life is only what you make of it, and so we are seeing and hearing a lot of people who always wanted to make music or paint or write books coming out in the open with that now. I love that. Creativity is not something you can buy. Imagination beats all other forms of entertainment I have come across.
You DJ on Icelandic Radio, yes .....
Yes, indeed. I have a radio-show on Sunday-nights. I play Icelandic music only, underground and upcoming artists mixed with more established ones. I love finding stuff and introducing it to radio-listeners. I have always had this enthusiasm about bands I like when I hear them for the first time. I really believe the right song can sometime save a day, or a night. I take great pleasure in making my radio-program, as it is all about introducing people to stuff that deserves more attention.
What interests do you have outside of music ?
Travelling, people, arts, love, books, adventures, good food. I would gladly combine all of those: Travelling the world with artistic people I love, going on adventures, eating good food and coming home to make art and write books about it.
You recently did a short tour of England ; how did that go ?
I'm happy Hellvar finally got a chance to play in England. I think we are very influenced by English artists, a few of my favourite being Cocteau Twins, The Cure, P.J.Harvey and David Bowie, and a few of Elvar's being Mike Oldfield, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, King Crimson and Paradise Lost. Hellvar has played in Germany many times, and in the U.S. and we even managed a trip to Beijing a few years back. We loved to get the reaction from the U.K. audience, as all nations respond differently to music. We were very pleasantly surprised that England took us so well. We want to come again in the autumn, and try out new material we have been stacking up.
Source : Goth
Source : Goth