There are all these nice krútt bands around, but evil also lurks in Reykjavík’s cutesy music scene. There are dark sinister bands out there, bands that play dark and sinister music. One of Grapevine’s favourite purveyors of evil are definitely DLX ATX, led by the lovely Irish expat Greg Barrett. You should try and see him this weekend, for sure.
Here is what Greg has to say for himself:
Who are you?
I represent a band called Deluxe Attacks, which goes under the abbreviation: DLX ATX
What can we expect from your Airwaves appearance, and what can we expect of you in general?
Well last year it was just bass vox and drums. We’ve undergone some line-up changes and now it’s going to be three lads and two lassies: Bass, vox, viol, glockspiel, violin, vox, computer and no drums. And lots of voices. It’s like a really good nightmare. In general you can expect a surprise! This is a little known characteristic of the surprising.
What are some of the acts you want to see at this festival, and why?
Quadruplos cos one of them says he has something for me… and I want to know what he means… and they play out of their socks live. Gone Postal, cos you need a bit of death in the diet. Inferno 5 have been covering some really interesting territory of late and their performances are totally unique every time. The Ghostigital gig at Tjarnabíó with AMFJ will be very special…. Caterpillarmen for some good sugar rush… Markús & the Diversions is always worthwhile he makes you feel like you’ve been on a good camping trip…. as for the outlanders… Selvhenter from Denmark are smashing. I saw them in Faktorý on Tuesday night and I hear that they play 12 Tónar on Saturday. I’d like to see Robyn as well.
Are there any acts missing from the bill that you’d like to see on there?
Manslaughter are one of my favourite Icelandic bands and they aren’t there…. there could have been more variety especially in the (hardly any) metal bands selection. I reckon Carpe Noctem could have fit in there really well. Kid Twist? Kolrassa Krókríðandi? It would be good to have some of the bands from scenes of yore. I don’t think it should be for show casing only new young bands. If some of the local old-timers are still making relevant stuff.
Wow. There are, like, one million ‘international’ acts on this year’s schedule. Have you heard of any of them? Are you excited to see any of them? Do you believe this changes anything for the festival in general, and its spirit?
I know what you mean. In general the whole business of showcasing bands as an important business export or import is totally misleading. Often a new successful sound will come from the most unlikely of places, but the labels always look in the most likely places and promote boring pastiche… in recent years we’ve had a lot of boring bands steal the limelight, whatever that is… it all seems kind of shallow now, soooo 2007…all that shiny disco glam racket… now i want to have more substantial stuff to wig out to from wherever it may come. Is the answer to that question. It’s not where yr from, its where yr at.
Looking back, do you have a favourite edition of Iceland Airwaves? And if so, why?
2007 was my favourite. !!! were smashing. Why? I think it was because Nick the singer was supposed to have cancelled or something and then showed up at the last minute and exploded all over NASA like a baboon. Provocative belligerent and hilarious. Goading them into losing their cool. A lot of soul too. I met him in Sirkus later and he talked about his mum for a bit. Lovely bloke.
A lot of our readers are first time Airwaves-visitors. Do you have any tips for them? What to see, what to do, what to avoid, etc? Where to buy records? Or a good place to grab a bite or get away from it all for a while?
Busk! I think they should all spend some time busking and giving money to the old people that are going through the bins. Try traversing between Njálsgata and Grettisgata through people’s gardens, that’s always fun. They’ll just think you are a tourist. Likewise with 10/11 you can pretty much steal whatever you like and just walk out with it and they’ll just smile and shrug it off cause you’re with the Airwaves and all… and to also spend some time staring in wonder at 5 AM as the locals generally piss on the town and themselves and leave the mess for others to clean up in those joyless bumper cars that vacuum the streets in the wee hours, hissing at you.
Given that most Airwaves-visitors won’t have a lot of time in their schedule to see the Icelandic countryside, are there any nature-havens close by that you’d recommend?
I’d say it would be pretty interesting to get into the old underground toilets at Bankastræti hang out there for a bit, maybe busk, eat a hotdog there.
Has a lot changed in the Icelandic music scene since Airwaves 2009? How about Airwaves 2002?
Yes. Maybe it’s less about the happy sing along now. I feel the character of the music is becoming more substantial and more risky. Before, everyone was concerned with showcasing bands with a perfect little indie/electro package for export: They sound kind of like these bands, everyone’s comfortable with that, so let’s back them and ignore everything else. Yay Ísland!
I think gradually people are coming out to see performances that are less predictable. In the local scene, for one reason or another, folks haven’t been bothered to go out to check out new local bands. Small gigs. Even for free. It’s like at Airwaves once a year hundreds of Icelandic kids pretend they go to shows all the time. But actually concerts are generally disinterested affairs. The underground scene here has been very weak. Almost non-existent.
What you get instead are mildly successful bands well rounded but disarmed, kind of. Like trying to be a successful act instead of needing to make good music. Until recently, kind of. You can see younger more unpredictable people coming up through the ranks and challenging a pretty boring status quo, (in fact if Status Quo were an Icelandic band in 2008, I’d certainly count them among the better ones).
There’s also an older veteran generation making a stonking resurgence on the top, I’m thinking of the whole Inferno 5 era generation there specifically. Both generations heavily cross collaborating among their peers and pushing the mediocrity out of the throne from either side. It’s an interesting battle taking place on many fronts.
Who are your favourite Icelandic acts these days?
Oh, I think already answered that with reference to who… Eh OK. In no particular order then… AMFJ, Quadruplos, Manslaughter, Krakkbot, Krakkkslaughter, Celestine, Severed Crotch, Markús, Silla, Caterpillarmen, Gone Postal, Carpe Noctem, Inferno 5, Stilluppsteypa, Evil Madness, Gjöll, Bastard, Plastic Gods, Fist Fokkers, Singapore Sling, Blanket of Death, Dead Skeletons, Harry Knuckles, Missy Elliot, Orphic Oxtra, Muck, Moy, Logn,Tamarin Gunslinger, Heavens No, Retron, Dys, Jerome Taylor, Lazyblood, Reykjavík!, Dj Hero’s trial, PLX, Kid Twist, KidRama, Ruxpin, Auxpan, Æla, Monuments, Momentum… I better stop there… They all have their moments, it depends on the situation I suppose.
A lot of international journalists like to ask: “How has kreppa affected the Icelandic music scene.” Do you think the question is valid? Do you have a preferred way of answering it?
The question is not valid. We are now making are instruments out of Aluminum. We are now more economical with our notes. In fact because of the crisis, like many companies, we have recently had to out-source a lot of our material from India, which is really difficult because they have a different musical scale so a lot of this work has been very confusing, for both parties.
Yeah. Listen, shut the fuck up at the quiet bits. I hate boring second hand conversation at concerts. It’s a fucking pollution. “SO WHERE ARE YOU FROM !!!!!!!” times a hundred. Write it down, on a computer, learn to mime. Whatever… cheers.