Strutting onstage in a ghostly, glamorous mask to a soundtrack of intense but ethereal beats, Mighty Bear is the undisputed dark queen of the Reykjavík electronica scene. Having just dropped his first EP ‘Einn’ only weeks ago, we sat down with the man behind the mask, Magnús Bjarni Gröndal, to see what made him the musician he is.
As a kid, I was glued to the TV, watching MTV and VH1 music videos for hours and hours. I was so inspired by how music and visuals could coexist and even elevate the music itself. When I was eight or nine, they started an Icelandic music channel called Popp Tíví, and that was the holy grail. “Frozen” by Madonna was one I really loved. It was so dark with, crows flying around, and I thought it was so cool at the time.
I was a weird kid. If I wasn’t watching music videos, I was watching ‘80s movies and ‘Labyrinth’ was always on repeat. I knew all the lyrics, even the dances. I always watched to be the girl who was babysitting and then transported into the labyrinth. I would watch her and be like, that’s me! I also love cheesy ‘80s movies. There’s a guilty movie I love called ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun.’ I know it all by heart, all the dances, all that shit.
Icelandic Hardcore/Metal Scene 2000s
This was such an inspiring community. People would show up to every show, it didn’t matter who was playing—they were passionate about everything. They would talk about politics between songs. It didn’t matter if you weren’t getting paid, or if you were playing at 5 PM in some café, they would scream their heart out and form mosh pits. It was such a cool time in the Icelandic music scene.
I remember listening to ‘OK Computer’ when I was maybe 12. I honestly say that my life has never been the same. It was a complete awakening for me. It spoke to me on so many levels. Every album after that, how they have progressed, it feels like it has mirrored me. We have evolved in parallel. I finally saw them two years ago at Solstice. I cried. Then like three minutes after that, I yelled at a girl in front of me who was filming the whole thing. I was like, you’re never going to watch it! Put that down.
I love going into thrift stores and just browsing. I’ll find some weird piece of clothing that then inspires me to do something weird. The whole concept of secondhand inspires me and creating a look often inspires a song. When I don’t have any ideas, I go to thrift stores.
I have been blessed with my chosen family. It’s a group of super talented people and I don’t think there is a single one who doesn’t do something creative. I get so much inspiration from my friends.