“You know how Bibbi got a lump on the back of his head?,” Einar Örn asks me, referring to the other half of his music project, Ghostigital, who’s not present to defend himself.
“I have no idea,” I say.
“He got it because he likes to drink out of the toilet,” Einar tells me, “but the seat keeps slamming down on him.”
Bibbi calls to say he’s running late and Einar tells him that the interview’s already over. “Those who show up late don’t get to talk,” he chides. Of course, the interview hadn’t even started and when Bibbi does show up, out of breath, Einar lets him in on the joke.
The two do seem to tease each other mercilessly, Einar doing most of the teasing. “We work really well together,” explains Einar, “We don’t suffer from typical rock and roll, artistic, sensitive feelings, because neither one of us are sensitive or artistically inclined. We spend a lot of time just taking the piss out of each other.”
Ghostigital was started after Einar Örn, formerly the other frontman for the Sugarcubes, composed the soundtrack to the movie 101 Reykjavík, along with Blur´s Damon Albarn. He sent out copies of the soundtrack to different Icelandic musicians to get their interpretation. It just so happened that Bibbi – also known as Curver – responded with an interpretation that, in Einar’s words, “was torn out of my heart.” They started working on music together and Ghostigital was created.
I asked about the video to their song Lumberjack which features, among other things, a man washing the dishes while clad in a leather S&M get up.
“That was pretty old footage,” says Einar, “Not as old as Birth of a Nation, but at least ten years old. It’s an actual lumberjack in his leather doing his chores. Watching someone wash the dishes is always disturbing, whether they’re naked, fully clothed, or clad in leather.”
Bibbi explained the creative process behind Ghostigital:
“I wanted to do something with Einar’s persona, so I’d record his lyrics and cut them up and rearrange them at random. The music is done a lot in the same way. We’ll start with the music done one way, put it through the grinder, cutting it up over and over and end up with what appears on the album.
“Many of the lyrics are recorded on dictophone,” he adds. “The song Thirsty Fly, for example, was recorded in Einar’s kitchen. I really liked the vocals on that one; an angry dad looking for a towel, so I used them.”
But the process doesn’t end there. The songs played live not only often sound radically different from the way they sound in recorded format, they’re never performed live the same way twice. Bibbi says that this is because live, the music once again “goes through the grinder,” utilising chaos with, naturally, unpredictable results.
“We’ve had people complain after our live shows,” says Einar, “because they’ll see three different guitarists on stage and won’t hear any guitar at all. That’s just because the mixer decided to leave them out that time.”
Ghostigital is music conceived and composed in chaos and the result is understandably varied. Sometimes loud and brash, sometimes mellow, never dull.
“I guess that wraps it up for me,” I say at the interview’s end, getting ready to leave.
“What, you don´t want to ask for any ‘final words’?,” asks Einar.
“OK, any final words?”