Okay, so his name is actually Gunnar Guðbjörnsson. While he’s not officially knighted, his studio space might just become the next Camelot for the promotion of Icelandic music. Following a long love affair with the national Hardcore and Heavy Metal music scenes, the twenty-something advertiser decided that it was time to use his video making talents to promote underground Icelandic rock. After years of scheming, the window of opportunity was finally opened for Guðbjörnsson when Sirkus Reykjavík, the television show for the cultural magazine by the same name, asked him to shoot and edit one of their episodes on local music.
For each episode of ‘Sleepless in Reykjavík,’ Sir Gussi chooses either an Icelandic Hardcore/Heavy Metal band or a band that will be performing in Iceland. He then conducts a quick interview with them and often places and edits it over with clips of the band’s old live shows or promotional materials. Bored by the typical interview format, Sir Gussi opts for a host-less show, allowing the musicians themselves to take the reigns and guide their own episode: “I like to let the bands tell people what they want to tell them.” The explanatory section of the episode is then followed by the payoff of either a music video or a live performance. And the show is not without its humour: The Cannibal Corpse episode is followed by their caricatured cameo in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
The ‘Sleepless in Reykjavík’ series currently consists of nine 10-minute episodes and four ‘extras.’ The episodes tend to be short, as Sir Gussi explains, because the series is just a ‘draft’ for a longer show at this stage. Expansion seems to be the modus operandi for Sir Gussi, and if he is able to find the right sponsors he will not only do episodes on other styles of Icelandic music, but (as per the request of a widespread fan base) he will do them in English! Though the immediate future of “Sleepless in Reykjavík” seems to be confined to the bandwidths of Internet broadcasting websites, Sir Gussi explains that a forthcoming episode will feature an interview with Cannibal Corpse, who play NASA on July 7.
The response to ‘Sleepless in Reykjavík’ has been extremely positive, especially among those involved with the music scene itself. Though the series began only a month ago, most of the episodes on Youtube have hundreds (if not thousands) of views, and the Cannibal Corpse episode (episode 9) is featured in the ‘Suggested’ section on the Icelandic internet broadcasting website Kvikmynd.is.
Up until this point, there has been little to no consistent video broadcasting for Icelandic hardcore and metal bands. The closest thing to ‘Sleepless in Reykjavík’ is a show called ‘Saturday Night with Jon Olafsson,’ in which Olafsson conducts formal interviews with big-name Icelandic acts. Interestingly enough, Sir Gussi is currently the only known Icelandic filmmaker documenting the Icelandic underground music scene.
To see the videos, visit www.youtube.com/user/SIRGussi or search kvikmynd.is for ‘Sleepless in Reykjavík.’