As soon as Grapevine heard rumours about a forthcoming full-length release from the dance moguls in FM Belfast they sent a reporter to find out whether the stories were factual. It wasn’t exactly easy reaching the rising stars but after several attempts of getting them all together it finally happened. Grapevine: Shouldn’t we begin by you telling me what it’s all about? Who are you?
[Their faces turn weird. They soon burst out laughing, explaining that this is way too open-ended a question. Lóa eventually reveals that they’d really prefer yes and no questions if possible. When I’m getting ready to bombard a dull yes and no list, one of the band’s two Árni’s interrupts the muggy silence.]
Árni “+1” Hlöðversson: Well, we are primarily a band, but we are also friends. And uh, yeah, we are kind of fun.
[I feel forced to try and rouse some enthusiasm, and tell them I’d heard they were “wild and crazy” interview subjects. I ask if that was a misunderstanding.]
Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir: No, no, no! We just finished eating you know, nobody’s fun just after a heavy meal. And my fingers are still kind of greasy, we had chicken wings.
+1: Yeah, all the blood goes to your stomach while you eat. That can’t be good for your humour. We are always kind of dull when we’re full. We only crave sleep, not some journalist nitpicking at us.
Árni Vilhjálmsson: It’s better to interview us when we are extremely desperate.
Grapevine: So, when are you desperate, when should I visit upon you again?
ÁV: Well, we’re always desperate when we’re completely broke, you know.
Grapevine: And you are loaded with money right now?
Lóa: Well Árni, you have to speak for yourself!
+1: Árni has some money, we don’t! So maybe this is a good time after all. Who would’ve thought?
Grapevine: Árni, can you explain your alleged wealth?
The other Árni: Uhm, the bulk of my funds actually have a negative status but I have some petty cash, to please my whims.
Grapevine: When did you start joining forces on stage?
Lóa: The three of us started out in Airwaves 2005.
+1: Yeah, then everything started happening. But the three sitting at this table are the real FM Belfast. Kinda the essence of the band. But our posse gets pretty vast at times. When everyone has time.
Lóa: There have been times where there are eight of us on stage.
+1: Yeah, we get really crazy sometimes. But to tell you the truth, it doesn’t happen very often.
Lóa: Like at Airwaves, there were eight persons that simply jumped the stage.
+1: Without notice!
Grapevine: And you just let everybody take part in the romping?
+1: yeeeaah… If they’ve got rhythm, I don’t mind if they shake something or fool around.
Lóa: Someone like the drunken chick in New York is not welcome
ÁV: No, she was not welcome!
+1: We don’t exactly put up an “OPEN” sign next to the stage; this is not an open mic. But our friends are welcome at any time.
Lóa: Except that dude, you know, and the drunken chick!
+1: Yeah, I think we shouldn’t be talking about them. But OK, let’s rephrase this: All of our friends are welcome, except the shaky dude and the drunken chick.
Grapevine: What have you been up to lately?
+1: Well, we’ve been playing a lot. We performed at Naked Ape’s anniversary the other day. It was kind of cool, out in the street. And we even got to amuse a few drunks. They really loved our music; they danced around like there was no tomorrow.
Lóa: They didn’t want to join us at the stage though.
ÁV: Yeah, that was kind of odd.
+1: They knew their place in life. We also played at the Lunga festival in Seyðisfjörður. That was fun.
ÁV: On several occasions in NYC. Just all around really.
[Árni +1 and Lóa seemed to be the dominant members of the trio; the other Árni got few opportunities to interrupt their eagerness. However, it should be noted that they are an official item.]
Grapevine: So Árni +1 and Lóa, are you the king and queen of FM Belfast?
+1: No not at all, we are but humble peasants under the great other Árni.
ÁV: Yeah, you could say I am the Count of FM Belfast.
+1: Well. We’re mostly democratic.
Lóa: Of course we started out just the two of us, but nothing happened until the other Árni joined us.
Grapevine: Has it never caused any complications that the band has two bearers of the name Árni?
+1: Well it will probably cause some confusion in this interview later on, you know, when you’re typing it up.
ÁV: We really hate when people mix us up, so you should listen closely to our inflexion, mister.
[It was at this time point that Árni Vilhjálmsson began showing his skills as a professional entertainer. After a few minutes of enigmatic, educated jokes, with the appropriate jollification of the rest, we managed to continue.]
Grapevine: Tell me about your forthcoming full-length.
+1: It was partly recorded in NYC, and partly here and I just finished mixing it, so things are on the move. We recorded, mixed, and mastered it ourselves. And we’re also creating the artwork. Pretty independent, huh?
Lóa: That’s something
+1: We hope to have it in stores by the end of August. The next few weeks will go into sorting out all the dates. The record itself is smashing, I would have liked it if anyone else had made it.
Lóa: We were listening to it in the car the other day, it was really demented!
+1: I like to fall asleep listening to it…
Grapevine: Unfortunately, we have to wrap this up. Would you like some sort of epic ending to your interview?
ÁV: Could we be the band that lived?
Lóa: It’s not really appropriate to make fun of that. But what about the band that survived a year’s separation?