Summer never really came to Iceland this year. Instead, the weather sort of skipped right from spring to autumn. For Snorri Helgason, it’s been permanent autumn since last October when he and his band (also named Snorri Helgason) started working on their third full-length album ‘Autumn Skies.’ Now on the shelves in the season of its name, the album marks a major shift for Snorri’s creative process. Namely, having his band members, Sigurlaug Gísladóttir, Guðmundur Óskar and Magnús Tryggvason Elíasen, involved in the process before it even began.
What was going on when you wrote this album?
I don’t think I can get away with saying anything else but that this is the cliché break-up album that every singer-songwriter makes. It’s very obvious when you listen to the album, I think.
It is really melancholy. What was it like writing during the break-up state?
It was tough in a way, but it was also easy because I had a lot on my mind. Sometimes when everything is okay, there’s nothing going on in your head. So while it was a really tough thing to go through, it gave me a lot to say.
The other good thing is that my band members are my three best friends. They were around when I started the relationship that the album is about and with me throughout it. Now I get to finish the process with them. The very night the break-up happened, I went to meet two of my band mates to moan and whine. It’s a very personal and difficult thing. I’m very lucky that the people I hang out with are my favourite musicians in the world.
In terms of the sound of the album, it seems a lot bigger.
That was a deliberate decision. There aren’t many instruments playing at once so I wanted everything to have space in the arrangements of the songs. We decided from the beginning that we wanted to try to keep it simple.
It’s simple, but also very lush, like a big velour couch.
[Laughs] Yeah, that’s what we were going for!
How do you feel about the result?
I’m very happy. Guðmundur Óskar and I produced this album and I’ve never done that before. That’s the biggest thing I learned from making this album—that we can do that. It was easy and it was fun. Of course we had Gunni Tynes of múm who mixed it and helped it all come together, but the basic stuff, we did all by ourselves.
The album is about to come out. What are you up to now?
I’m already working on new stuff, but it’s very much in the beginning stages. I did a little bit of recording this summer in Nashville and in upstate New York. I went on a trip around the US two days after we finished this album and I knew I was going to Nashville. I really wanted to record there so I was writing really fast on the way and then I got to record with a friend of mine, Aaron Roche. I think I’m going to use those songs for my next album.
So I guess following the natural progression, your album themes are going: love, break-up, the road?
Yeah! [Laughs.] I guess so. Then hopefully eventually it’s going to be the settling down album, the family album. A house and a couple of kids. And of course, the drug album. I still have to make that one.
The album release concert takes place in Fríkirkjan on September 18, 2013. Admission fee is 2,500 ISK.