Kormákur Jarl Gunnarson is the electronic mastermind behind Brilliantinus. In only a year he’s become a prominent name in Reykjavík’s music scene, performing at festivals including Secret Solstice, Iceland Airwaves and Sónar. He is currently producing Kött Grá Pjé’s album, to be released later this year, and will be putting out his own solo album ‘Brilliant In Us’ later this summer.
Kormákur has been involved with music from a young age, starting with a rock band in elementary school. However, after years of listening to a lot of hip-hop, he started experimenting with music production. “I became so inspired that I couldn’t help but try it out for myself,” Kormákur says “I started putting sounds together and it’s just been building up ever since.”
Kormákur says his surroundings, the environment he lives in and the people he spends time with inspire him. His songs can be sweet and tender but also gloomy and dark—it all depends on the mood he’s in. He continues: “I am inspired by all kinds of music of course, but what inspires me most are people and my experiences. All my emotions are mixed into my songs.”
Everything Kormákur creates starts in his computer. He has a small studio set up in his room, with synths and a few instruments. His desk is surrounded with albums, including records by Futuregrapher and EinarIndra. To create his music he uses environmental sounds, different instruments and, of course, his computer. “I think of my music in sounds rather than melodies,” Kormákur says. “I puzzle different sounds together to create something beautiful.”
Kormákur takes his computer with him wherever he goes. That way, he can sit down and work no matter where he is. “I’ve often blamed school because I feel I never really have time to create, because of it,” he says “However, I use all of my free time, including lunch break at school, to work and if I’m in the zone I’ll keep on going and even skip class to do so.” This fall he will be able to fulfill his desire to create by studying electronic music performance and production in Berlin.
Kormákur has gained much attention, performing at various festivals and collaborating with artists such as EinarIndra and Kött Grá Pjé, despite never having released an album and only publishing his work to Soundcloud. “I like keeping my music a bit underground,” Kormákur says. “I think it means I’m doing something right if I don’t have to advertise my work.” He explains that one of his favourite things about being a musician is performing in front of a crowd and getting compliments from people who’ve never heard of him before.
Kormákur says he’d rather start slowly and keep growing with time, which is why he hasn’t been in a rush to release an album: “I’ve been evolving as a musician a lot lately and releasing this album is my next big step.”
’Brilliant In Us’ will be released later this summer. In the meantime, make sure to catch him at the Grapevine Grassroots concert at Húrra, July 24.