The word “Skrattar” refers to playful demons. “It’s like someone who brings mischief,” says band member Sölvi Magnússon—aka “Djöfullinn Sjálfur,” or “The Devil Himself,” in English. Skrattar and Djöfullinn Sjálfur boys just released a self-titled collaboration on resident-shadowy-alt label Hið myrka man. I sat down with two out of the three Skrattar, Kalli and Sölvi, to talk about the new album.
Sölvi: “Helför” means “a trip to hell,” but if you put the Icelandic “the” in front of it—i.e. helförin—then it means “the Holocaust.” But this song is just a trip to hell.
Kalli: Yeah, Gulli found this crazy preacher online, so we put him over the song and it was just weird and dark: “It’s not like you’re gonna run away!”
S: I wrote these lyrics a long time ago but I showed them to Gulli one day when we were drinking in the studio. The title “Genesis” came from when Gulli asked what he should call the file name and in my narcissistic ecstasy, I just yelled “Genesis Pt. 1!”
Splissken ft. Alvia Islandia
S: Snake Plissken is the name of a character in ‘Escape From New York’. We asked Alvia to come and do something over the song and in one take, Alvia freestyled something and just killed it. She hadn’t heard the song before I think.
K: The difference between me and Sölvi recording vocals is that Sölvi has to be really in the mood and have the lyrics in front of him. He doesn’t freestyle, but I pretty much always do.
S: You barely know the lyrics to the songs anyway. You should write them down.
K: “Bara Gaman” is really sarcastic. The first line is: “It’s boring here. You’re boring. I’m boring.” I just freestyled, It’s got a lot of humor in it, like, “I think it’s boring to hang out with you. You think it’s boring to hang out with me.”
K: That’s Sölvi’s anthem.
S: Originally we didn’t like this song but we gave it some time and then were like: “Shit, it’s fucking good.”
K: “Sincere” came out of fucking nowhere. We started the song at 1am, then we came to Prikið for a few beers and fresh air.
S. I remember it differently.
K: Then we were at the studio with a lot of people and once the irritating ones were gone, we started recording. We were on a lot of ecstasy or maybe just in ecstasy.
S: “Come on baby, show me that love” are the only lyrics. But the next morning, we walked to Vínyl when it opened at 9am. We used to go there really fucked up in the morning and we just took over the place playing this song.
K: “Glundroði” means chaos.
S: I wrote these lyrics a long time ago. The first sentence is, “This is an attempt to fill a hole inside of me.” That was not supposed to be the first lyric. Originally it was, “If I’m such a good boy, why do I only want to do bad stuff? Pills, powder, juice, all of the above.” But it rhymes in Icelandic, you know, cause I am a poet.
K: We are both poets.