Once a year, we at Grapevine honour the best and brightest of the Icelandic music scene by giving out awards to some of the artists who light up our lives on the little subarctic island. The Artist To Watch award goes to EinarIndra. You’re invited to join us for some drinks, laughs, and super special live performances from some of the winners, including Einar, at Húrra on January 5th.
As years go, 2017 was an exciting one for EinarIndra—although perhaps not as prolific as he would have liked, music-wise. After the birth of his baby girl, Einar has in fact had very little time to focus on his art. “So the fact that I’ve received an award for my music feels quite nice,” he laughs.
It wasn’t until his latest album ‘Stories’ that Einar captured the attention of the public and critics alike with his dreamy electronic beats and high-pitched vocals. He has often been likened to James Blake and even The XX for his soft, intimate songs. Yet, Einar prefers to distance himself from such comparisons; what he does is purely his own thing.
Just like painting
Despite the success of his songs, Einar only recently started juxtaposing lyrics with his music. “I used to play piano in Húsavík when I was in high school and then I got a CD filled with music software,” he says. “That’s when I really started focusing on making music. It was sort of glitchy electronica.”
Focusing on melodies and beats always came naturally to Einar. “I have always been interested more in beats and sound design,” he explains. “The vocals came later. Lyrics are more or less like a painting—you have these words, and they have to be right for the direction they’re going. But they also have to fit into the melody and the song as well.”
What makes this task particularly hard, he explains, is making the synthetic nature of electronics and the analogue sound of his voice fit together. “It’s quite a headache,” he laughs.
Keep it slow
Perhaps because of this attention to detail, Einar seems to have found his sound. ‘Stories’ has a Sunday morning vibe with its slow tempo, but it also succeeds in being a sensual experience, keeping its pace all the way through. “Sometimes you can make things just too complicated, when a simpler version of it can flow much better,” Einar explains.
Simplicity, however, is not all there is to it. These hushed melodies come so naturally to Einar that even when he tries to veer away from his downtempo sound and speed things up a little, he always ends up hitting the brakes. “I’ve landed in a comfort zone, and I like the soundscape of it,” he says. “I’ve tried doing faster songs but, in the end, they always feel off compared to my life rhythm.”
Headed to Portugal to take time off from his job, Einar is determined to go back to working on his music in 2018. Whether the southern sun will slow his tempo down or speed it up, the future looks bright for EinarIndra.
Come and celebrate the Grapevine Music Awards with us at Húrra on January 5th 2018, and see Einar perform live. Entry is free, and beer will be provided by our friends at Víking. Read about more 2017 winners here.