Wading through the thick snow, musician Kira Kira steadily ascends icy cliffs in the music video for her single “Pioneer Of Love.” The song, co-written by electronic musician Hermigervill, is the lead single from her new album ‘Alchemy & Friends,’ was released digitally on January 18, with a physical release in the works.
The video’s stunning drone footage was shot by American filmmakers Samantha Shay and Victoria Sendra in a two-hour period before catching a flight. “They were in the country and offered to shoot something for me,” says Kira Kira, real name Kristín Björk Kristjánsdóttir. “So we rushed to Rauðhólar into the deep and fresh snow. It fits the song in that, in a way, it’s about fearlessly taking on the mountain, even if it’s sent you rolling down its hills many times before. But it’s also open to interpretation from the listener.”
As the title suggests, ‘Alchemy & Friends’ is rooted in themes of collaboration and how music can spark transformation. “It’s like an elixir, a drop of honey, to redefine the state of things,” Kristín explains. “The first track, for instance, ‘Talk To Your Hands’ was written for a good friend of mine, a pianist who couldn’t move his hands for over a year. I just wanted to do something for him. I didn’t know how to cure him, but I could make music and be there for him. We all have something to give. Even if we aren’t doctors or astrophysicists, we can all create something to show we care.”
This theme of friendship and connections runs through the album, exemplified by the many collaborators who join Kristín on individual tracks, such as Dustin O’Halloran and Eskmo. “Helping each other out is a beautiful thing,” she says. “The album is a tribute to collaboration and friendship, both with people I’ve worked with for a decade and others I’ve just recently gotten to know. But each collaboration came about organically, from a feeling of creative chemistry. I would never invite someone to a recording session with whom I didn’t see the potential for friendship.”
Kristín worked on the album for almost five years, following intuition and inspiration as they struck. “Most of my songs take a long time, years to emerge,” she says. “They go through peaks and valleys, and sometimes there’s a moment where I have to shelf them and go on with my life. Then I may meet someone who shocks them back to life.”
Sing your heart out
The last few years, Kristín has increasingly moved into the world of film scoring, composing music for the 2017 feature ‘Sumarbörn’ and the Adult Swim sci-fi comedy ‘Dream Corp LLC’. This year, she’s working on the film ‘Tryggð’ by Ásthildur Kjartansdóttir. “The connection between the music, the film and the mood—it’s what I most enjoy cracking,” she says.
As a founding member of art collective Kitchen Motors with Jóhann Jóhannsson and Hilmar Jensson, Kristín is used to drawing inspiration from other artists. Hoping to re-establish this sort of collaboration after moving back to Iceland from Berlin, she co-founded the choir KÓRUS with musician Borko. The choir is featured on ‘Forsæla’. “We sing our hearts out, and only perform music written by choir members,” she explains. “Most of the members are musicians, visual artists, writers. You learn a lot from working closely with other people.”