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Electric Dreams: Axis Dancehall Get The Party Started

Electric Dreams: Axis Dancehall Get The Party Started

Photos by
Vigdís Freyja Helmutsdóttir

Published March 5, 2018

Seated amongst countless disassembled synthesizers, Grétar Mar Sigurðsson and Atli Steinn Bjarnason share an interesting dynamic. Together they form genre-bending electronic music duo Axis Dancehall. The boys invited me to their garage-turned-music studio to show me their recent work, talk about their process and give me a glimpse into their world. “We don’t know exactly how to put these synthesizers back together,” Grétar says. Adds Atli: “But that’s just a part of the ride!”

Atli and Grétar met in Breiðholt—Reykjavík’s ‘ghetto’—where they spent their teenage years strolling through the neighbourhood listening to music. “When I heard ‘Love Island’ by Fatboy Slim, it changed my life,” says Atli. “The [Breiðholt] noise-pollution was also an inspiration for me,” Grétar adds. When asked why they make music, Grétar yells: “To get this party started!”

Thoughtful and eclectic

Their demo album ‘2:20 AD 2017’—released last summer—is a thoughtful and eclectic mix of moody electro and breakbeat with tasteful house influences. Their recent song “Originals” is a powerful and drum-heavy track with loud and grumpy vocals. “We are really into that 80s drum sound that goes ‘phew!’“ Atli explains. “Yeah, and all this like 90s-blast-from-the-past stuff,“ Grétar added.

“We are really into that 80s drum sound that goes ‘phew!’ and 90s blast-from-the-past stuff.”

Axis Dancehall is a creative force whose story has only begun. “Our new album is on the way and we have a lot of ideas.“ Grétar says. “The other day we slowed down our songs by 200% and listened to them while soaking in the hot tub.“ Atli points out. Grétar adds: “It was an interesting experiment!“

You can see Axis Dancehall live in concert at Húrra on March 13th at the fourth instalment of Grapevine Grassroots, a regular mixed bag event of up-and-coming local talent. Other acts on the night’s program are the band Bagdad Brothers, solo artists Freyja and Laser Life, a poetry reading by Brynjar Jóhannesson and ‘Fléttan’, a performance by Andrea Vilhjálmsdóttir & Lóa Björk Björnsdóttir.

See Axis Dancehall perform at Grapevine Grassroots #4 at Húrra on March 13th with Bagdad Brothers, Freyja and Laser Life.


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