Culture
Music
The New Punks: Expecting The Unexpected With Geisha Cartel

The New Punks: Expecting The Unexpected With Geisha Cartel

Published June 15, 2018

Despite only forming a year and a half ago, Geisha Cartel have already proved themselves to be one of the most inventive acts in Reykjavík. Deftly treading between scenes, the three cousins bump an undefinable sound. You can’t label them, and you can’t tie them down—you can just watch.

This year, after dropping their debut album, they’ll be making their premiere appearance at the Secret Solstice festival. And, if it’s anything like their prior shows, it’ll be one of those talked-about performances you can’t afford to miss.

Walking the line

The cousins arrive to the interview in style. Dark Prince Fendi, aka Jón Múli, wears jeans covered with sharpie drawings. Bleache, real name Eyþór Ingi, is covered in black and white tattoos. Plasticboy, or Kristján Steinn, would round out the trio, but he’s currently studying in the Netherlands. They immediately project that DIY confidence you only find in late teenage and early 20s boys with the ‘think it, do it’ mentality that just makes things happen. It’s pure punk of the kind rarely seen in modern day hip hop.

Despite being cousins, the three who formed the Cartel came from wildly different backgrounds. “We’d all been making music, but it was never focused,” says Jón. “I was doing dance inspired stuff. Eyþór was into acid-techno, and Kristján was all about hip hop. So it was a focusing of ambitions. It was going to be hip hop, but vocal—an underground type of music that transforms into pop.”

Cloudy? Mumble? What?

Their music displays these disparate inspirations. You can’t call it trap, or cloudy, or mumble rap. It’s a melting pot. “I guess you’d say we stand out,” says Eyþór. “We have a weird eccentric vibe, but at the same time, we could belong to the mainstream. We work with both.”

The name Geisha Cartel exemplifies this juxtaposition. “The name has an opposite meaning, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the content,” Jón says. “I mean The Cure has nothing to do with a cure.” Eyþór nods. “It’s a contrast,” he adds. “A cartel is a ruthless organisation and a geisha is an entertainer.”

Breaking glass and roses

At their first performance the boys crashed a RÚV interview, landing their first bit of press in the process. “We really had no idea what we were doing but we just did it. We just jumped in,” says Jón, laughing. “And on stage, we played twenty minutes non-stop, which we wouldn’t do now because we know how to play, but then we just made everything chaotic.”

“We have a weird eccentric vibe, but at the same time, we could belong to the mainstream.”

Musically, though, they emphasise that everything is straight from the heart. “We have this song ‘Svartar Rósir’; it’s emotionally loaded,” says Eyþór. “It was created in the midst of the heaviest snowfall in Reykjavík, and we had just being experiencing our friend descending into the criminal scene.”

Others are less serious. “My favourite is called “Alltof létt,” Jón says. “It says, ‘Yeah, it’s beautiful how you move. 100 grams that I buy and sell.’ So you could be talking to a person that’s dancing or the product you’re moving. Dancing with the way you make your money,”

Both these songs are on their new album, ‘Illa Meint’, which was dropped in early June. “The new album is a timeline of where we started to where we are now. Some of the songs were made a year ago and some are fresh,” Eyþór says.

Geisha Cartel  are not tied to being weird, though. “We always try to do something new, of course, but we’re not going to lose ourselves in the avant garde,” Jón says, shrugging. “There’s always something but it’s not like just sounds of glass breaking.” He laughs. “There are drums and vocals. Our music is eccentric, but it’s always fun.”


Culture
Music
Knock Knock Knockin’ On Reykjavík’s Door: Also Bands That Should Retire

Knock Knock Knockin’ On Reykjavík’s Door: Also Bands That Should Retire

by

Notoriously relevant rockers Guns N’ Roses will be welcoming Reykjavík to their aural jungle on July 24th. The concert will

Culture
Music
Weird, Unafraid And Upbeat: Collaborative Duo Stelpuróló Talk Music

Weird, Unafraid And Upbeat: Collaborative Duo Stelpuróló Talk Music

by

Local rap musicians HOLY HRAFN (Óli Hrafn Jónasson) and Stelpurófan (Þorgerður María Þorbjarnardóttir) form the musical collaboration Stelpuróló. In the

Culture
Music
Look Who’s Spitting: BLVCK POX On Babies, Beats And Bombshells

Look Who’s Spitting: BLVCK POX On Babies, Beats And Bombshells

by

You might not have heard of BLVCK POX but in the local hip-hop game in Reykjavík, he’s a strong contender.

Culture
Music
Reaching For The Moon: Kælan Mikla Reissue Debut, Play with The Cure

Reaching For The Moon: Kælan Mikla Reissue Debut, Play with The Cure

by

Even though Iceland has been cold as fuck this year, local alternative goth trio Kælan Mikla have found themselves a

Culture
Music
Artist Playlist: Underwater Grooves With Marbendill

Artist Playlist: Underwater Grooves With Marbendill

by

In Icelandic mythology, a Marbendill is the male version of a mermaid. It’s also the pseudonym of up and coming

Culture
Music
On The Road:  Snorri Helgason On Silly Songs & Brand-New Adventures

On The Road: Snorri Helgason On Silly Songs & Brand-New Adventures

by

There is something magically captivating about the idea of life on the road. From Marco Polo’s ‘Million’ to the American

Show Me More!