Skoffín, an exciting band active in the post-dreifing collective, is a solo project by Jóhannes Bjarkason. His first EP ‘Í Hallargarðinum’ was released two years ago and has recently been picking up traction.
Skoffín is Jói’s brainchild, but some of Reykjavík’s favourites play alongside him, including the Bagdad Brothers, Bjarni Daníel and Sigurpáll Viggó. They’re a charming bunch who have recently been hitting the stage wearing all denim and bright red make-up—some may have caught them jamming live at Norðanpaunk last summer. We sat down to talk with Jói about Skoffín and it’s inspirations and intentions.
Jói has two lives. A political science major by day, by night he finds a creative outlet through writing and performing music. “Sometimes I find myself surrounded by liberal avant-garde 101 artists, like the people in post-dreifing who are sharing some very radical opinions on national organization,” he says. ”Then I go into the political science world, where you have to work within a strict theoretical box. I think it’s a good practice to go between the two.”
A fox and a cat
“Skoffín” is a creature from the Icelandic sagas—the offspring of a fox and a cat. “It’s a reference to the mystique around Icelandic culture,” Jói explains. “I began working out from some sort of Icelandic national songwriting traditions and using my personal experience of Icelandic culture- skoffín suited that well.“
“Skoffín is first and foremost a channel where I Iet feelings move which don’t have another outlet,” Jói continues. “I’m talking about aesthetics and primary expression—feelings which in another context might be condemned.” Skoffín’s songs and performances move Joi’s frustrated energy on politics, idleness, being bored in Iceland, love and masculinity.
Alone on a boat
Jói grew up in Grafarvogur. “I was in an environment where I was very disconnected from the people around me,” he says. “A lot of my lyrics are written from feeling like you’re alone on a boat,” he laughs, shrugging: “Which sounds ridiculous.” Who hasn’t been there?
He sees the project as a riposte to the mainstream. “Skoffín was created in a sort of dissent to music,” Jói explains. “It’s driven by the ambient and dance-friendly music that’s popular—but clad in a full-kit rock and roll outfit. I looked at myself as a punk when I began. Slowly but surely I’m coming to the realisation that I’m not much of a punk. But I do believe in the sincerity of punk rock.”
This places Skoffín’s music somewhere between genres. “It is neither hardcore punk, extreme free-form improv, or basic pop,” he says. Whether you consider it to be indie-rock, punk or lo-fi DIY, its anarchic energy is contagious. Jói’s concluding message: “Rock and roll.”
See Skoffín live on October 5th at Lucky Records and on the 6th at R6013. Follow their Spotify and Youtube to catch forthcoming singles with Lísa Lísa and Bína Bína.