BSÍ is no ordinary band. Consisting of just two members, namely Sigurlaug Thorarensen (drums and vocals) and Julius Rothlaender (bass and synths), the band’s inception was a fortuitous twist of fate. Neither Sigurlaug nor Julius were used to playing the instrument they are now playing in BSÍ, yet, within a month of playing together, the duo had written several songs and decided to perform live.
Serving sheep heads to taxi drivers
Sigurlaug, nicknamed Silla, usually performs as her electronic alter ego Sillus; Julius plays in the newly-founded bands Stormy Daniels and Laura Secord. Before starting BSÍ, they had worked together on several music projects, including a cover song for a German radio play.
The band’s name “was kind of a joke,” the pair admit. BSÍ refers to “Bifreiðastöð Íslands”—the bus terminal where all airport shuttles stop when arriving in Reykjavík, notorious in the old days for its café, which sold sheep heads to taxi drivers.
“I had an older sweater belonging to my brother when we he was 12, and it said ‘International School of Brussels,’” Silla explains. They started to play around with the letters and the result was “Brussels Sprouts International,” or BSÍ. “We liked it because it was short and sharp,” adds Silla. “And it worked. People think it’s pretty funny.”
Still learning to play the songs
Silla and Julius just returned from a mini tour in Germany, where they played a little festival outside Berlin and opened for the legendary German punk-rock band Beatsteaks.
“It was our first show abroad, and our fifth show ever,” Julius laughs. “We were still trying to learn our songs and then there we were, playing in front of 500 people. It went well, though, people seemed to like it… for some reason.”
The smallest protest
BSÍ will release their first EP on Friday, September 7th—a 7” vinyl with three songs. One of them, “Ekki á leið,” already has its own video on Youtube. It shows official CCTV footage of Silla and Julius blocking a busy road next to the University of Iceland. “This is such a car crazy country,” says Julius. “We were walking around the area and wondered what would be the smallest protest one could execute in Iceland.”
After daring each other to do it, the duo blocked the road for the whole two minutes and 33 seconds of the song. At the end, the footage shows Silla and Julius walking away, visibly relieved. “Fortunately, the drivers didn’t get too mad, they were just confused,” recounts Silla. “I don’t know what would have happened if we would have stood there for five minutes though, it might have become a bit more problematic,” grins Julius.
The duo is throwing around an idea about holding a festival on the roof of the actual BSÍ bus station—an idea for which the descriptor “epic” would be an understatement. We at the Grapevine definitely want to see that happen.