If you want to get some serious dancing, thrashing and moshing under your belt during your airwaves jaunt, then you should do yourself a favour and pop over to Café Amsterdam on Friday night to see Angist. Currently one of Iceland’s hottest metal bands, they were formed in 2009 when Edda Tegeder Óskarsdóttir and Gyða Hrund Þorvaldsdóttir decided that the metal being played in Iceland wasn’t hard enough for their tastes. After being joined by Edda’s brother Haraldur on bass, they set about quietly making a name for themselves in Iceland’s metal scene.
But it’s over the last 12 months that things have really started to take in the pitiless world of Angist after Ophidian I drummer Tumi Gíslason joined the band. Along with tours of France in support of class French metal act L’Esprit Du Clan, and blistering performances at this year’s Wacken Metal Battle and Eistnaflug festival (which caused Terrorizer magazine to gush that they were “One of the best acts at the festival“), they released their debut EP, ‘Circle Of Suffering,’ and were recently signed to US metal label Abyss Records. Hectic times indeed!
Hi there Angist. Even though our reviewer called your debut EP “Fun time death metal,” your brand of music is especially cold and hard that eschews elaborate solos and complication for hard riffs, splatterings of dark ambient noises, and incredibly bleak lyrics. What helped to create the basis of the Angist sound in terms of influence and environment?
We draw influences from all the music that we listen to and mix that with the stuff that goes on in our heads and around us in our society… that is quite enough to be inspired to create something as woeful as our music.
One of the things about Angist’s music that really grabs you (apart from the riffs) are the vocals of Edda, which are incredibly harsh and powerful. When did she find that she could sing and project so well? Is there anything she does in particular to get the right level of “growl”?
A lot of things happen when you end up totally letting go at rehearsal or on stage. In that moment when you´re in the flow, then the voice just goes places you didn’t expect. Then there’s of course lot of practising and having the freedom, willingness and urge to experiment. Edda has closely studied Melissa Cross’s vocal technique and the Sing with Freedom program by Per Bristow has also helped a lot.
In its early days, the band did suffer from not having a regular drummer on board. How much of a hindrance was it in progressing the band’s sound and how has the being of Tumi Gíslason on board helped with the performance levels this year?
Well, we are all very ambitious and dedicated to the progress of our band, so getting Tumi on board really completed the band’s sound. We got more into our comfort zone with a talented drummer like him and the band tightened up a lot as a result so that obviously brings everything more together both stage wise and during the process of writing.
In August this year, you announced that you signed up with US record label Abyss Records. How did that come about? How much has changed for the band since you’ve signed to the label?
We are very excited to be working with Daniel from Abyss Records. He has been following us from the very start so it’s good to have someone behind us that knows where we are coming from and that we are a hardworking band. Abyss Records has a big promotional company, Clawhammer PR, behind them so the most noticeable change we can see so far is the increasing number of fans and distribution. Both Abyss and Clawhammer are very active and dedicated in their work so we can see our music is reaching more people and that’s the most important thing to us.
Angist are playing at Amsterdam this year along with a wide spectrum of bands from Iceland’s metal scene. What’s you viewpoint of the state of the scene in Iceland right now?
We think that band-wise the scene is in a great state. People are getting more serious about their music and a lot of bands are getting attention outside Iceland and even getting signed with big labels. Bands are working harder and putting much more effort into their music, image, merchandise and promotion. The only thing lacking is more enthusiasm of concert-goers All ages gigs are very hard to put up because it’s hard to get kids to come to shows and bar shows are difficult as well because people show up so late and nobody dares to move to the music until everyone is really drunk. But that’s a very Icelandic thing to do so I guess we can’t change that!
If there is ONE place (be it bar, café, shop, place of interest) that you think that a traveller should go to while they are in Reykjavik for Airwaves, what/where is it?
Well you can never pick just one place! But for nocturnal activities it’s Dillons Bar for before 3am, Bar 11 for after 3am. And if you dare venture out in the daylight, just go out in the nature and breathe fresh air! It’s delightful!
Apart from yourselves, who else do you think we should advise the huddled masses to see while they´re at the festival? Who should be on their playlist?
Definitely SWANS, GP!, and Momentum (who are playing twice this year). Also the bands that are with us at Café Amsterdam are all fantastic. That night is definitely something you shouldn’t miss out on if you are a fan of heavy music.
What’s in your pockets right now?
My pyjama pants don’t have pockets!
Final question – Death or Dethklok?
Death for music and Dethklok for partying!!
Angist are eprforming on Friday 2nd November, 2230, at Café Amsterdam.