By Rebecca Louder
In the final acts of this year’s Icelandic Battle of the Bands, a surprisingly different kind of band took the stage. Lush and demure, the room soon hushed as their lead singer effortlessly and emotively belted three intensely personal songs over soft, dynamic, urban jazz tunes. As the awards were announced, they began their sweep.
This is Þoka, the second place winners of the contest, who are made up of Agnes Björgvinsdóttir (best vocalist winner), Heimir Klemenzson (best keyboardist winner) and Reynir Hauksson on guitar. Since that successful night they have been writing, composing and developing their sound for their upcoming debut album, set to be released in 2013. They’ve also been playing shows all over the country, and are gearing up to win some new fans at their first Iceland Airwaves festival. We caught up with the band to find out more.
What was it like performing in the Battle of the Bands?
As a whole it was a great experience! The band was really new when we decided to sign up and we were not really sure about it all. The semi-finals were the first time we performed together on stage in front of an audience and it was great. Before that we had only played in Agnes’ living room. The results were unexpected and we are so grateful for everything that the contest did for us.
What do you recommend to people coming to Airwaves for the first time?
If people are coming from other countries, they should try to see as many Icelandic bands as possible, you know, try to get to know the Icelandic music scene. We will be playing Wednesday night at Amsterdam, the first night of the festival alongside some great Icelandic bands so we think that is a great way to start your experience. We are a new, up-and-coming band that plays Icelandic music with Icelandic lyrics. So come to Amsterdam, drink Thule and Brennivín and enjoy.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
There are so many that we can’t wait to see like Ghost Town Jenny, Low Roar, Mo Kenney, Sam Amidon and so many others! We are also excited to see many of the Icelandic bands! Heimir and Reynir have actually never been to Airwaves, but this will be Agnes’ fifth festival.
That is kind of crazy! What is your favourite part of Airwaves in general, Agnes?
I love how everything in Reykjavík changes during Airwaves: the atmosphere is completely different. The last couple of years I have met so many great and interesting people and made friends from all over the world. My favourite part of Airwaves is getting my wristband. Every year I am just as excited as the year before, if not more! There is never any drama during the festival, just music, love and happiness!