Girls In Hawaii, Dreaming Of Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Girls In Hawaii, Dreaming Of Iceland

Girls In Hawaii, Dreaming Of Iceland

Published October 21, 2013

Melancholic indie sextet Girls In Hawaii are the only band from Belgium at Iceland Airwaves this year. Formed in 2002, they’re returning after a two-year hiatus that resulted from the sudden loss of their drummer in 2010. We spoke to them about escape, emptying the bar, miracles, and their new record “Everest”.

You guys grew up in rural Belgium – was your band name a kind of escape fantasy?
Absolutely. We grew up in Braine l’Alleud, a small and cosy place near Brussels. When you’re from a place like that, you get so bored that the only way to have fun and to escape is to create songs and play them with friends. That’s exactly what the name of our band means: dreaming is the best way to escape.

I guess it worked – you did a 150 date tour, wow. Does a particular show stick out in your mind from that epic trip?
Yes – we did a detour once just to play at a very small bar in Italy – the guys there were huge fans, so we accepted the gig. The audience was so enthusiastic that we had the time of our lives onstage. At some point of the evening, the barman just said: “let’s empty the bar, everything is on the house!”

It must be nice to tour with family and friends, taking your relationship to a new level spending every day together?
Yeah it’s really really fun and cool. We have been knowing each other for such a long time that it’s really easy to go on tour together. The band makes us feel safe, we really look after one another.

And were there any hardships on the road?
Yeah. Of course, when you have to live in confined places like a tour bus or a backstage area for two weeks in a row, then somebody has to get on your nerves at some point. But it’s really no big deal usually. Overall I think we’re doing okay in comparison to bands that fight each other every time they get drunk. 

How the heck do you get time to do laundry?
Never. Sometimes it starts to smell a little bit weird but generally it’s okay. We try not to sweat too much on stage.

Tell us about the new record, Everest. I hear behind the record lies a tragedy in the band.
Denis our drummer and friend died in a car crash on the 30th of May 2010. It was the shock of a lifetime for all of us and the band went on hiatus for more than 2 years. Then, we slowly got back to writing songs, and we got back into a recording studio. We had no expectations of any kind. But after three weeks we had a record – it was like a miracle.

Have you ever been to Iceland before, or played here? Do you have a favourite Icelandic band?
I went to Iceland 4 years ago to write songs for Everest, Bardi Johannsson rent me his house in Hvolsvöllur for a month. I really like what he’s doing with Lady and Bird and the guy is absolutely fantastic! After that i went two months in Laugarholl, a remote place in the north fjord in a lonely hotel. I met lovely people there. The guys that welcomed me there, Einar Usteinsson and Disa Esradottir, knew Mugison well enough to introduce me to him. I really dig his music.

Do you have any words for the Icelandic readers about what to expect, or a message of any kind?
It’s gonna be a huge pleasure for us to come to Iceland. It’s the most beautiful country i’ve ever seen. I’ve been a lot of times for music, or just traveling. You Icelandic people are really nice and clever. Every time i go back, it’s like a dream.

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