Guðmundur Úlfarsson is one half of Reykjavík duo Good Moon Deer. Just as they release another blast of their energizing noise online via this fancy subsite, we challenged him to put the band’s uncategorizable sound into words…
Your band name is a play on the pronunciation of your forename, right? I would have thought you’d be called “Good Moon Door” in that case though. Man, Icelandic is hard…
Yeah, that’s right, or actually more a play on how foreigners pronounce my forename. So I guess the “right” way (in the wrong foreign way) phonetically would be with ‘Door’ instead of ‘Deer’. But the real “right” way would probably be something like ‘Duur’. The ‘Deer’ ending comes actually from the fact that foreigners also tend to misspell it ‘Gudmunder’. Also, I just didn’t want a band name with a ‘Door’ in it.
What words do you use when you’re asked to describe your music? Does vocabulary matter?
I’ve always found it really difficult to put it into the right words. It depends on who I’m talking to actually. I like it more when people try to put it into some box themselves. Experimental electronica often comes up, but we’re also often also associated with free jazz (of the digital age even). In my own words, which is maybe not the best description, I’d say that it’s a schizophrenic compilation of interesting and atmospheric sounds, that’s elevated by live drumming.
Your stuff is kind of mutant music – containing elements or improv, noise, heavy rhythms and electronica alongside everything else. Are you guys into improv and free music?
Exactly, mutant is a good word. We love improv and free music. We’re actually into all kinds of music, and I think you can hear that in the stuff we make. As we’ve gotten more confident with our live set recently, we’ve started playing around with more improv in rehearsals and live. You’ll hopefully be able to see some of that during Airwaves!
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/117553282″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true”]
Is it a challenge capturing that in the studio? Do you enlist a producer to help?
Yeah, it’s quite difficult actually and that’s probably the main reason why we haven’t really released much of our music. It’s really difficult to accept the “frozen form” of the track. We’re doing everything ourselves at the moment, recording with a friend in our rehearsal space, mixing at home in the living room and quick mastering fine tunes with another friend. With some budget we might consider hiring a producer, but for now it’s just all DIY.
Is the energy the music creates a big deal for you guys?
Yes. I guess that’s the short and precise answer to that question. I might add that we know we’re not getting people to dance, but if we manage to close their eyes and make them nod their head we’re really happy.
What was your favourite gig the band has done so far?
When we started this project, we played more gigs in less conventional concert setting like in shops and galleries. The whole thing actually started when I played solo under a fashion show at LungA. I don’t think I have any favorite one, but we enjoy being put in a different setting than on a stage. Actually, we recently made music for a dance piece, which we than showed three times in Þjóðleikhúsið and once in Hafnarhúsið – those gigs are high on the favorite list.
Tell us about the new track. Is it recently written?
Nah, not really. Can’t remember when I made it first, but then it’s gone through transformations during our live shows but finally we really wanted to release it. It’s about love. Really.
Are you playing a bunch of Airwaves shows? Any exciting off venues?
We’re playing 6 off venue gigs. It wasn’t supposed to be that many, we burned ourselves out last year. But this time we’re gonna play a different set each time, at least to some degree – just to make it more fun for ourselves, and hopefully others. We’re playing at Kolabrautin again this year, which was really nice last year, we’re looking forward to that. We’re also gonna be broadcasted live in Funkþátturinn from Boston on Thursday night, that will be a nice event I think. We’re actually looking forward to all of our gigs, and especially the one on venue in the infamous Café Amsterdam on Friday.