Swimming, Songwriting, Snacking: Unnsteinn Manuel's Perfect Day In Reykjavík - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Swimming, Songwriting, Snacking: Unnsteinn Manuel’s Perfect Day In Reykjavík

Swimming, Songwriting, Snacking: Unnsteinn Manuel’s Perfect Day In Reykjavík

Published April 21, 2018

Photos by
Timothée Lambrecq

Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson is a musician and TV personality who rose to fame as the frontman of Retro Stefson. He was also a judge on the Icelandic version of ‘The Voice.’ Here’s how he’d spend his perfect day in Reykjavík.

First thing
First thing I do when I wake up is I go to Sundhöllin. Sundhöllin is my temple. I have been going there since I moved to Iceland in 1995 when I was five years old. It reopened after renovations a few months back, and now there’s an outdoor pool. My mental health starts to blossom in the early morning sunlight so it is a perfect spot to start the day.

Mid-morning
I try to be at my studio, 101derland, every morning before lunch. After lunch is when the younger guys get in, so I try to get all my work done before lunch. On a perfect day, I write a song from A to B in these hours.

For lunch
For lunch, I usually go with the guys from my studio to Hlemmur or our local Thai spot Mai Thai. What we eat depends on the mood of the day. Normally there are sandwiches, soups or Mexican at Hlemmur. But if there’s a reason to celebrate we go to Skál where our friends Gísli and Fanney worship the God of Culinary Arts with their highly original cooking.

In the afternoon
In the afternoon I’d go home for more songwriting on my own. I like working at home with headphones in the kitchen. But on a perfect day, I’d get in the groove with a group hit-making session in my studio. It’s very fun to write pop music with other people. The other day we had Eva808 on the beat, Birnir with the lyrics, Auður doing hooks and myself trying to weave all this talent together without being in the way.

In the evening
Me and my girlfriend would go to Vitabar, our local pub on Vitastígur, for dinner and a game of chess. That’s how a perfect evening sounds to me. Afterwards, we go back to the temple, Sundhöllin (yes: on a perfect day I go there twice). This time around is when I meet some friends and people from the community and get the lay of the land.

In the heat of the night
If my brother, Logi Pedro, is DJing at Prikið I go out to “djammið.” He plays there once a month, and it’s my favourite club night in Reykjavík. If he’s not playing, I’d go to Bíó Paradís for some world cinema, or stay at home, connect the projector, and watch Star Trek with my love.

Read more perfect days here.

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