Making of an Artist: Drones, Collaborations & Transcendence With Kira Kira - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Making of an Artist: Drones, Collaborations & Transcendence With Kira Kira

Making of an Artist: Drones, Collaborations & Transcendence With Kira Kira

Published July 27, 2017

Photos by
Sigga Ella

Kira Kira is a prolific Icelandic artist, filmmaker and musician with an ever-evolving, collaborative, and multidisciplinary practise. Here, she talks us through some of the formative influences that helped her become the artist she is today.

Art Collective: The Residents
The Residents are a wild and mysterious art collective from San Francisco who started out in the early 70s. I was eighteen when I discovered them, and was instantly inspired by their playful and explorative approach to music, film and art. They made a handful of one-minute movies on Super 8 film that absolutely blew my mind, not just because of how innovative they were, but with the sheer devotion they put into their work. If I remember to play them when I’m in a bad mood, the day is saved.

Composer: Angelo Badalamenti 
I was thirteen when the first series of ‘Twin Peaks’ aired, and it was the music, more than anything, that captured my affections. I had a tape recorder, and I’d sometimes grab interesting stuff from the radio, and the ‘Twin Peaks’ theme tune was one of those fireflies in my teenage jar. It was the first piece of music I listened to repeatedly, and I’m still not sick of it. Badalamenti’s music has a wild way of being hopeful, dark and moody at the same time. There’s some kind of sense of all-or-nothing, no turning back, nothing to lose, love for mystery that continuously appeals to me. It’s harder for me to articulate the impact David Lynch’s work has had on me, so I think it’s better not to go there. It is what it is: a powerful undertone.

Compilation: ‘Nart Nibbles’ by Kitchen Motors (1999)
This album was created through a series of concerts curated by my label in Reykjavík. It opened my eyes to the power of collaboration, and how we can elevate each other by joining forces to explore all the possibilities of music. The people who played on this album are my musical family, as well as a DIY academy in courageous music. We enjoyed a lot of help from Fat Cat Records, who made sure the album found its way into curious ears all over the world.

Video Installation: “Óður” by Finnbogi Pétursson (1991)
This wonder drew me in, and moved me on a deep visceral level. Rhythms made of avalanches, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and floods—different kinds of out of control drones tamed and conducted into a pattern. It left me awestruck, with a very pure, humble feeling.

Super 8 Happening: “Mütze Mit Rakete” by Roman Signer (1983)
I love the poetic prankster spirit of this simple piece. A firecracker shoots into the sky and grabs a man’s hat as it goes. This is satisfying on so many levels. It’s a playful and fun happening, and you can really feel how much the artist enjoyed creating this.

Concert: Sigur rós & The LA Phil at Walt Disney Hall (2017)
I’ve never seen someone give it all they’ve got like Jónsi did that night. It was a phenomenal display of generosity that I’ll never forget. I was sitting in the centre of the front row, and the energy he gave, his voice, presence and performance transformed my own inner state of being from overwhelmed to “I’VE GOT THIS.” I remembered why I make music: it’s for this possibility—that through the music, someone’s energies could be shifted, and their spirit elevated. I’m so grateful to Jónsi for doing what he does.

Read about the makings of more artists here.

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