From Iceland — The Birth Of The Pop Alien: Katrín Helga Evolves Into Special K

The Birth Of The Pop Alien: Katrín Helga Evolves Into Special K

Published August 9, 2018

The Birth Of The Pop Alien: Katrín Helga Evolves Into Special K
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Chances are, if you follow Icelandic music, you’ll have seen Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir. A founding member of Reykjavíkurdætur and Kriki, she’s been active in the Reykjavík music scene for years. She plays and tours with Sóley and her solo project, Special-K, debuted last year. Her visual album, ‘I Thought I’d be More Famous by Now,’ will be released in October.

Birth of Special-K

Katrín Helga looks up, smiles, and shuts her computer, on which she’s been editing a video she shot for Mr. Silla. “I’ve been exploring different mediums all my life,” she begins. “Theatre, music, dance, and visual arts.”

Katrín Helga’s music intends to start conversations about the issues of everyday millennials, including sex-positivism, imposter syndrome, the mundane consumer, and the internet. “Before I was in Reykjavíkurdætur I was in a controversial band called Hljómsveitt,” she says. “The name is a pun for ‘sweaty tunes’ on the word ‘Hljómsveit,’ which just means ‘band.’ It specialised in sexual music.”

Along with her many other projects, Katrín Helga has been playing in sóley’s band for two years. “Sóley has been a mentor to me,” she says. “A year and a half ago she asked me ‘Katrín, when is your solo album coming?’ I thought: ‘okay, I have to do it now.’”

There’s no one like you

 “They tell you you can do anything, that there’s no one like you. Then when you enter the world, and it’s not like that. It comes as a shock.” 

That’s when Special-K was born. “The name Special-K is firstly a reference to the breakfast cereal that’s very normcore and an ode to the everyday,” explains Katrin Helga. “Also, it’s a reference to how our generation has been told since we were young that we are special or unique.”

She calls it the “snowflake syndrome.” “It results in everybody having the delusion that they’re just a little bit better than everybody else, and that fame and glory are waiting around the corner,” she laughs. “Then you enter the real world and reality doesn’t live up to your expectations. It comes as a shock, and you become depressed, comparing yourself to glossy images of other people’s lives on social media.”


Katrín Helga has focused on a strong visual concept behind the project, partially thanks to her recently inked degree in Visual Arts. “Special-K is an alien being with bleached eyebrows and hair, who finds itself in absurd roles and situations,” she says. “For my final piece, I made a video to each of the twelve songs on the album, which ended with a karaoke installation performance at Kjarvalstaðir.”

She performed songs from the album, including ‘Date me I’m Bored’ and ‘Imposter Syndrome Self-Help Song.’ Most of the videos were made in collaboration with other artists including Mr. Silla, Jóhanna Rakel, and Elín Elísabet Einarsdóttir.

Small in Japan

Recently Katrín Helga connected with a manager based in Los Angeles. “He’d seen a video I made—at first when he contacted me on Instagram I thought he was a creepy stalker,” she smiles. “He’s hiding it well if he is. He’s proven to be very professional. You just never dare to believe that those opportunities are out there.”

Katrín Helga will travel out to LA to meet him and make some new material this autumn. “The first album was lo-fi and homemade,” she says. “The next one will be more poppy. The album is also being released in Japan on a limited cassette, which is very underground and grossly indie,” she smiles. “So I haven’t gone all the way pop.”

Info: Special-K will be opening the night for ‘Kriki’ at Húrra on August 14th for a double dose of Katrín, and check out the website at

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