Janus Bragi Jakobsson and Tinna Ottesen are an Icelandic couple who have gained attention recently for the experimental underwater concerts they held during the four day warm-up proceeding the Roskilde Music Festival. The idea first arose in 1999 when Tinna was a member of the concept-group NeoGeo. They held three underwater concerts in Sundhöllin in collaboration with Reykjavík city officials, and in 2007 Janus and Tinna decided to revive and evolve the idea. The concerts were held in a small lake near the festival grounds and were open to anyone who wanted to experience music in a new environment. People could either wade out into the cooling waters of the lake or sit back and relax on specially designed “listening benches” with only their ears submersed. DJs Rosa Lux, Mike Sheridan and El Grillo played on a stage shaped and painted to look like a sunken ship using underwater speakers designed for dolphin training.
Tinna and Janus both grew up in Iceland and met when they were students in the notoriously artsy high school Menntaskólinn við Hamrahlíð. Tinna moved to Denmark to go to art school and Janus followed shortly after. Janus is now a student at The National Film School of Denmark and Tinna is looking forward to her next cooperative project with the famous artistic group Halfmachine, which will mix her interest in aquatic exploration and the pioneer methods of experimentation associated with Halfmachine. They will also take part in next year’s Roskilde Festival, this time with a bigger budget and more experience under their belt, with the goal of making an underwater concert truly comparable to the above-sea-level experience. “Water is a much better medium for sound than air but not all music can be heard underwater,” Tinna tells me. “Low bass and high pitched sounds can’t be heard but everything in between works fine. Kim Larsen for example sounds great! The goal though is to do it so well that the sound quality will be comparable to an above water concert.”