From one of Reykjavik’s suburbs comes the band Maus, one of the more mature and developed bands in Iceland. They’ve been around for a while, released five albums and received a nice selection of music awards along with making numerous radio hits.
The band was founded in early 1993, by four friends; Birgir Örn Steinarsson (vocals/guitar), Eggert Gíslason (bass), Páll Ragnar Pálsson (guitar) and Daníel Þorsteinsson (drums) All members were very young at the time, the youngest, Páll was only 16 at the time, the others a year older. The following spring the band participated in Iceland’s annual battle of the bands competition, “Músíktilraunir”. Maus took the first prize impressively, the winner out of nearly 30 participants. Winning prize was studio time, and time was well spent as Maus’s first album was recorded over the summer, and released in the fall on the Bad Taste label under the name “allar kenningar heimsins…. Og ögn meira”.
Their next album was on a different label, and all in English, titled ghostsongs. It received positive reviews, but didn’t sell too well. After the release Maus supported Ash on a gig in Reykjavik and later also The Super Furry Animals. Maus released another album in ’97 and were chosen as best band in the Icelandic music awards in ’98.
Their forth album was released in 1999 in both English and Icelandic, titled “Í þessi sekúndubrot sem ég flýt” (These Short Seconds I Keep Afloat)” and along came more music awards, for best drummer and best lyrics.
Two Grapeviners had the privilege of meeting half the band, guitarist Páll and drummer Daníel, in one of Reykjavik’s cafés for chatting and a few photos. The conversation soon lead to discussions about their latest album release titled “Musick”.
They told us that the working process of the latest album had been the strangest and the longest so far, with work beginning soon after their ’99 release. Recording of the songs was finished last summer in a studio in Dortmund Germany, then began the tedious work of mixing and post producing, tapes went back and forth in a long distance relationship between the band situated in Iceland, and the producers in Germany. This uncommon method took quite some time, but left the band pleased with the results, as the band is confident this is their best album so far.
The new album is released in Iceland on Bad Taste label, just like their first album, and Páll stated that “being released again on Bad Taste was like being back home”, saying that the label Maus was on didn’t fit the bands profile.
The album is also released in Germany for the European market, which might mean some touring there this fall and also a release of a remix album.
The conversation turns to touring and gigging in Iceland, as they told us that it was a common misunderstanding that the bands´ music didn’t fit the masses, “we’re just a pop band” they stated. A humble statement by members of one of Iceland’s most progressive bands.
Maus is just back from London where they played a concert related to art show Lobster or Fame, Bad Taste’s history art show.
We said goodbye, knowing that big things are on the horizon for Maus, and wondering who the hell “Oneball” is.
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