Fated by neighbouring cubicles their freshman years at the Academy of the Arts, Mr. Silla & Mongoose knew they were destined to be creative partners. After conjoining workspaces at the Academy where they study visual arts, Silla and Mongoose, Sigurlaug Gísladóttir and Magnús B. Skarphéðinsson, melted together their musical ventures quite literally when they were both scheduled to play solo at Kaffi Hljómalind at Airwaves 2005.
“The idea was to make the acts sort of glide into each other,” says Silla of the show. “So we ended up essentially playing our entire sets together.” Slowly but surely the two started to collaborate. “I asked Maggi to accompany me on this Electro night I was playing,” says Silla, “and from that we got this idea that maybe he would be on my record, but that ended up being kind of pointless because we were working and collaborating so much on each other’s material. So we just decided to be a band.”
Two years later almost to the day, Mr. Silla & Mongoose are releasing their first record, Foxbite, on Airwaves weekend via the newly formed label rafraf. “We’re really just about to explode as far as putting this out there and starting something new,” says Maggi. “We started this record shortly after we met,” adds Silla. “We’ve found it quite difficult to move on before we got this out.”
Though neither are formally trained in music, Silla and Maggi attribute their interest and well doing in the music world to informal training and a need for expression that brought them to a self-taught artistic form. “You always have to be doing something, I think,” says Maggi. “You try to keep yourself creative and find some release for it,” adds Silla. “Or at least that’s sort of the goal isn’t it, to try to find some medium in which to be creative.” Silla also sings in veteran krútt band múm, which has achieved some notoriety abroad and will be touring extensively this winter.
“From my perspective it’s completely different working as a duo, where in the other instances you’re pretty much putting forth someone else’s material. I don’t feel a great bit of difference between being alone and being onstage with Maggi,” says Silla. “I think we have the same kind of creative freedom as if we were alone,” says Maggi. “It’s just been working incredibly well, all our ideas flow.”
Read a review of Mr. Silla & Mongoose’s recent concert at Organ here.
Mr. Silla & Mongoose play Friday night of Iceland Airwaves 2007, 20:00 at NASA.