The gloomy synthpop band Antimony first sprang onto the scene a little over a year ago, and has spent the time since then reintroducing the slow tempo and melancholy vibe of the 80s to the denizen of Reykjavík. They recently announced that they’re releasing their debut album ‘Wild Life’ this summer, and warming up for Sigur Rós at the Citadel Festival in London. Wow! That’s a way better reason than we needed to interview them! We sent a few questions their way on Facebook chat, check out their answers below.
So first of all, how in the seven hells did you manage to score that amazing slot warming up for Sigur Rós?
Rex Beckett: Wow, good question. Luck? Siggi found a leprechaun…
Birgir Sigurjón Birgisson: Amazing talent.
Rex: Oh right, that too!
Birgir: The real answer is I guess they liked our music and asked us if we wanted to play with them.
Do you know how they heard it?
Birgir: Hmm, I’m not sure, do you guys know?
Sigurður Angantýsson: We just kept spamming Jónsi with our tapes.
Rex: I was introduced to their drummer Orri in the basement at Paloma last summer when he grabbed my arm and said I was “that girl from that band,” and that they were always listening to “So Bad” in their band practices. I don’t know where he saw it first, but they kept listening to it, apparently!
Wow! That’s really cool! What happened after that?
Birgir: It was a lot of emails and texts back and forth until they formally invited us to play, which was very exciting.
Rex: That’s pretty much how it happened.
That’s a hell of a place to be for such a young band. How did the three of you come together in the first place?
Rex: Siggi and I have been together (as ~lovers~) since 2011. We talked about making music together for a while, and started talking about doing a coldwave synth-type band. Then I started working at Babalú, where Biggi worked at the time, and we became friends pretty much instantly. I told him about this project Siggi and I had in mind and he was like: “Ohh do you want a bassist?” and I said yes!
Sigurður: I had been making electronic music for many years but never really knew what to do with it until now. It’s evolved very quickly I have to say…
Birgir: yeah we started writing songs right away.
How have you evolved since that first show at the Bravó poetry night in October 2014?
Birgir: I think that was our second show wasn’t it?
Rex: Yeah, I think so…
Sigurður: Ya blew it!
Rex: Hahaha! Our first show was at Dillon! We’re so different now.
Birgir: Yeah, we’ve changed our style aloooot.
Rex: When we played our first shows we had already written seven fully formed songs; now we don’t play a single one of those anymore. We’ve written about 25, and only play the last ten or so. Style-wise, it’s shifted from 80s goth synth pop to more futuristic alt-pop/electroclash-esque.
Birgir: Yeah. We started out really goth and kind of industrial, but we’ve been exploring the world of pink clouds and pop.
Sigurður: I realised quickly that I like making pop songs and catchy melodies. My goth cred is pretty thin.
Rex: We stopped trying to be so serious. Even when I was actually goth, I got laughed at for wearing white socks, so…
Sigurður: Why so serious? We’re just looser and more confident now.
And then you have an album coming out, right? What can you tell me about it?
Birgir: It’s great! It’s been a very long process, and we’ve recorded a million takes on everything on there and changed the structure of the songs a lot.
Rex: We can tell you that it will be called ‘Wild Life’, it has a bunch of songs on it, and we already released one song off it called “Derelicte,” which has a really nice video.
Birgir: Made by one Helgi Pétur Hannesson.
Rex: There were also some songs on it that took almost a year to make, or that we ditched completely and killed and then brought them back to life later. Stitched them together like frankenstein monsters
You’ve mentioned with “Derelicte” that it deals with the displacement of being young and drunk, as well as with Rex’s experience of immigration and alienation in a new city. Is that a running theme in the album?
Rex: That song isn’t really specifically about an immigrant experience, but more a general sense of displacement of being in the mid-twenties stage of one’s life.
Rex: When I was in my mid-twenties I had just moved here so those things were tied in which each other, but I wrote the lyrics very much in mind of the fact that Biggi would be singing the majority of them – him being in the prime of his mid-twenties. I combined my own sense of that time in my life with a larger shared experience.
Birgir: The running theme of the album is somewhat similar to the theme of that song, although it’s also very dreamy.
What influences did you take with you into the recording process? And do you have a street date on the album?
Birgir: We recorded most of it, if not all of it, at Siggi and Rex’s place, so the influence came from real life experiences, our cats, coffee and tea—at least those were my influences.
Rex: For me, this album is very much a portrait of the year 2015 because I made a point to write almost exclusively based on experiences and feelings I was having (or people around me were having) during that 12-month stretch. I really wanted to keep the ideas closed in that time frame and make it a symbol of what the three of us were doing together last year.
Birgir: Good answer!
Rex: I can’t speak for Siggi’s composition process completely, but I think it had a similar evolution and sort of of-the-moment to it. Siggi?
Sigurður: Yeah, that’s completely true. However, production-wise, I’d the say my biggest influences were 80s new-wave punks like Suicide, Soft Cell and Big Black etc. Although the songs are much more pop-oriented. But I’m experimenting a lot as I go along so… It’s changed so many times.
If you could get anyone to play at your album release party, who would you pick and why?
Rex: Anyone? ANYONE? Depeche Mode, because they are god damn Depeche Mode!
Sigurður: I’d go with that.
Birgir: Oh boy… I’ve never listened to them…
Birgir: Well, not seriously anyway.
Rex: Or Ladytron. Biggi met them in a hot tub once
Birgir: Yaaa Ladytron.
Sigurður: If I’m being honest, I’d say Pavement but… It’d probably not be a good fit.
Birgir: I served them them champagne in the hot tub.
How about from the local scene?
Rex: Trabant. I would bring them back just to play with us.
Birgir: omægad yes! Trabant!
Rex: I’d BEG them.
[bandcamp width=400 height=241 album=1205571947 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 artwork=small]
Sigurður: Gotta go with Kvöl.
Rex: Kvöl are amazing and so underrated.
Awesome! Besides the Citadel Festival, what shows have you got planned for this summer?
Rex: We are going to be playing a few more dates in the UK, but those are currently unconfirmed (bookers, get in touch plz). We are planning to play shows with a bunch of our friends, like Wesen, the aforementioned Kvöl, IDK IDA… We’ll pretty much be out and about as much as anyone wants to book us this summer—we’re good, giving and game. We are in a slightly funny position right now because our friends and “scene” is very much the punk/dark DIY group of kids, but our sound has gotten kind of slick and pop but we don’t quite fit into that world in terms of aesthetic or ideology. We’re a little bit in limbo, but it’s good. we do our own thing and have a lot of fun doing it.
Sigurður: Boom! So true! Pop is the new punk.
‘Wild Life’ hits the streets this summer.