Kef LAVÍK is the best-kept secret in the Icelandic music scene. They are two guys in their early twenties hailing from Höfn í Hornafirði, way jaded beyond their years, who for the past year or so have churned out three EPs of absurd and detached autotuned electropop about love, money, drugs and sex. They have gathered a cult following despite having never performed live and refusing to give their names—but agreed to an e-mail interview.
I’d heard that one of the band members were previously in a hardcore rock act, which they confirm. Of their change in direction, they say, “ It doesn’t matter what type of music you make (or art for that matter) as long as it gives you something. If it gives anything to somebody else that’s an added bonus.”
When asked about the division of labour in the band, both say that one of them makes the music and the other does the lyrics and vocals. “But,” they add, “we like to look at kef LAVÍK as a single entity with a unified front.”
They were discovered just by putting music up on SoundCloud and Spotify, and also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Recalling their rise, they note that “people first took notice of the song ‘Í sjálfum mér’ (‘In my self’). That’s a catchy and danceable tune with a strong sense of humour. Our biggest fans seem to be in the countries educational institutions, we have gotten a slew of requests performing at high school and college events.”
It’s notable that young guys from a remote village are so in touch with the darker side of the human psyche. Of the shadowy subjects they often discuss, kef LAVÍK avers: “The thing about the dark sides is that you can find them everywhere, whether in Tel Aviv or Hvammstangi. A simple way to get in touch with it is being fifteen years old and asking your cousin to go to the liqor store for you, another to buy drugs from Siggi Sýra (Siggi Acid), or simply entering a relationship. You just have to be curious enough.”
Kef LAVÍK have recently released their third EP, ‘Vesæl í kuldanum’ (“Miserable and Cold”), and they say all three EPs are part of a whole: “They all tell the same story. It’s a concept piece that mixes upbeat electro pop with heavier subject matter. The gist of the trilogy is an exploration of gender relations, masculinity, drugs and depression. To explore those themes we tell a sincere story of a young couple that uses a lot of drugs, but still try to maintain some sort of loyalty to each other. Naturally the results are mixed, and the consequences of that form the subject matter of the trilogy.”
The band members say that they try to use illegal drugs as little as they can, but as much of the legal ones as possible. They are now moving to Reykjavík, where one of them is going to collage and the other one plans to work as a chef. They’ll hold their first concert before the end of the year, they say, “and are currently working on an EP titled ‘Songs about fucking and/or using drugs’.”