Úlfur Úlfur recently dropped their sophomore album, ‘Hefnið okkar’, which means “Avenge Us.” Rappers Helgi and Arnar gave us the rundown on each song.
Hefnið okkar (“Avenge Us”)
Helgi: We hadn’t planned to make an intro, but I had a new synthesizer…
Arnar: … I said Helgi, go wild!
A: The beat here is atmospheric, like floating through space just looking cool—the soundtrack for a space opera. There’s a lot of sci-fi references because we are, uh…
H: … not nerds.
A: Yea, never nerds. Fans.
A: “Barn” is bright and goofy, but it’s about not giving a fuck, fuck the haters, do what I want, etc. I rap about shit that is frowned upon in the hip-hop community, like homoerotic stuff or sex transplants, because that’s how few fucks I give.
A: “Skrímskli” feels like you’re in the 80s on your motorcycle wearing a leather jacket driving into the sunset at 200 km/hour doing a whiskey shot—just an outlaw loner creature of the night.
H: “Bróðir” is definitely a catchy inside-the-box kind of song but it says don’t limit yourself, go further, think outside the box.
A: We’re just rapping our butts off here embracing that we are almost old rappers in a young man’s game. Rap music is cool now, but “15” is about the bad years when rap was just a joke in Iceland. We say, “We’ve been doing this for fifteen years. We’ll do it for fifteen more.” But yes, rap has gone full circle and we are finally cool.
A: “When it gets too cold, are you going to freeze to death or are you going to light yourself on fire?”
H: Yea, just be Superman. When it’s cold, you gotta stay cool because freezing is an awkward way to die. Bad posture. Doesn’t look heroic.
H: “MUA” is the only explicitly political song. Corruption, bankers, the guys who are buying all the apartments and throwing students on the street.
A: I am not trying to be deep, I am just saying they are mean. They have the power to do nice things and they aren’t.
A: Have you ever been at Prikið for so long that when you leave the sun is shining and there are seagulls on the street? It’s disgusting. This song is about that feeling, just one long verse rambling about things I am ashamed or confused about. People act like they are 100% in control of their life but nobody is. It’s just pretend. Fuck seagulls though.
H: When I first let my mother hear “Tempo” I had to give her a disclaimer like: “Mamma, I’m not gonna kill myself.” We say some dark stuff but it’s like those conversations you have at 6am in the kitchen after a party. Extremely honest.
Engar hendur (“No Hands”)
H: You know when you can finally take your hands off your bicycle and not fall? That’s “Engar hendur.” We’re proud of us and it’s a good thing to be proud of yourself and to know your mother is proud of you.
A: Especially when you are a rapper in Iceland.
H: When we wrote this album, we thought it was gonna be our last. I wanted to move to Toronto and Arnar wanted to write a book, so it felt right to call the last song “Úlfur” cause that’s been our theme for fifteen or sixteen years.
A: “No matter what, I am a still a wolf.” We will always be a band and we aren’t saying it’s over just that we’ve been doing this for a while and if we were to quit it’d be of natural causes. Two guys going their separate ways, living separate lives.
H: We’ve come a long way, struggled, succeeded, and we want to pass the torch.
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