Bónus Plötur: The Most Elusive Record Label In Iceland - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Bónus Plötur: The Most Elusive Record Label In Iceland

Bónus Plötur: The Most Elusive Record Label In Iceland

Published May 18, 2017

Elías Þórsson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Most record labels want to move millions of units, and all self-respecting label executives want P. Diddy-esque exposure—but that’s not the reality of independent label Bónus Plötur.

“I’d rather you don’t take my picture,” says Krummi, the elusive man who runs the show at Bónus Plötur. “I don’t want to be presented as a front for this and take away from the artists who have given us their work.”

The label is run out of Kaffi Vínyl on Hverfisgata, the city’s premier vegan restaurant. Its name derives from Bónus Skór the quirky shoe shop that stood where Vínyl is now located, which for decades was run by a man with a passion for selling shoes. And as with the café, and the shoe shop before it, the key word is “local.”

“All the artists I’ve chosen have a direct connection to the café,” says Krummi. “For instance the first band I picked, Konsulant, had just held a show here, 7Berg painted the menu and Linnea from Döpur used to work in the kitchen.”

Hard to track down

We’d tried writing about the label before, without luck. Krummi explains that there is a good reason for its almost shy approach. “The idea behind the project was to give something back to Ýmir and Arndís, the owners of Vínyl,” he says. “A really good, small group formed the project, and I don’t want to ruin that, which is why I don’t like talking to the media about it. I want this to grow organically.”

The approach to the media also fits the “business” model, as just 30 copies of each record are released, with Krummi claiming that despite the project’s growing popularity, that won’t change. The small supply has created high demand, and the label has gained a dedicated fanbase.

“There’s a man who comes on every release day before we start selling and demands to get the albums that are marked one and two,” says Krummi. “The other day another guy came in and demanded to buy the last two of three Geimfarar albums, which we had planned on keeping, and he offered us 15,000 ISK for them. But if people we know ask us nicely, then we just give them copies.”

To date, Bónus Plötur has released four singles, one for each month of its existence, and will continue to do so throughout the year. The next release, due May 24, will see bands Bárujárn, Kuldaboli and Russian Girls join hands.

Problems with Bónus.

The obvious last question to ask Krummi is whether they have gotten into trouble with supermarket chain Bónus over the use of the name. But as he explains, it’s been another supermarket that he has had problems with.

“I actually found out that Bónus owns the name Bónus Plötur, because apparently they had planned to start releasing records at one point,” he says. “But they haven’t given us any trouble, it’s maybe more Krónan we should be upset with because they basically stole our old logo and made it their own.”

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