Gangly: The Anonymous Rise Of Iceland’s Most Mysterious Band - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Gangly: The Anonymous Rise Of Iceland’s Most Mysterious Band

Gangly: The Anonymous Rise Of Iceland’s Most Mysterious Band

Published May 31, 2017

Elías Þórsson
Photos by
Art Bicnick

“We want to be photographed in the dark, don’t show our faces!” exclaims one of the members of Gangly, who, intentionally or not, have taken the title of “Iceland’s most mysterious band.” Their almost cloak-and-dagger approach to publicity started with an email sent to the media with the subject line “Fuck With Someone Else,” containing just a link to a track of the same name.

It took a whole year for the secret to get out. It turned out that Gangly was three familiar faces—Úlfur Alexander Einarsson of Oyama, Sin Fang’s Sindri Már Sigfússon, and Jófríður Ákadóttir of Samaris, Pascal Pinon and JFDR. “We’re all known for our other projects, and people have these preconceived notions of what we do,” explains Sindri. “We wanted the music to speak for itself.”

Their approach caught the attention of the public, with plenty of potential names being bandied about. “It was pretty funny,” says Jófríður. “People started competitions to find out who we were. Úlfur was even at parties where people discussed who we might be, but nobody thought to mention him.”

Leather doves

It wasn’t just the mystery that enthralled people—the track was praised for its dark aesthetic and melodic melodrama. And as Jófríður explains, the name Gangly is directly related to their dingy sound. “The first song we made was pretty emo, and we wanted something that would fit with that,” she says. “After that it just stuck,” adds Sindri. “It was either that, or Leather Doves. Well, that was my suggestion.”

“People started competitions to find out who we were—Úlfur was even at parties where people discussed who we might be.”

The project quickly took on a life of its own, and began growing organically. Three years later, the band have still only released four songs. “It’s kind of like slow beer,” adds Úlfur. “Isn’t that a thing? The longer time you spend on something, the better it gets.” Sindri says that the project has benefitted from the sedate pace, allowing them to keep songs on the back burner and return to them later with fresh ears. “I think it’s amazing,” says Jófríður. “It’s the only project I’ve worked on like it.”

The three agree that Gangly helps them to harness different parts of their creativity than their other projects. In fact, the process started when Úlfur asked Sindri to produce a song that didn’t fit his other bands. “I see it as a way to create a home for a kind of music that maybe doesn’t fit elsewhere,” says Úlfur.

First contract, first tour

Last year, the band signed a contract with AMF, a sub-label of Universal. They returned from their first international tour, which took them across Europe. And like their music, it was all smooth sailing—almost. “It’s been the least problematic tour I’ve ever been on,” says Sindri. “We’re a drama-free band, even though the music is dramatic. I think we channel all our frustrations into the music.”

“But we did miss the train from London to Paris,” adds Úlfur. “Me and Sindri, that is. Jófríður caught the train. She was staying in another place, and Sindri managed to fuck it up.” Sindri laughs, finishing: “Over the last ten years I’ve had a tour manager telling me what to do, and where to go, so I never had to do much thinking. Thankfully, Úlfur and Jófríður did most of the thinking.”

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