Once a year, we at Grapevine honour the best and brightest of the Icelandic music scene by giving out awards to some of the artists who light up our lives on the little subarctic island. The You Should Have Heard This award goes to Sólveig Matthildur for her album ‘Unexplained Miseries And The Acceptance Of Sorrow.’ You’re invited to join us for some drinks, laughs, and super special live performances from some of the winners, including Sólveig, at Húrra on January 5th.
While many 23-year-olds are either still in school or settling into the routine of a regular job, Berlin-based Sólveig Matthildur is creating her own innovative path as both a musician and entrepreneur. And it’s already paying off: her debut solo album ‘Unexplained Miseries & Acceptance of Sorrow’ wins this year’s You Should Have Heard This Award.
Miseries and sorrow
Layered with dark synth melodies, Sólveig’s vocals blossom like flowers amidst the piercing darkness of her music. Released in December 2016, the album’s first pressing of 100 CDs quickly sold out. “I’m surprised, because I didn’t really expect this album to be anything,” says Sólveig, humbly. “Now there will be 100 more copies just for Japan, and a record label in Peru will also release it on cassette.”
Regarding the name of the album, Sólveig says, “I’m always checking out unexplained mysteries and stories, and then I misspelled the word and wrote ‘miseries,’ and I thought it was so great.” She wrote and self-produced the songs over a period of eight months. “I was kind of miserable at that time,” she says. “After a month, when I was making more songs, I was kind of just accepting the sorrow.”
Songwriting and synths
Having been a member of synth-punk band Kælan Mikla for the past five years, Sólveig has plenty of experience with synthesizers and production techniques. Her solo album is a combination of improvisation and practice. “Maybe one track is made only with synthetic techniques,” she explains. “And some songs were made because I was trying to learn how to make beats.”
As a synth expert, Sólveig owns various drum machines, samplers and analogue synths. With help and encouragement from friends, she started experimenting with music when she was 19. “I was always interested, but I didn’t feel like I had an opportunity to do it,” she says. “Maybe because I felt stupid, maybe because I’m a woman and everyone playing synthesizers around me was male.”
Fear of darkness
Besides writing and producing her music, Sólveig also books tours around the world. “I can stop whenever I want, and if I want to stay in a little cabin in the woods for two nights, I can just do that,” she laughs. Having made many connections through Kælan Mikla, she’s acing the networking game without even knowing it.
Sólveig and her friend Kinnat Sóley also run a music magazine called Myrkfælni, or “Fear of darkness” in English. Started in January 2017, Myrkfælni covers Icelandic underground music, and has a cult readership that’s spread all over the world. “We’re trying to make it a platform for musicians to join the underground scene,” she explains.
As if that weren’t enough, Sólveig also runs a record label called Hið Myrka Man which has released six albums to date, and hosted a festival called MYRKRAMAKT. With so many projects to run, Sólveig does feel the pressure, finishing: “I hope that soon I can separate me as a musician from me as a businesswoman.”
Come and celebrate the Grapevine Music Awards with us at Húrra on January 5th 2018, and see Sólveig perform live. Entry is free, and beer will be provided by our friends at Víking. Read a previous interview about the album here.