Seated amongst countless disassembled synthesizers, Grétar Mar Sigurðsson and Atli Steinn Bjarnason share an interesting dynamic. Together they form genre-bending electronic music duo Axis Dancehall. The boys invited me to their garage-turned-music studio to show me their recent work, talk about their process and give me a glimpse into their world. “We don’t know exactly how to put these synthesizers back together,” Grétar says. Adds Atli: “But that’s just a part of the ride!”
Atli and Grétar met in Breiðholt—Reykjavík’s ‘ghetto’—where they spent their teenage years strolling through the neighbourhood listening to music. “When I heard ‘Love Island’ by Fatboy Slim, it changed my life,” says Atli. “The [Breiðholt] noise-pollution was also an inspiration for me,” Grétar adds. When asked why they make music, Grétar yells: “To get this party started!”
Thoughtful and eclectic
Their demo album ‘2:20 AD 2017’—released last summer—is a thoughtful and eclectic mix of moody electro and breakbeat with tasteful house influences. Their recent song “Originals” is a powerful and drum-heavy track with loud and grumpy vocals. “We are really into that 80s drum sound that goes ‘phew!’“ Atli explains. “Yeah, and all this like 90s-blast-from-the-past stuff,“ Grétar added.
Axis Dancehall is a creative force whose story has only begun. “Our new album is on the way and we have a lot of ideas.“ Grétar says. “The other day we slowed down our songs by 200% and listened to them while soaking in the hot tub.“ Atli points out. Grétar adds: “It was an interesting experiment!“
You can see Axis Dancehall live in concert at Húrra on March 13th at the fourth instalment of Grapevine Grassroots, a regular mixed bag event of up-and-coming local talent. Other acts on the night’s program are the band Bagdad Brothers, solo artists Freyja and Laser Life, a poetry reading by Brynjar Jóhannesson and ‘Fléttan’, a performance by Andrea Vilhjálmsdóttir & Lóa Björk Björnsdóttir.
See Axis Dancehall perform at Grapevine Grassroots #4 at Húrra on March 13th with Bagdad Brothers, Freyja and Laser Life.