CYBER are too busy to meet for an interview. Since beginning as a spin-off of the buzzworthy rap group Reykjavíkudætur, in their current incarnation they’re so busy they hardly even have time to perform.
Now a high-flying sensation in their own right, CYBER have proven to be chameleons, transforming themselves on a regular basis to fit the dynamic of their current mode or mood. From presenting as goth-horror spectres in all-black clothing and leather, the multitasking trio of Jóhanna Rakel, Salka Valsdóttir and Þura Stína have shifted to wearing stylish pantsuits for their office-based concept album ‘BIZNESS,’ released quite suddenly last November.
The album was produced entirely by Salka, and puts the trio’s hard-working attitude at the forefront. It is also, incidentally, the first Icelandic hip-hop album to be entirely produced by a woman.
The concept of ‘BIZNESS’ started from a place of inner determination for the band to become more business-oriented in order to succeed. “We were broke,” says Salka, the only member with a gap in her iCal for a Skype interview. “We had a goal that this year we would actually create a company and have our shit together.”
The three musicians have different approaches to handling business. “Þura can handle her shit—she manages to get things done,” says Salka. “But me and Jóhanna are terrible business women. We’re very all over the place and very anxious people. So it’s more like a dream for us.”
Wealthy, powerful, lost
Salka describes the ‘BIZNESS’ concept as a sort of utopian office through which CYBER explored their shared fascination with the business world. The idea also had roots in the band’s day-to-day reality of trying to find ways to generate a solid income, which then spilled over into their aesthetic.
“Some of the clothes we’ve been wearing have been like a rich girl whose father owns a really big company or something,” says Salka. “Some of it is more like attire for the office party. What we have in mind is to seem sort of wealthy or powerful, but at the same time kind of lost. We think a lot about what we’re wearing, how it affects the way we perform, and how it all works together. It makes the visual world around the content we’re making feel more whole.”
This advanced approach is also woven into the album’s soundscape and lyrical content. ‘BIZNESS’ describes a day in an office, from morning until just before quitting time, when one woman finally breaks the glass ceiling and takes her rightful place as the boss.
Salka recorded most of it in her home, using common objects from office life. “A lot of the sounds were produced from office supplies,” she says. “Many of the samples and beats came from printers, pens, staplers, the copy machine, and stuff like that,” she says. “I made them into drum sounds, or used them to compliment the groove or add to the beats. A lot of it was me recording printers in my house. It’s very funny.”
The result is a sharp, witty and well-observed work that cements CYBER’s place as fast-rising future CEOs of the Reykjavík hip hop scene.
‘BIZNESS’ is out now. Find upcoming events on Facebook.