A resurgence of young indie rock is gradually sweeping through the underground of the Reykjavík music scene. Among these emerging bands is Skoffín, the project of 23-year old Jóhannes Bjarki Bjarkason, who recently released his first album, ‘Bjargar Heiminum,’ through the up and coming Post-Dreifing collective. It’s a much needed breath of fresh guitar-driven pop air, full of witty Icelandic poems and jangly riffs.
A self-described “wannabe indie soft-boy,” Jóhannes grew up playing bass in a number of garage rock bands, performing for several years in the Músiktilraunir battle of the bands contest. “The last time I took part was in 2016, and that was the first kind of Skoffín song that was played live,” Jóhannes recalls. “After that I was tired of never seeming to go further with my music. So I quit pursuing the idea of a whole band and started doing things by my own ear.”
Crazy egotistical rock and roll pipe dreams
Skoffín officially began that year, with Jóhannes flying to London to record an EP at his older brother’s studio. “It was an amazing time and a wonderful experience to have as a first experience for a full grown artist,” he says. Things slowed down after and the project didn’t fully take shape until the end of 2018. “That’s why I feel with this album, even though it’s been ongoing for three years, this is the first real full thing an audience can expect when they go see me live.”
His music and live performances are a combination of deeply sincere feelings and “crazy egotistical rock and roll pipe dreams.”
“It’s this very arrogant, in your face, I-know-best, bad attitude,” he says.” But in the end everything about this album is sincerity. It’s coming to terms with mistakes.” The recording process itself was a process of embracing mistakes, like voice cracks and false notes, and incorporating them into the final mix. “There’s a lot of things that aren’t perfect and that’s what makes it so good.”
Influenced heavily by bands such as Botnleðja and legendary Icelandic singer Megas, the songs on the album, sung in Icelandic, revolve around day-to-day life, Jóhannes’ suburban upbringing, and friendships. “It’s just stuff that revolves around me and expressing my thoughts and my personal beliefs in contrast to the climate around me,” he says. “I don’t think there’s a single element that ties them up together, but they all feel quite like they’re all whole songs that stand very well on their own.”
In contrast to the simplicity of his themes, Jóhannes’ onstage attitude is all about the ironic bravado that his lyrics convey. “I wouldn’t say it’s a persona, per se, but it’s a bit of a switch and it gets very arrogant, very egotistical,” he says. “I’ve always been a fan of stage antics. It adds velocity and a bit of, you never know what’s gonna happen next. There’s no script, there’s nothing set.”
Likewise, there is no script at this early stage of Skoffín’s career; the album opens many doors for whatever could happen next.
Skoffín’s debut album ‘Bjargar Heiminum’ is available on Spotify and Bandcamp.
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