Inspired by soviet aerobics videos, Ultraflex’s debut album ‘Visions of Ultraflex’, is sure to get you up and moving. You only need to check out the band’s defining single “Work Out Tonight” to be lured into their pop disco world. This track is a certified bop, with its whirlwind of techno beats, groovy synths and dreamy vocals, plus the music video increases the amount of upbeat energetic soviet energy to a level almost off the scale. Reminiscent of an 80s home video, it offers a combination of cool irony and chic aesthetics, featuring cycling shorts, vintage track jackets, gym socks, neon high heels and blue eyeliner. The band’s too-cool attitude and detached facial expressions will make you feel like you really are at the gym—you’ve never seen someone swim sarcastically in a lake until now.
Visions of Ultraflex: An album to sweat to
Ultraflex is comprised of Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir (a.k.a. Special K and a member of Reykjavíkurdætur) and Kari Jahnsen (a.k.a. Farao). The dynamic duo broke onto the scene in May with their dance debut “Olympic Sweat,” which, like “Work Out Tonight,” was accompanied by an equally dance-y music vid. This single preceded the release of their debut LP which came out on October 30th.
“I think our main goal was to have as much fun as possible,” Kari says. She’s all smiles, dressed in a comfy sweater: a toned-down version of the moody neon-clad sports star she portrays on film “We decided we wanted to make danceable music, disco, club stuff; and for the visuals we had this idea to take inspiration from soviet aerobic videos that I was hung up on at the time.”
The pair admit they weren’t really sure what to expect when they started this project, but they’re very pleased with the result. “It’s much better than we thought it would be,” Kari says. “It’s going really well and we’re having a lot of fun with the project.”
The writing and recording process for ‘Visions of Ultraflex’ all happened before the pandemic hit, but many of the singles were released while Katrín was in Iceland and Kari was in Germany. “I think we’ve done a really good job of working together from different countries,” Katrín says.The pair explains that they hold daily Skype meetings each morning. They clearly run a tight ship.
“I think Katrín brings a lot of the humour, especially in the lyrics,” Kari says. (See the track “Full of Lust” for reference: “You’re not really my type but this is your night / Can’t find the guy that I like and you’re the second best.”) Kari also compliments her bandmate on her eye for visuals. Katrín has proven her talent for aesthetics in her solo projects, as well as with Ultraflex.
“Kari is a producer and a very successful one,” says Katrín. “She’s a DJ and she DJs a lot of obscure disco.” Katrín describes Kari’s production as “musical joyfulness”. Holding a mug of warm oat-milk matcha in her hands, she adds that Kari is also the “master of matcha”.
Ultraflex: fashion icons
Collaborating comes easily to Kari and Katrín, who work together like spandex and leg-warmers. Speaking of spandex, fans have probably been wondering where Ultraflex sourced the iconic vintage clothes featured in their music videos. “Oh, we have done so much shopping,” Katrín says, naming HUMANA in Berlin as one of their favourite spots. Ultraflex say they also borrowed a lot of clothes from the band CYBER, who are good friends of theirs.
Favourite tracks and future plans
When it comes to their favourite track on the album, Ultraflex agree on the aforementioned “Work Out Tonight.” “Production wise, ‘Work Out Tonight’ is my favourite,” Kari says. “The beat and the bass is just so good. It’s just really groovy.”
“If there’s one song that best describes Ultraflex it’s ‘Work Out Tonight,’” Katrín agrees. She also names “Man U Sheets” and “Papaya” as other favourites.
In fact, ‘Visions of Ultraflex’ has so much vision that it’s no surprise the band are already working on new music. “We have a new theme for our next album,” Katrín says. “I don’t know if we are gonna—are we gonna reveal it, Kari?” Kari laughs and shakes her head. While we wait, fans of Ultraflex can look forward to more upcoming music videos from the band, who will be releasing a video for every song on ‘Visions of Ultraflex’.
Stream ‘Visions of Ultraflex’ on all platforms.
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