Finding a moment to talk to musician and songwriter Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson, aka Ásgeir, is not easy. After the success of his first album ‘Dýrð í Dauðaþögn,’ Ásgeir’s creamy voice has become an emblem of Icelandic music abroad, evoking the peace of gloomy winter nights. From the United States to Japan, he’s seen it all. Yet, his stamina has seriously been put to test this year, with a three-month-long tour that has taken him across North America and, later this year, Europe.
On the phone from Boston, Ásgeir sounds tired but jovial. “We’re just getting ready for sound check right now,” he says. His Autumn tour began in Seattle only three weeks ago, but since then Ásgeir has travelled along the entire West Coast of the United States, as well as some parts of Canada, including Toronto and Montréal. “We have ten days left here and then two more stops back home after this,” he adds. “Then we head off to Europe.”
Going back to his roots
Ásgeir is soft-spoken and relaxed, just like his music—a wave of melodic folk that has the velvety texture of clouds. His latest album, ‘Afterglow,’ was an effort to go back to his roots and find himself again as a musician after years of touring and seeing the world. “For quite a while I didn’t really write that much so I felt pretty lost when I began recording this album,” he explains. “I went through some bad times before I figured it out. So this is what this album is for me. I had to go through a certain process to do this.”
Retracing his steps back to the beginning is something that Ásgeir seems to enjoy, whether that gives him emotional strength or fuels new ideas. Despite the excitement that comes with touring and performing in front of people, nothing compares to coming home to Iceland. “I had a concert in my hometown not so long ago and I think going back to my roots, where I started out, is something really special,” he says with honesty. “This year during Airwaves I’ll also be in Akureyri. It’s great to be a part of it.”
The power of performance
Even though Ásgeir seems excited about touring, it took him a while to get there. At the beginning of his career, in fact, he wasn’t a fan of giving live performances. “I have become better at it and I enjoy it for different reason—mainly because I can play around with the songs, changing arrangements and things like that,” he explains. “I express myself through music, melodies and chords.”
Seeing him live at Airwaves is always an emotionally charged experience. “I think music always does that,” he says. “If you’re going through something, music is always there to comfort you.” Perhaps he’s right, but there’s no denying that Asgeir’s voice has a unique ability to transport you away, softly tucked into a blanket of words and melodies that will make you feel safe and at peace, wherever you are.
See Ásgeir at Harpa on Friday Nov 3 at 20:50. An extra ticket is required.
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Posted October 5, 2017