From Iceland — Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Weekend Musician

Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Weekend Musician

Published May 30, 2023

Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Weekend Musician
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Prices in Reykjavík are rising as you read this, post-pandemic layoffs persist and AI is threatening to take over everybody’s job. Today’s generation isn’t worried about affording a house; we’re just happy if our expenses don’t surpass our income. Everyone is hustling. Here’s how one Reykjavíking makes a few more krónur.

Photo by Art Bicnick

Sébastien Nouat, 31, Software Engineer

I occupy my weekdays working on software to tame 3D models of buildings and run sound simulations in them. From 2019 to 2021, I did the un-rewarding task of being an extra: you are mostly paid for waiting for your time to dimly shine in the background of a production and the odds are that you’ll be cut out. In a similar vein of being in front of observers, I modelled for drawing classes; holding a pose for 10 minutes is surprisingly a very satisfying effort.

But my favourite side hustle is music: musicals like Hedwig and the Angry Inch or live soundtracks with my project Wazy Lizard for yoga and improvised dance classes. When I say improvised, I mean it — once the dancers took over, beating their feet and clapping their hands. I had no choice but to listen and watch.

The best thing about my side hustle is the interaction between the music, the teacher and the attendees: we all affect each other and take the lead in shaping the general movement, like a multi-organism. What I like less is carrying all the instruments and gear — though the excitement grows as soon as I start setting it up.

Do’s and don’ts 

The first step to side-hustling as a musician is to decide it’s good enough and go for it! People will only invite you to play if they see you or hear of you doing it, so you just have to get the ball rolling and talk to people. That’s how I shifted from solo improvisation sessions to doing soundtracks for classes. As for the modelling hustle, I can tell you one thing not to do: send a photo of yourself with a bare torso to all the main colleges in Reykjavík saying that you are available as a model for drawing classes. Just don’t!

Money-saving trick

It’s hard to count how much money I have saved by “learning” to dance sober, but since then, parties downtown have never been an expense for me!

Want to share how you’re making ends meet? Email us at with the subject line “Side Hustle.” We’ll happily keep your identity anonymous.

Follow along with the Side Hustle series right here.

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