From Iceland — Hope Is Like A Dog Bitten By A Sheep

Hope Is Like A Dog Bitten By A Sheep

Published November 23, 2011

Hope Is Like A Dog Bitten By A Sheep

Multi-Instrumentalist and songwriter Gímaldin recorded in Russia for a while, but is now back at home among friends, some of whom have made an album with him. Few lyricists working today have a better grasp of the Icelandic language, but sometimes he can be hard to fathom in any tongue. But that won’t keep us from trying.  
What exactly is a Gímaldin?
Gímaldin is a famous breed of Turkmen race horse. It probably has something to do with my musical experience as a teenager, when everything revolved around speed and muscles—and that’s not in the contemporary sense of white powder or tanned sociopaths, more like Randy Rhoads and Mickey Rourke
Your new album is called ‘Þú ert ekki sá sem ég valdi’ (“You Are Not the One That I Chose”). Is this a barbed indictment of our President, or something more personal?
Any way you want it. When thirty-something males enter into the second Capricorn Era, they often need to re-evaluate their life and being. This summation is supposed to be about finding ways to become a better you—however, many find themselves confronting a feeling that they are not altogether happy about anything in their life and personas, and would like to change everything or better yet, become someone else—which puts a new spin to bettering yourself.
As tautological as it may sound, this re-evaluation period is quite possibly something Icelanders are either going through, or aren’t and should be. The Capricorn passes over the male’s life a couple of times during the lifecycle, which is a nicer way of saying that not everyone matures into this revision thinking at the same age. Following that train of thought, there is nothing really to exempt the President. Or as Keith Richards once said, or someone else (maybe my copy-editor), “Revision makes for Re-Vision.”
You have spent a lot of time in Russia. Is there anything we can learn from the Russian experience, other than that our politicians should spend more time flying rescue planes bare-chested or searching for lost treasure?
A couple of clichés come to mind. “Don’t put all your exes in one basket” and “Money well-earned is by no means Howard Stern.” Or even: “A day on the bus is like a day off from work.” But seriously, many praise the Russians for putting their “excess” monies into a fund, which then made for a guarantee when the first economic crash took place. That’s always a sensible move. Other than that, military background really shouldn’t matter all that much. We had a Norwegian double-agent as PM and his urban guerrilla training didn’t really make much difference, did it? [This is a reference to former Prime Minister Geir Haarde, who is indeed of Norwegian descent].
The centrepiece of your new album seems to be a trilogy of songs about body parts. These can be roughly translated as: “My Flesh is Growing,” “Her Hands Are Too Big,” and “Butt Girl.” Are you having weight control issues?
I’d refer this question to the proper Board of Fat Fanatics, we wouldn’t want to burst their bubble, or capsules—or even bust their caps.
Hope is like a dog that’s been bitten by a sheep?” Care to elaborate, or is it self-explanatory?
The premise is always that the dog would be quite sad if he’d be bitten by a sheep. Anyway, this is something you have to picture in your head and then you either get it or you don’t.
You composed an ode to Ulrika Eriksson, MTV presenter and live-in girlfriend of Cardigans’ songwriter Peter Svensson. What gives? Is she a metaphor for a better world or are you simply being a ‘Lovefool’?
For a while it was not such a bad world, your life revolved around watching MTV and having your favourite presenters. Then either the world changed or MTV did. Anyway, rockers obsessing about public personas is a nice cliché and within the acceptable boundaries of gender stereotyping. Remember the Winona song and the Winona album by Daniel Lanois? I also seem to remember some band dedicating a song to Taiwanese actress Hsu Chi. [Japanese artist Tsuki Amano also made an album called Winona Riders, and another called Sharon Stones].
Two of your collaborators are Gísli Már and Gísli Helgason. You yourself are also a Gísli. Does this ever create confusion in the studio?
Confusion is the name of the game, rock without confusion is like foam pop music without the “umcha-umcha.” Prince was confused and then he played his best guitar solos.
The best time we had in the studio was when our band photographer, also a Gísli, showed up. I think we never told as many Gísli Rúnar jokes in one afternoon [Gísli Rúnar is an Icelandic comedian known for his “Where is Gísli?”routine].
One of the albums’ standout tracks is called “Ballad of the Icelandic WMD’s” and is among other things a comment on racism. Do you think xenophobia is stepping in to fill the void left by the banking collapse, as often happens among troubled nations?     
Actually the song is from 2004, and if the verses are relevant now, then it just goes to show that our problem runs deep and that we really need to exert ourselves if things are not to turn even uglier. But besides that, one remembers many examples of opportunistic politicians trying to harness racism to their cause, though often it doesn’t necessarily reflect on any authentic positions, the key word being “opportunistic politics” – The outcome, however, is the same.

You can purchase ‘Þú ert ekki sá sem ég valdi’ at Smekkleysa on Laugavegur or from

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!