LaFontaine was DJing at a school party when he had a chance encounter with Icelandic electronic music stalwart Addi Exos. Exos saw his potential and entered LaFontaine into his first-ever DJ competition, where he placed second. Since then, LaFontaine has developed as a DJ and music producer in Iceland, playing sets at festivals like Iceland Airwaves and Secret Solstice along the way.
His road as a musician has been winding, and full of exploration and experimentation. He’s produced music under several alter egos including MTHMPHTMN and He is she, though he now focuses his efforts entirely as LaFontaine.
In 2012, when he got more serious about his music, LaFontaine started organizing club nights at Faktorý with good friend and collaborator Alexander Ágústsson. Shortly after, they started Rafarta Records together, which will be releasing its seventh album on February 10.
I sat down with LaFontaine and learned about his take on the electronic music scene in Iceland, what we can expect from his set at Sónar, the upcoming release of his newest album, and the details about his serendipitous encounter with Addi Exos.
Doing something right
What is your general opinion about the electronic music scene in Iceland?
It’s easy to work with everyone and there is a really supportive environment here. People aren’t tearing each other down. Everyone wants you to get better. The community is really small and I met almost everyone in the scene my first year. Everyone wants to collaborate with each other, and the music is constantly evolving too. A few years ago techno was really big but now house is more popular. I could never play the same techno I did three years ago in a club today.
And what’s this about you maybe collaborating with fellow Icelandic electronic musician Futuregrapher?
When tourists come for Iceland Airwaves, people always know of Futuregrapher. He’s made great electronic music for a long time. He just recently asked me if I wanted to make music with him. I was stoked. because when Futuregrapher asks you to collaborate, you know you’re doing something right.
And when you get to play at Sónar you know you’re doing something right too![laughing] That’s true. I’m so stoked to play Sónar. I think it’s going to be really good for me. Press is coming from all over the world and that will help me share my music [abroad].
Tell us what people can expect from your Sónar set.
I have done a lot of DJing, but what’s interesting about my Sónar performance is that I’m doing a live set. People are going to be able to come to the show and feel heavy bass and the sound will be very ambient and dance-like. A friend will be performing with me, helping with synths and atmosphere. You will want to close your eyes, lay on the floor and feel the music.
Since entering the electronic music scene in 2012, you’ve been on a wild ride. Share a bit of that journey with us. How did you get to where you are now?
When I went to high school I met a girl randomly and she asked me to DJ this school pre-party. She said I could play whatever I wanted in the first hours before people started to get drunk and request Rihanna and shit like that. So I started playing [Polish music producer] Robert Babicz and then all of a sudden Addi Exos, who was the brother of the girl holding the party, walks in with a DJ mixer for me and hears the song I was playing. He liked that I was playing Babicz and told me some stories about him. After that, Addi contacted me on Facebook and told me he entered me into a DJ competition without me knowing it.
How did the DJ competition go?
I’d never played in a competition before so I called my uncle Guðlaugur [from Fufanu] and he taught me how to play on turntables. I ended up in second place. Addi got me a gig at NASA after that.
Damn, that’s a sweet gig to land. And sometime after that is when you met Alex, your good friend and collaborator at Rafarta Records?
Yeah, we noticed that we were listening to the same type of techno, so we started with some ideas on how we could work together. We started doing these club nights back in 2012 at Faktorý. And then we started Rafarta and released music. Alex is the reason why my first EP was released; he hooked me up with a label he also released with. We are really good friends. Since then I’ve been working a lot on my own stuff.
Free track alert!
What are you working on right now?
Well, I can’t share too much about it but I am releasing a record soon. I am taking a lot of time to put something out that reflects the kind of music that I want people to know LaFontaine for. I’m working on it with people like Áslaug from Samaris, Krummi from Mínus and Legend, Krákan from Shades of Reykjavík [which LaFontaine is also a member of], and Fufanu.
What will you do after Sónar?
I’m going to play a few other festivals like Saga Fest, Secret Solstice and hopefully Airwaves again. I really want to play abroad because I’ve never done that before, especially in Berlin and New York. I want to continue working on my music and make this my living and tour the world. For me, I’m making music because I think it’s fun and people seem to enjoy it. It just feels really normal for me.
PS: here are two songs he’s going to work with at Sónar… he hasn’t shared it with anyone else so it’s like an exclusive 😉
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