From Iceland — Set Phasers To Chill: Pan Thorarensen On Iceland’s Chillest Festival

Set Phasers To Chill: Pan Thorarensen On Iceland’s Chillest Festival

Published June 30, 2016

Set Phasers To Chill: Pan Thorarensen On Iceland’s Chillest Festival
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Extreme Chill is a small but well-loved electronic music event that sits in the centre of Iceland’s summer festival calendar. For its sixth edition, the festival has decamped from its regular location in the plains beneath the Snæfellsjökull glacier, and moved to the picturesque southern coastal town of Vík.

We caught up with one of the festival’s founders, Pan Pan Thorarensen—who also plays in the band Stereo Hypnosis—to find out how it all began, what it’s like to go from musician to organiser, and what’s on the menu this year.

How did Extreme Chill get started?
Extreme Chill has been held for six years—five times in Iceland at Hellissandur in Snæfellsnes, then once in Berlin, Germany, for our fifth anniversary. The idea came in August 2009, when my band Stereo Hypnosis held a release concert in Hellissandur. One year later Extreme Chill – Undir Jökli (or “under the glacier,” in English) was held.

How did you enjoy the first festival? It must be very different as an organiser rather than a festivalgoer.
The first edition was great. Biogen played, and many other great artists. Your first adventure is always epic.

Is there a community around the festival who comes every time?
Yes we have our extreme chilled crew, friends, fans and family. A couple of them followed us to Berlin in the summer of 2014. Tonik Ensemble, Skurken, Futuregrapher, Yagya, Ruxpin, M-Band and many more.

What’s the range of music on offer this year?
Ambient, experimental, down-tempo and electronica = Extreme Chill.

Obviously you’re into the lineup, but anything you’re hyped for, personally?
Hans Joachim Roedelius is playing, of Cluster and Harmonia. Roedelius is a pioneer in the field of the exploitation of electrically generated tones, sounds and noises, and is one of the founders of contemporary popular electronic music. He has collaborated with many musicians such as Brian Eno, Holger Czukay, Michael Rother, Konrad Plank, and many others.

What prompted the change of venue for the 2016 edition?
Vík is my favorite place in Iceland. It has a beautiful ambient landscape, and lots of elves and trolls… a new location for new adventures.

Will it be in the town, or in the wilderness somewhere nearby?
We will be in the town. The concerts will be held in the music venue Leikskálar on Saturday and in the town church Víkurkirkja on Sunday, during the day. Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson will close the weekend in Víkurkirkja.

Do you see many international incomers, or mostly Íslendingar?
It will be about half and half, I think.

How’s the atmosphere at Extreme Chill? What is it that makes it special?
The atmosphere is unique—there are sunsets like nowhere else. Reynisfjara is nearby—the most beautiful non-tropical beach in the world. There are some adventurous hiking paths in the area as well. The weekend is also perfect for taking photos, videos and field recordings. It’ll be a unique experience.

Extreme Chill tickets are on sale now, priced at 5900 ISK. Visit for more information.

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