From Iceland — Track by Track: 'Vagg & Velta' by Emmsjé Gauti

Track by Track: ‘Vagg & Velta’ by Emmsjé Gauti

Published July 28, 2016

Track by Track: ‘Vagg & Velta’ by Emmsjé Gauti
Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Since the release of his third solo album ‘Vagg & Velta’, Emmsjé Gauti has been packing venues and selling out of merch. Catch the phenomenon for yourself at Innipúkinn Festival, Iceland Airwaves and more.

Here are his thoughts on ‘Vagg & Velta’:

“Busy” feat. Dóri DNA (prod.Logi Pedro)

There was this one studio session where my phone wouldn’t stop ringing and I was constantly being asked to perform. I’m not complaining, I love being busy but that’s how the chorus “I’m too busy, call my manager” came to life. Dóri DNA recorded a verse as a joke but when Logi and I heard it, we liked it so much we decided to keep it.


“Fíla þig” feat. Unnsteinn Manuel (prod.Joe Frazier)

This is probably the most poppy song on the album. It’s about vampires, making-out, candle light, coconut oil and Vesturbærinn. Unnsteinn has such a beautiful voice so I had to include him on the album. It’s a bit like we’re singing a love duet to one another, which it’s fitting because I love Unnsteinn.

“Ómar Ragnarsson” (prod.Joe Frazier)

I pitched the product placement “Tjékkaðu bísinn mafakka, ég tek lýsi mafakka (check this bicep motherfucker, take your Lýsi motherfucker)” to the marketing department of Lýsi. It didn’t work but I will demand a high five from Þorri Þorskur at some point. It wasn’t my weirdest meeting actually. Once, I had a meeting with a phone company where I tried to sell them a million copies of my first album. The song is named after Ómar Ragnarsson because he’s always in a good mood like me.

“Reykjavík” (prod.Björn Valur)

Björn Valur is the guy usually standing behind the DJ table while Úlfur Úlfur or I perform and he’s really talented. He sent me a beat, which I listened to on the way to his house. It’s a five-minute walk and when I arrived I’d already finished the chorus and first verse.

“Djammæli” (prod.ReddLights)

‘’Strákarnir” had just been released and quickly become extremely popular. I got a fever all of a sudden and called my mom. I always call my mom when I get sick and it inspired the lyrics. “mamma viltu mæla mig því ég er orðin veikur (mom could you measure me because I’m sick)”

“Stormur” feat. Bent (Prod.Helgi Sæmundur)

This was a collaboration I’d dreamed of for a long time. Bent came up with the idea that we’d take turns rapping every four lines, a technique popular many years ago. We wrote the song at Íslenski Barinn where we took turns writing. Bent has a line so crude, I can’t even say it out loud.

“Strákarnir” (Prod.Auðunn Lúthersson)

I got a message from Auðunn Lúthersson sending me a few beats. I listened to one called “Danish Cousine” and it was one of those songs that immediately clicked. It wrote it in half an hour and recorded it with Logi Pedro the day after. I remember so clearly asking Logi what he thought and him saying he he liked it but wasn’t sure it would become a hit. Some songs need to be digested and this one is definitely one of those.

“Loftsteinn” (Prod.Auðunn Lúthersson)

After having released ‘’Strákarnir’’ Auðunn and I met for coffee and created another song. The chorus was ready and we were convinced it was fire. The verses however weren’t as quick. In fact it took me such a long time to write them, I almost gave up. In the end it all came together though and it’s one of my favourite songs today.

“Pappír” (Prod.Björn Valur)

The world revolves around paper. I wish I could live in a world without paper, but it does provide opportunities. I’ve used many different methods in order to obtain paper, some not very smart methods. This song is mostly about paper.


“Frumskógur” (Prod.Björn Valur)

I sat in the windowsill of Prikið and looked over the dance floor. I got a bit scared because I saw lions, hippos, hyenas and monkeys. It was like I’d put on jungle shades. ‘’Frumskógur’’ (Jungle) is about drinking culture and bootycalls.

“Bitur” feat. Gísli Pálmi (Prod.ReddLights)

Gísli Pálmi and I last made a song together ten years ago. It’s called ‘’egotrippin’’ and can be found somewhere online. There wasn’t really a reason for why we didn’t work together in such a long time but now suddenly felt right.


“15.000” feat. Úlfur Úlfur (Prod.Joe Frazier/Reddlights)

This is the 15,000st song I’ve created with Úlfur Úlfur. It features fun lyrics, which put smiles on our faces. The chorus is about us making love with the devil after good flirting. My favourite line however is one of Arnar Freyr’s: “Shoutout to 2pac you taught me how to be a man.”

“Silfurskotta” feat. Aron Can (Prod.ReddLights)

I sat on the toilet when I saw a Silfurskotta (silverfish) run by me. I thought to myself that I was like the silverfish, but pretending to be a golden boy in between. I asked Aron Can if he heard a chorus to the song and he sent me a phone recording later that day. We recorded him and ended the song on the quartet that started the whole album. This is my favourite song from the album.

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