From Iceland — Upside Down: Auður, Up Front & Behind The Scenes

Upside Down: Auður, Up Front & Behind The Scenes

Published November 8, 2017

Upside Down: Auður, Up Front & Behind The Scenes
Steindór Grétar Jónsson
Photo by
Art Bicnick

In his music video for ‘I’d Love,’ Auður’s world gets literally turned upside down. He awakens, enters a mysterious room and begins to sing. Before long, the space around him starts spinning, flipping him upside down, compelling him to find his footing.

The ambitious video was directed by the singer-songwriter himself, with noted music video creator Elí co-directing, while Kristinn Arnar Sigurðsson oversaw production design. “Even though I thought up the concept, it would have been impossible without them,” says Auður. “It took us a while to build the set. After a day of shooting, I wasn’t happy with the shots, so we reshot everything. It was a learning experience.”

Auður, whose real name is Auðunn Lúthersson, first made a name for himself composing for others—most famously, writing the music for Emmsjé Gauti’s smash hit ‘Strákarnir.’ His talents earned him a spot at Red Bull Music Academy and now Sony is sending him to Japan to write music for J-pop stars. “I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into, and that’s really exciting,” he says. “It’s very different from Iceland, where everybody is hands-on and writes their own music. It’s liberating to make music that suits others. But of course I try to keep the best stuff for myself!”

Creative release

Auðunn admits that his dual role—writing for others, while starring in his solo project—can be tricky. His album ‘Alone,’ released last February, was a solo effort in the strictest sense, thematically rooted in his sadness during a time when his girlfriend lived abroad.“It was a whole album about being lonely, made alone, in one key, with one microphone,” he confesses.

“It was a whole album about being lonely, made alone, in one key, with one microphone.”

Since then, he’s opened up to collaboration while working out of the 101derland studio along with members of Sturla Atlas, amongst others. He feels his new music and upcoming album will bear witness to this. “It’s funny to see other artists front my music,” he says. “It doesn’t bother me, but it’s a weird experience. Working in 101derland, co-writing and collaborating has opened things up for me. I’ve grown and developed by getting creative input and hearing different viewpoints.”

Auðunn also performs comedy with Improv Iceland, and was one of the select few who got accepted to the Iceland Academy of the Arts acting programme last spring. Soon after starting his studies, he realized he couldn’t give his all to both disciplines—so he quit. “I followed my heart in committing myself to music,” he says. “I have no doubt that it was the right decision. The Auður project gives me creative release, and I enjoy combining the artforms, directing music videos and preparing elaborate live shows.”

Mindfulness chocolate

Before Airwaves, Auðunn teamed up with chocolate makers Omnom to create his own variety of chocolate bars with caramel pebbles. “I’m interested in how the senses work together,” he says. “I’ve heard a lot of musicians talk about seeing colours in music, and I was excited about connecting music to taste. Sometimes, I’ll be at Subway while a Beach Boys masterpiece is playing on the radio. And I’ll just think “whatever,” while eating my tuna sub. But it’s better to take a moment of mindfulness to focus on what you’re tasting and how it pairs with music.”

Unfortunately, the chocolate is not available in stores, only at Auður events. “They’re gonna trade bars of this on the dark web,” he jokes.

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