From Iceland — Why Not? Reykjavík’s Underground Scene Gets A New Home

Why Not? Reykjavík’s Underground Scene Gets A New Home

Published May 1, 2018

Why Not? Reykjavík’s Underground Scene Gets A New Home
Phil Uwe Widiger
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Why Not? Plötur is a young record label owned by Ægir Sindri Bjarnason that makes sure that records see the light of day in the form that the band had imagined them. “I don’t want to put any restrictions on what the band wants to do,” he says. “They want to release something and I do my best to help them with that.” The label only publishes vinyl records because according to its owner, it is simply a more beautiful form than any other. “I like to make an effort to make the records look good,” he confirms.

So far, five records of heavy underground music have been released, with the most recent being ‘Hypnopolis’ by the surf-sludgers Godchilla and ‘Drowned In Rock’ by hardcore-band Dead Herring. Three will be added soon—records by Brött Brekka, IDK l IDA and BSÍ—with more to be confirmed in the coming months.

One drummer, six bands

Ægir has long been an active musician himself and is currently playing drums in six different bands. Most famously, he has been active with World Narcosis, a strange mix of the despair of black metal and lo-fi grindcore.

The first two of their releases have the catalogue numbers WN001 and WN002 and are directly related to the name of the record label. Ægir wanted to expand that catalogue rather than starting a new one and therefore aimed to find a name that fit with the letters W and N—“Why not?” was the result. “The name describes pretty well how I tackle all of this—it’s some kind of philosophy that I can very much relate to,” he says.

Do it yourself!

The idea to start his own record label came to Ægir while he was recording with World Narcosis and Dead Herring. “When I started this it was to free myself from trying to get people to do things for me,” he explains. “I had been in bands and tried to find people to put out records for or with me. That always exhausted me and I ended up doing it myself in the end anyway, so why not just do it that way from the start?”

“‘Why not?’ describes how I tackle all of this—it’s a philosophy that I can very much relate to.”

The label fronts the initial costs for the bands, and when the costs have been recouped from sales, most of the revenue goes to the bands directly. “I don’t even necessarily want it to be profitable for me,” he explains. “I’d like to pay off the loan that I got to start it, but it’s more important to me that I can continue to release music than to pay myself for it.”

Reviving the scene

The owner recently quit his job to be able to dedicate more time to his label, and the related concert venue, R6013. R6013 is a non-commercial, all-ages space for all kinds of performances, offering free vegan food at every show.

“Shows start early and are over by 10pm, so guests can hang out, see an intimate show, then catch the bus home or go on to the next gig and party on,” Ægir explains. Most recently, a group of teenagers started to attend the concerts regularly. “That really brings new life into this,” he finishes, “which is hugely important to me.”

Buy music at and visit R6013 at Ingólfsstræti 20.

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