Making Of An Artist: IDK IDA's Bees, Beauty And Anarchy In The Bleak North

Making Of An Artist: IDK IDA’s Bees, Beauty And Anarchy In The Bleak North

Published June 7, 2019

Making Of An Artist: IDK IDA’s Bees, Beauty And Anarchy In The Bleak North
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Ida Schuften Juhl is IDK IDA, a young producer, performer, artist and organiser who has become a firm favourite at the Reykjavík Grapevine. Her debut album, ‘The Bug,’ is out now, and she has some stunning new material in the works, which you can experience by seeing her play live. We asked Ida to tell us about a few influences that made her the artist she is today.

Freaky sounds and playfulness
My musical background is very influenced by spending my early youth watching music video charts on the TV. For me, the ‘00s pop music was more edgy than we remember. The videos caught my attention as a kid, but sometimes a track would catch my attention, too; Missy Elliot’s “Work It,” Pharrell Williams/Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and Timbaland. They have playfulness and push the boundaries of music.

Cries of emotion, duduk and soundtracks
My first music passion was Irish folk music, where the structure revolves around a theme that morphs into another, with small motifs gluing it together. The scales that got carved into me derive from the use of Armenian duduk flute in movie soundtracks to express sorrow and fatefulness. I remember very clearly watching ‘The Gladiator’ and I suppose my passion for translating emotions started there.

Technological progress and industrial rock
Had it not been for the technological progress and fairly cheap production equipment, IDK IDA wouldn’t have come to be. Developing your own sound world and techniques creates some unique takes on music. This has also generated a whole new segment of DIY artists and ideology, with more anarchy. I’m attracted to the idea of breaking up conservative views of instrumentation, and—to a certain extent—being able to go around the conservatism of the music business.

Aesthetics and the far north
From the Western Sea in Denmark to Reykjavík’s endless cranes and Iceland’s alien nature, there’s beauty in a harsh landscape. Moving far away from home when I was young had difficulties for me, but also presented an opportunity to give less of a damn. The scarab beetle is a personal symbol of that. We roll our dung and we shine, and shining has invited all sorts of neon and fluffy pink into my life.

The forgotten
Being on this journey has matured me into a passionate feminist. I’m asked on a frequent basis if I make everything myself. I’ve become very aware of womens’ space in music, art and society in general. It’s an incredibly important issue. One example is how The Grandmothers of electronic music haven’t received the recognition they should; Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire, Suzanne Ciani and Else Marie Pade, whose work has been overlooked—because the focus of history is men. Women are thought of as less capable, and taken less seriously. There’s a lot to fight for still. It should never be surprising that a woman produces everything herself.

A combination of it all and end notes
There would be no IDK IDA without Björk and her groundbreaking work, without Thom Yorke’s ‘The Eraser,’ or Mark Bell and his insane productions. When all these things are added up, a development becomes evident—a combination of it all. I’ve also found communities of daring and playful souls that see opportunities instead of obstacles, which is one of the biggest pillars in the making of an artist. Everything feels possible here, most of the time—it isn’t far from idea to execution. From the Weird Kids collective, to setting up Háskar on Good Friday, or an unofficial show at a gallery during Iceland Airwaves. Or the exciting achievements of post-dreifing, of course.

Psychoacoustics and friction
Reading scientific papers on random topics is something I enjoy. The lyrics of my song ‘Bees’ Riot’ are inspired by a gory article about how the society of a bumble bee hive can collapse. My interest in field recordings was sparked by an article on psychoacoustics. The ear recognises the pattern and frequencies of a sound we know from our surroundings in a way that differs from digitally generated sound. But if a field recording has been manipulated, played backwards or chopped up, the ear will pick up on it, unsure of what it just heard. I had no idea what I’d just heard when I first heard ‘Selmasongs.’ It’s an interesting mechanism that speaks to the primal side of our brains.

Listen to IDK IDA’s debut album ‘The Bug’ at, and look out for new material this year.

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