Krownest claims their ticket to Wacken Open Air
“Hardcore music for hardcore people.” That’s how Gummi and Óttarr, bassist and guitarist of Krownest, describe the band they formed in late 2019. These young beasts — the band has an average age of 20 — just won the Wacken Metal Battle competition held at Gaukurinn on April 22, qualifying to play at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany this August.
Sitting down for a breather after their national victory, Gummi and Óttarr told me a bit about their winning performance, their hopes for the trip to Germany and what you really need to know about Krownest.
Minigolf is hardcore AF
Krownest draws influences from a range of genres — nu-metal, death and black metal, to name a few. “I’m quite into grindcore, while Óttarr is more into death metal,” says Gummi.
These different tastes combine to form a unique signature sound, as distinct as the band’s uniform of white jumpsuits, which serve as another standout feature of their live performance. Funny enough, they were inspired by the jumpsuits worn by the staff at a minigolf place in Reykjavik where Óttarr used to work. They liked the staff uniform so much that they contacted the place to find their jumpsuit supplier.
Playing with no prior knowledge
“When I started playing in Krownest, I actually had no knowledge of playing metal. I didn’t even listen to it,” Óttarr explains. “Krownest was really built from scratch. We learned to work and play with each other. If we have to practice when somebody is missing, it doesn’t feel the same.”
“The foundation of the band is friendship,” says Gummi, who won an award for the best bass player at Músíktilraunir in 2021, but wasn’t even a bass player when he joined the band. “We’re all best friends. If anybody left or had to leave, it wouldn’t be the same. Being in Krownest is fucking awesome! It’s the most fun ever!”
Krownest has a complicated history with the Wacken Metal Battle, having competed in 2022 and it not going so well. “It went horribly,” Gummi admits. “We had so many technical difficulties that hindered our performance.”
“My tuning wasn’t working.” Óttarr adds. “We were late for soundcheck — we thought — but then we were early. One of the guitars got completely cut out and we had to get rid of it and the vocalist couldn’t play it. At that point, our morale was massively down and we were just really stressed. We did the best that we could in that situation. I still think that we learned a lot from it and made a strong comeback. We definitely knew what could go wrong.”
Rising from blood, sweat and tears
When Krownest started playing at this year’s battle, it was clear they were going all out, jumping around for 30 minutes straight. “We still can’t believe that we won,” Óttarr exclaims. “I was so excited and full of adrenaline that I accidentally bumped into a microphone on stage. I had blood spilling from my face, and I didn’t even notice until after the performance,” he says.
“Personally, I really enjoyed Merkur’s performance,” Gummi adds. “I was also quite intimidated by False Majesty. They were extremely technical.”
Krownest practiced consistently and relentlessly in preparation for this year’s Wacken Metal Battle. “It takes time to find confidence on stage,” they admit. “The secret is love, dedication, hard work, effort and, most importantly, blood, sweat and tears. We’re gonna bring all of our energy and pack it into 20 minutes for the performance in Germany,” says Gummi. “We’re ready to rise just like Múr did last year. Múr members are also some of our best friends, so we’re gonna have a lot of guidance from them. So far, they have advised us to bring warm clothes as nights in the tent get pretty cold.” Surely, it’s nothing a couple of extra jumpsuits wouldn’t fix.
Memes? Yes please!
Even before going to Germany, it seems Krownest’s fame has reached new heights with their very own meme page. The best part? No one knows who’s behind it — but the guys have their suspicions. Either way, it’s clear that Krownest’s influence knows no bounds, not even in the murky, meme-filled depths of the internet.
If you missed Krownest at Gaukurinn and you won’t make it over to northern Germany this August, you can catch the band at Reykjavík Deathfest in September. And keep your eyes peeled for news about other performances and new releases.
“We have a bunch of material that is ready to go. We can’t sign any contracts right now because of Wacken. There are rules in the competition that say we have to wait until after the festival,” Gummi explains. “Anyway, we are here to stay,” they both agree. “Even if you don’t like this kind of music, come and see us. You might be surprised!”
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