From Iceland — All Roads Lead To Skúlagata

All Roads Lead To Skúlagata

Published July 3, 2023

All Roads Lead To Skúlagata

The Skúlagata Collective releases its second compilation

Skúlagata Collective is a group of like-minded artists formed around a bustling creative space. Once housed on Skúlagata, the space was eventually torn down to accommodate Reykjavík’s growing hotel economy. “We were still making music until the very end, you could almost say in the ruins,” says Arnljótur Sigurðsson, one of seven individuals who make up the electronic, action-focused assemblage. 

Cross-sectioning the scene

Borne out of Reykjavík’s fluid music scene, one which allows individuals to come together and experiment, Skúlagata Collective presents itself as one of the newest groups energising urban life. 

On May 27, the group released their second compilation album, the aptly named Skúlagata 002. As Arnljótur (also known as DJ Kraftgalli) says, “It’s not an umbrella association as much as it is a showerhead of artists,” meaning that the aim of Skúlagata is to act as a fountain that sprays the music coming out of its collective. Featuring songs by artists Einmitt, Andi, Harry Knuckles, Kraftgalli, Steindór Grétar Kristinsson, dj_gulli_dj, Le Vender, 2 Hands, 000Sven, Volruptus and In3dee, the compilation demonstrates the power of electronic music happening today. 

“My musical taste is shaped by all kinds of music I found on compilations like these, where there’s a connection between artists. People think in a similar way and it’s interesting to see this synergy happening,” says Arnljótur, while mentioning the independent electronic compilations that shaped those of Skúlagata. Incidentally, one of those – 1992’s Alsæla – is to receive a reissue later this year.

There’s no use just sitting around and making music. You have to release it somehow and organise some shows.

A prolific bunch

After having been evicted from their base of operations on Skúlagata, the individuals found themselves bouncing from studio to studio, eventually settling down at an undisclosed location. “There’s no use just sitting around and making music. You have to release it somehow and organise some shows,” Arnljótur says. In addition to the music releases, which now count two compilation albums, one Kraftgalli album and one from In3dee, Skúlagata Collective also have their own bi-weekly show on 101 Radio. They also host a Soundcloud page for their radio mixes and a Bandcamp site for their releases.

Among their concert endeavours include the live series Lævi Blandið and Plötuþeysireið. These series are each more eccentric than the next: Lævi Blandið is based around the concept of two stages, one dedicated to live music and the other to DJ-mixing. Plötuþeysireið introduces seven DJs into the same space. “We just want to do something fun,” says Arnljótur.

To live off something like this you’d have to get by with very few calories a day.

The act of releasing a compilation like Skúlagata 002 is also coloured by political undertones. “To live off something like this you’d have to get by with very few calories a day,” jokes Arnljótur. “I encourage people to buy as much as they can off Bandcamp, as there is a bigger share that goes to us.”

Asked whether the group is influenced by collectives operating in and around the Icelandic music scene, Arnljótur replies, “Yes, we even have a manifesto written down somewhere.” He cites groups like post-dreifing and the venue R6013 to be major inspirations.  “It’s an encouragement to get you off your ass and do something yourself,” Arnljótur says. 

And there’s a collective agreement among the group’s members. Decisions regarding the whole are discussed thoroughly, such as who would be the best candidate for this interview. Joining Arnljótur in the collective are Andri Björgvinsson, Andri Eyjólfsson, Gylfi Freeland Sigurðsson, Tatjana Dís Aldísardóttir Rashomenko, Guðlaugur Hörðdal,and Indriði Arnar Ingólfsson. “We aren’t tired of each other. At least not yet.” 

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