“Everything is live! No playbacks, no karaoke, great musicians and me in pink outfit with a lot of energy! It can’t fail!” says Berndsen, selling his upcoming Airwaves performance to everybody out there still unfamiliar with this new kid on the block. If you’re one of the unfamiliar, don’t beat yourself up about it too badly, as the RÚV tech by day/new wave wunderkind by night has only ever performed live once so far.
“I had so much fun,” said Berndsen of his debut at the Réttir festival on September 25th. “Of course I was a little nervous performing my songs for the first time but I was so excited as well and when I heard the crowd sing along with my songs, I loved being on stage!”
The crowd at Batterí wasn’t just singing along to the bearded 24-year-old’s songs, they were chanting his name, rushing the stage, and shaking their asses with such enthusiasm one would have thought he was a beloved, seasoned performer in the Reykjavík music scene. The fact that this boy plays danceable tunes and looks adorable while doing so made for a mighty successful first shot at doing his thing for a crowd.
Despite being a fledgling live act, Berndsen is a video superstar, with his twistedly entertaining, award-nominated Supertime video amassing more than 65,000 views on YouTube in just two months. The video’s creators had a top-hat-clad Berndsen performing dramatically atop a turned over car while 20-somethings injured in a car-wreck are being tortuously danced around like puppets by their able bodied peers. The video for his newer release, Lover in the Dark, is just as creative and entertaining as it transports Berndsen into a video game with one mission: spread love.
“It’s brand new and just came on the net!” says an enthusiastic Berndsen about his video. “Two brilliant Swedish guys, Farzad Farzaneh and Viktor Gårdsäter, loved the song and contacted me about doing a video for it. It’s a stop motion video! The video is pictures! Viktor photographed around 4000 pictures so there was a lot of work at the Stockholm studio. They always thought of game boy games when they were listening to the song, so the idea came from there.”
Equipped with a futuristic heart-shooting gun, 80’s instruments, a whole lotta pink and a sequined headband, Berndsen succeeds in spreading the love and bringing people together.
Influenced by his father’s music choices when he was younger—O.M.D., A-Ha, Ultravox, The Human League, David Bowie, etc.—Berndsen began making his own music seven years ago, fooling around with synthesizers and experimenting with his sound. While his music is all synth—“it’s 80s new wave mega pop!” he says—the front man employs the aid of a backing band called The Young Boys for live gigs, with Hrafnkell Gauti Sigurðarson on guitar, Gylfi Sigurðsson playing the Roland 707 with sticks, Arnljótur Sigurðsson on bass, and Jón Elísson picking up the tab on the saxophone, vocoder and synth.
The energy and absurdity of Berndsen’s videos—which you’ll have to watch—will keep you singing, dancing and having a killer time at Airwaves, where the Reykjavík native will don his flashy pink Lover in the Dark get-up for your viewing pleasure. Of the upcoming show, Berndsen says you can expect “happy loving 80s synth pop and good times!”
And who wouldn’t mind some of that?
- When: 20:00
- Where: Batteríið
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