It was just spring that Vaginaboys burst onto the scene from out of nowhere. All of the sudden, their breakout hit “Elskan af því bara” (“Baby Just Because”) started spreading across Icelandic social media circles at an alarming rate. No one had a clue who they were, but everyone fell in love all the same, their unique brand of ice-cold, sexy 808 auto-tuned R’n’B resonating in hip-hop and indie circles alike. The ‘boys made their stage show opening up for Sin Fang in May, and they’ve barely let up since, releasing a steady trickle of new material through their Soundcloud, performing shows all over town, all the while successfully managing to keep their true identities under wraps. I met up with one of Vaginaboys’ members (heh) for a chat about manhood, dealing with newfound popularity and masked performances.
“VAGINABOYS PRODUCER” SPEAKS!
You don’t want to reveal your name. What should I call you, for the purposes of this interview?
Just call me Vaginaboys Producer.
You’re not the singer?
Yes I am—I sing and produce, then I get other people to perform, mix and master the music with me.
I was under the impression that there were only two of you. How many Vaginaboys are there?
The core group consists of four people.
THE POWER OF RANDOM YOUTUBE BROWSING
“Elskan af því bara” blew up all of the sudden this spring, but the tune had been laying dormant on YouTube for almost a year by then. Why do you think it suddenly caught people’s ears?
I only uploaded the song to YouTube for storage. It wasn’t supposed to go anywhere—I didn’t post it to Facebook or tell anyone about it. For some reason, it started making the rounds all of the sudden. Sin Fang picked up on it, and then Emmsjé Gauti, and Gísli Pálmi were hitting us up… and the song just kept spreading, rousing people’s interests. At one point, we heard there was a Facebook group dedicated to uncovering our identities. As our play-count kept stacking up, we eventually started to put lot more energy into the project.
So your popularity is likely the result someone’s random YouTube browsing?
I guess so.
When you hit the scene, some speculated that you were some kind of supergroup, hence the masks and hidden identities. Are you some kind of supergroup? Why the anonymity?
I am not allowed to comment on that. Furthermore, we believe that the mysterious is sexier than the obvious.
You perform in white masks, that sort of look like those old opera masks. Is there a reason you chose that particular type of mask?
It was really a last-minute decision before our first gig. We had bought some white masks to wear to the show, but when we put them on we discovered that we couldn’t really breathe. So we cut off the bottom half. After the Sin Fang show, we were sweaty and gross. The tiny nose slits didn’t really facilitate breathing either, so we expanded them.
Why the name, Vaginaboys?
Because it’s an obvious contradiction. I noticed the term was being used in a derogatory manner in hnakki circles [“hnakkar” are Iceland’s version of “brahs”] and found that to be really sad. Why should having a vagina be a negative thing? Don’t we all come out of a vagina? In that sense, all of us humans are vaginaboys and vaginagirls. I thought it was paradoxical—if people start thinking our band is cool, maybe being thought of as a vaginaboy will become a positive thing.
Do you consider yourselves part of the current wave of nu-R&B, where male artists like Frank Ocean and The Weeknd actively work to subvert traditional ideas of masculinity?
I like to think so. It’s just a manifestation of the ongoing anti-machismo movement that seeks to deconstruct typical ideas of “manliness.” You don’t have to be macho to be a “real” man—men think about love just as much as women do. I like to express myself in music through this filter.
Who are some of your biggest influences?
The Strokes and Spooky Black come to mind, as does the sincere aura espoused by artists like dj. flugvél og geimskip and Agent Fresco. To name a few.
Are you working on an LP?
We’re releasing our first official single on Spotify, iTunes and such places very soon—however, we’ve stockpiled so much material that it’s hard to choose what to master and release. We have to find the right time to work on it, and pick the best of what we have to put out there.
What can we expect from you at Airwaves?
Our show will be bigger and grander than anything we’ve done before. We hired a stylist. We’ll have nine people on stage. We’re going all in for this one. Prepare for heart-warming sensual vibes, goosebumps and a rush of blood flowing to your genital area.
Any final thoughts?
See us at Airwaves, listen to our tunes on Soundcloud. Also, you should check out an Airwaves party/art show that’ll go down at Járnbraut 1, at Grandi, on November 4 and 5. We’ll be premiering a brand new music video there.
Catch Vaginaboys during Airwaves at Húrra on November 4 at 20:00, and at Nasa on Friday, November 6 at 20:00.
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