Indriði Arnar Ingólfsson arrives at the Stofan café in a daze. He’s been playing for eight hours straight at the Reykjavík Art Museum as part of Ragnar Kjartansson’s ten-person improvised musical performance, “Take Me Here by the Dishwasher – Memorial for a Marriage.”
“It’s exhausting,” Indriði says, smiling. “Yesterday I was super grumpy, thinking, ‘What am I doing?’ But today it was full of bliss. The longer we play together, the more little jokes come out—someone will say ‘Shhh!’, then everyone will play quietly for half an hour.”
A visual arts graduate, Indriði has been creating art and music for years, often crossing the streams. “I think there is a space for musicians within the art world today,” he says. “There’s a lot of need, and I think that’s maybe what’s happening; the boundaries are fading a bit. Dancers are becoming the most interesting performance artists. It’s great, and how I want things to be.”
Muck and noise
Indriði was born in Reykjavík, but has spent time living in New York City, Mexico and Berlin. He finds outlets for his creativity wherever he goes—whether as a member of hardcore band Muck (RIP), or releasing an avant-garde solo noise album in Mexico, or making beats for a hip-hop opera in Berlin.
His solo work is where his musical curiosity meets his inner life. “The Indriði project is more personal,” he says. “It’s dealing with life by writing music, which every musician does. When you’re in a band, you’re an entity together, but when you write yourself, it’s how you process stuff. When you’re processing, the music and lyrics just happen.”
Energy and trust
His first album, ‘Makril,’ was released on the NYC-based label figureight, run by Shahzad Ismaily. The connection happened organically through Indriði’s network of musician friends, several of whom are also on the label.
“I first saw Shahzad when I crashed at Gyða [Valtýsdóttir]’s attic,” he says. “I woke up, and there was this guy there, doing yoga. I left him to it. Then somehow he heard ‘Makril.’ The label hadn’t yet become a thing, but he wanted to release it. He put so much energy and trust into making this happen for me, and I’m super grateful for that.”
Emo and sludge
Indriði’s next solo album is approaching completion, under the working title of ‘Ding Ding.’ “It’s mostly in English this time,” he explains. “I recorded some of it with Albert [Finnbogason] at Greenhouse Studios, and some with Farao in Berlin. It’s more electronic and emo; sludgy, and darker.”
But, characteristically, his work continues to evolve via collaborations with Hekla and a newly formed live group made up of proto-punk garage band Bagalan. “It was like getting a Motown band,” he says. “They’re coming here to play with me at Airwaves, and they’ll also do some off-venues.”
“I like doing everything together,” finishes Indriði. “I’ve done improvised electronic shows, noise shows, and visual arts, and I’ve had people tell me I had to focus if I wanted to reach my potential. But I realised that’s just not how it is. I think I want to do everything at the same time. It might be a longer road, but I’m sure it’s the way to go.”
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