Interviews

Meet asdfhg., The Accidental Musician

Words by
Photos by Hrefna Björg Gylfadóttir
 
Meet asdfhg., The Accidental Musician
 

When the 2015 Kraumur nominations were announced, one name stood out among the usual suspects because frankly, no one knew who on earth was behind the project. Many even doubted that it originated in Iceland.

The story goes that one of the Kraumur panellists stumbled upon ‘Steingervingur‘ by asdfhg during a late night Bandcamp-browsing sesson, and was impressed enough to share it with the rest of the committee. Without any idea who was behind the project, the Kraumur folks still liked the album enough to shortlist it among their ‘21 albums of the year’ for 2015. Subsequently, ‘Steingervingur’ was one of six albums to receive the coveted 2015 Kraumur award, touted alongside works of veterans like dj. flugvél og geimskip, Teitur Magnússon and Mr. Silla.

The mid-December Kraumur Awards ceremony was the first time most local scenesters, including your friends at the Grapevine, got a glimpse of the person behind asdfhg. Turns out the award-winning ‘Steingervingur’ was written and recorded in a Laugardalur basement, by a sixteen year-old girl called Steinunn. Wow, right? And now she’s been announced for Sónar Reykjavík, where she’ll be making her stage début! Wow, right? We caught up with her to learn more.

Yes, the mastermind behind the award-winning ‘Steingervingur‘ is a sixteen year-old girl who lives in her parent’s basement in Laugardalur. In that basement, Steinunn Jónsdóttir spends her time making music, playing instruments and reading poetry, usually in the middle of the night.

Steinunn comes from a cultured background, with literary critics for parents and a grandmother who was prominent in the Icelandic feminist movement. Her upbringing was thus quite infused with discussion on matters such as feminism, environmentalism and art. “Of course I am a feminist” she stated, as if anything else would be completely strange.

Steinunn (14 of 34)

This sixteen year old might look her age, but getting to know her it seems as if she’s already lived two lives. Bursting with creativity and knowledge, it was clearly just a matter of time until we started noticing her.

The funny thing is that it happened completely by accident.

Steinunn spent three restless nights this past summer producing an album of electronic music not meant for public consumption. She posted it pseudonymously on Bandcamp under the name asdfhg, sharing it only with a few of her closest friends. Therefore she was quite surprised, to say the least, when she learned it had been shortlisted by the Kraumur music fund.

Steinunn (26 of 34)

Steinunn (28 of 34)

Steinunn was first made aware of the honours when local hip hop producer (and frequent Grapevine contributor) Lord Pusswhip uncertainly congratulated her through Instagram. He’d noticed the name written on the album cover -‘nnuniets’- which was Steinunn’s username on instagram and guessed it might be her.

This was the night before Steinunn’s Spanish finals and, understandably, she didn’t get much sleep at all, tweeting: “uhm, I’m accidentally a musician! Put some shit pseudonymously up on Bandcamp about a year ago not meant for anyone to see and was nominated in Kraum’s album selection the other day, crazy week!”

Crazy week indeed. We look forward to following Steinunn’s pursuits in the future, and you reader folks can look forward to reading an extended version of our conversation with her in Grapevine’s next print edition!

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Posted January 14, 2016