a while since Finally We Are No One. What have
you been up to since?
Gunnar: We’ve done a lot of touring
after the album. We did a couple of tours…
Örvar: Then last winter, we went
to Berlin to start working on the new album. It didn’t
feel like a lot of time between the albums. We were
making some new music.
Kristin: I also played with another
band in Iceland for a short time, with two other people,
when I was there. I played in this Bulgarian folk music
band, which was a lot fun. There were about ten people
in the band, and everybody had to go do other things.
So you didn’t really have any time off
Gunnar: When we are working on some
new music, it is a bit like time off.
Kristin: Yeah, that’s what we
want to do…
Gunnar: We’re like work and play
type of people…
Kristin: We play, and we eat…
It’s only when we finish a record and we start
promoting it that it becomes more like a job.
How did you all come together? How did you
Örvar: Gunnar and I met through
a friend who was trying to put together a band. I’d
played in another band with this guy for a few years.
What kind of music was it?
Gunnar: Guitarioso… It was like
guitar, bass, drums, keyboards. It was more rock orientated.
Kristin: One day, they came and played
at me and Gyda’s youth centre when we were fifteen,
and we knew we would get to know each other, and we
did about six months later.
Örvar: By that time, Gunnar and
me had started Múm. We’d started to work
on some music. We met Kristin and Gyda at their school.
They were in drama school, and we were doing the music
for one of their shows, and they just joined the band.
Did it take long between the moment you started
working all together and the moment you released your
Kristin: It took about a year, didn’t
it? (to Örvar).
Gunnar: We were already working on
the album when we got to know Kristin and Gyda. They
joined when we started recording the album, so they
just came into the process.
Kristin: We had songs that we played
to the guys, which were recorded for the album too.
Has the way you work changed a lot since those
Örvar: It has changed on a technical
level, the technology that we use, but really, the way
we just… fart something into the horizon hasn’t
change (all laugh).
Gunnar: It’s basically…
you know we all just do our stuff, and something comes
up. Of course, we’re getting better at knowing
how to get to what we want, but there isn’t a
method that we use to create. It’s just…
So you don’t have specific roles in the
Örvar: Sometimes, but not all
the time. There’s no method that we use all the
time you know…
On the first album, you used a lot of found
sounds recorded around the house. Do you still do that
Gunnar: Yes. It’s something that
we’ve always done, recording sounds everywhere…
We like treating all sounds with equal respect. If something
sounds good, then it sounds good. It’s as simple
as that really.
The first album was very well received both
by the press and the public. How did you react to that?
Kristin: The first album? I don’t
think it got any press at all (looking at Örvar)
Örvar: The first one?… Well,
it got some press. Over here it did.
Gunnar: I think we were pretty surprised.
We were not trying to get noticed, we were just doing
it and releasing it to get an artistic outlet. People
in England started buying it when it got available to
people outside of Iceland. It was quite mind blowing
for us really.
Do you think the fact that people started listening
to your music had anything to do with people like Björk
or Sigur Rós already being well known in England?
Gunnar: I think our music came out
at a time when there was a very big opening in electronic
music. People were very hungry for good music.
Is that why you started working with Fat-Cat?
Örvar: The people from Fat-Cat
used to come up to Iceland quite a lot
Kristin: Yeah, we kind of knew them
a bit before we talked about working together.
Örvar: I think it is the perfect
label for us. We couldn’t imagine a better label
to work with.
Kristin: They really believe in use,
and respect our beliefs about our music.
Kristin, you are classically trained, and so
is your sister. How does it influence the work of the
Kristin: I don’t know how it
does, but I’m sure it does…
Örvar: You can play the accordion
like ta-la-la (does some fast movements with his hands).
Kristin: Yeah, but I don’t usually
play that fast when I play with you. I think it just
comes through, like all the music you’ve heard
before, like something you’ve worked on for a
long time. It becomes a big part of you, it is inside
you. I really like Prokofiev when I play. I think like
Peter And The Wolf influenced these guys…
Gunnar: You listen to Prokofiev and
we listen to Peter And The Wolf… (all
Is it true You recorded Finally We Are
No one in a lighthouse?
Örvar: Well, it is more like a
light keeper’s house.
Gunnar: It’s a place we worked
on the new album too. We recorded in the summer…
Kristin: Yes, were there in the summer,
and it was really nice to be there and do things. We
were in a lighthouse when we worked on Finally…
but we went to a studio to record it. For Summer
Make Good, we knew we needed a good place to work.
So we went back to the lighthouse, went on tour after,
and when we came back to Iceland, a friend of mine told
us about this empty house, and it was just a coincidence
that it was also a light keeper’s house. We recorded
How would you describe the new album compared
to what you’ve done before? The sound
seems to be a lot more confident…
Gunnar: I think it is a lot more fragile
in many ways, because it is a more personal and open
Örvar: We let more out on it…
In what way?
Örvar: I don’t know…
Kristin: I think there’s more
Gunnar: It’s more personal
You’re just about to start a long tour
in April. You have more people on stage…
Gunnar: We’ve got a big band
Kristin: Three more people playing
with us. They also played on the album.
Örvar: We’re six!
How does it work between you three as a band
and these people?
Kristin: We’re one team and they’re
another, and there’s a ball in a middle…
Örvar: They’re really good
friends of ours, and they’re very easy.
Kristin: Yeah, they’ve played
on all the albums…
Gunnar: When we work with other people,
we give them a sort of freedom to be themselves, to
bring their personal touch to the music. We give them
some indications, like ‘maybe you should do this
a little less, or go this way’ but we don’t
tell them how to play or…
Örvar and Kristin: And they do
the same to us too…
Kristin: That’s how a band works
I guess… I guess we’re a band (laughing).
They all came to visit us in the lighthouse as well.
Nobody’s thinking too much about it really.
Gunnar: Also, people go away for a
Kristin: Yeah, some of these people
are doing other things too. Some of them might have
to leave for a while, other people come in…
How do you see Múm evolve in the future,
or is it something you don’t think about?
Örvar: I don’t see it…
Kristin: I’ve got this image
of Örvar old with very big ears and wild hair…
I think Gunnar and me will look the same, but Örvar…
Interview done on 27 February 2004 in
Thank you to Kristin, Gunnar, Örvar and Serena.