Interview: For A Minor Reflection
For A Minor Reflection have got a very mature sound, especially if you take into consideration that these guys are only 19 years old. References to Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai are unavoidable, but already being compared to such established acts is a big achievement for these young Icelanders. Last autumn they supported in 15 concerts across Europe fellow countrymen Sigur Rós. It's a Trap! went out for a drink with them and discovered that apart from good musicians they are very friendly and down to earth chaps.
How did you guys form?
Kjartan Holm (Kjarri), guitar: We basically started in 8th grade, when we were 13. Jói and I started this heavy metal duet in his garage with long hair and stuff. Elvar came and played bass. Then Guffi came.
Guđfinnur Sveinsson (Guffi), guitar: (Laughs) We met during a strip poker game! He invited me then to a band practice...
Why did you name the band 'For A Minor Reflection'? What does it mean?
KH: It actually doesn't mean anything. I don't remember actually how it was conceived. We thought "reflection" was a cool word and we wanted to use it.
What is exactly on the cover of your album?
KH: It is supposed to be a sun.
Jóhannes Ólafsson (Jói), drums: We drew it together.
How do you write your songs? Is there a standard procedure?
JO: There is no standard procedure. There is no method I guess, but we do it together eventually, but the idea maybe comes from Kjarri first and then we build around it and make the song structure around his ideas.
KH: We maybe write a song in two days but it takes like 50 years to develop it.
How was the experience of playing with Sigur Rós?
KH, JO: It was very surreal.
JO: We didn't realise what we were doing until we came home.
Which is the largest gig you did with them?
KH: In Alexandra Palace in London. It was 8500 people two nights in a row.
And without them?
KH: We played this gig in Iceland for 500 Japanese people on a large cruise ship that was sailing around the world.
Do you prefer the big gigs or rather more intimate settings?
KH: When we play in really small bars in Iceland in front of 200 people, when it's packed it has a really good character.
JO: On the other hand, it's fun playing on a very large stage.
KH: It's two different things I would say.
Would you ever consider getting a singer?
KH: We've been actually discussing that. We are going to make some experiments next week; if it fails we'll just stay instrumental.
Do you accept the post-rock tag?
KH: We really don't care.
How do you feel about the emerging Icelandic scene and what do you think sets the Icelandic music scene apart from the rest of Scandinavia?
KH: Iceland is pretty well known for these "weird" bands like Sigur Rós, Björk and Múm. But Iceland has these really good heavy metal and hardcore punk scene, really big scene. And it seems to be turning into some indie rock scene. So Iceland is not only the ambient stuff.
Are there any other Icelandic artists you respect and admire?
Elvar J. Guđmundsson, bass: Ólafur Arnolds. He's getting big in Germany and all over the world.
KH: And Sigur Rós of course. My favourite Icelandic rock band is Sudden Weather Change. They are kind of big in Iceland, but nobody knows them outside.
What are you currently listening at home?
KH: We really don't listen to the same music. I like hardcore, post-rock, jazz, Icelandic blues.
GS: I listen to Coldplay a lot.
KH: Yeah, Guffi is the sensitive one.
How did the economic crisis impact your life and music?
GS: (Laughs) We all live in the streets. We get food from the government.
How are the recordings for the second album going? When is it going to be finished?
KH: We are working on it. Hopefully we will start recording later this year.
Are you going to have a different approach this time?
JO: The last time we recorded an album was in a garage, small studio, we did it all live in the first take, and it only took us 6 hours. We were mixing the whole night before the day we released it.
Any plans for the future?
KH: Hopefully we can work as musicians. That's our main goal.
Words and picture by Vasilis Panagiotopoulos