Nordic New Music: Icelandic musician Myrkvi

Myrkvi has a busy few months ahead of him – today sees the release of his next single ‘Crossroads’, he has a slot in the upcoming Iceland Airwaves festival, and an album out in autumn!

Tell us who you are and what’s your sound?

I am an Icelandic musician and just started my solo career in 2020 as Myrkvi. I am also in a band called Vio and have been active in the Icelandic music scene since we started in 2014. Vio started with a bang and I’ve had a wonderful time with them, but I have increasingly found a need for another outlet to express myself musically. The reception to Myrkvi has been excellent and I’m very excited for things to come. I finished economics studies a couple of years ago but chose to continue pursuing my music career instead. I work in a library as a side job.

I have never thought of my sound too much or tried to put my finger on it. I just experiment until I end up with something I enjoy and find interesting. Acoustics are more natural to me and I would say picking the classical guitar is my original sound. I have always been fascinated with world music and its various acoustic instruments, but I’ve started getting more and more into the electric guitar and experimenting with its sound in recent years. Even more recently I’ve started writing songs on keyboards, although I don’t really know what I’m doing. I guess my sound is warm, melodious and acoustic spiced with various guitar sounds. 

What exciting projects have you got coming up?

I just released the single ‘Crossroads’ today (7th of August) and will be releasing my debut solo album this autumn! Hopefully the situation will have gotten better by then, so I can follow it up with loads of concerts. I am also working on the next album with my other band Vio, which might be released in 2021.

Where did you grow up and what music influenced you?

I grew up in Mosfellsbær, a town just north of Reykjavik, where many bands and musicians have come from of late, such as Ólafur Arnalds, KALEO and Sigur Rós. I studied the violin until I was 16 years old, but the guitar slowly took over. Simon and Garfunkel were the reason I wanted to become better at playing guitar and when I started focusing on picking instead of strumming was when I really started to enjoy myself and improve. From the very start I enjoyed writing my own music more than playing covers, but my first gig was not until the Battle of The Bands (Músíktilraunir) in 2014 after forming Vio four weeks earlier, which we went on to win.

I have always been enjoyed world and traditional music but of course I also listened to the more mainstream music at the time, Nirvana was my favourite band growing up. Singing was something that I just thought most people were good at, so it surprised me a lot when I started getting special praise for it and even got the best singer award at the Battle of the Bands. 

What cool places do you recommend to visit in your city (bars, restaurants, etc)?

Luna Flórens is my favourite coffee house/bar, I go there quite often. Kaffi Mokka, the oldest coffee house in the city, is also a place I really cherish. I used to work there, and it’s owned by my friend’s family. I love the fish and chips at Kaffivagninn and the “Grilled Halibut with soya butter sauce and mashed potatoes with wasabi” at Þrír Frakkar is my favourite dish in the city, I used to live just across the street from it. BLIK in Mosfellsbær has one of the best views in the capital area, I recommend that one as well.

We love recommendations – what have you been listening to, watching, or reading recently?

I am a huge Tame Impala fan. I also love Mac Demarco, Kevin Morby, King Krule, Courtney Barnett, The War on Drugs and Michael Nau. I always listen regularly to Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake, Norah Jones and Emilíana Torrini. Recently I’ve been listening a lot to JFDR, Sóley and kef LAVÍK.

I am currently reading The Final Empire, the first book in the Mistborn series after Brandon Sanderson. I like all kinds of books, but I mostly read fantasy. I just finished watching Cowboy Bebop, an anime series with great music by the way. I have started watching anime a bit but generally I only watch football. I am a history fan too and have been watching these History 101 shows on Netflix.

Finally, what was the last thing that made you swear out loud?

That was probably when I was hungry and had been working on my website for hours trying to change something and then everything disappeared! I was quite furious because sometimes I feel like the electronic and digital world is plotting against me. I don’t understand why but my electronic stuff often tends to break down and stop working. I am generally very stable and easy-going but when I am hungry, everything is horrible.    #

Music Video to new single ‘Crossroads’

Interview by: Alex Minnis

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