Here’s a quick chat we had with Nanna from Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men. Yes we talked about that dude killing a bear.
NT: Was there any pressure recording ‘My Head Is An Animal’ after deciding to sign with
NBH : No, not really. We had already recorded My Head Is An Animal before signing with Universal. It had only been released in Iceland. But after signing, we decided to go back to the studio and record two new songs for the album just to make the two releases a bit different. It was definitely a different process than before but the pressure was only on two songs, not an entire record so the pressure wasn’t crazy
NT:You guys have already sold out many venues for your upcoming tour, are you at all taken back by how many people are waiting to see you?
NBH:Yes, we are very pleasantly surprised. This is our first tour outside of Iceland and only like the second country that we have visited. We didn’t realize that we had such a good fan base. I guess at first we were kind of imagining playing some shows for pretty much just the bartender but we are happy to have a full room and we can’t wait to play for them!
NT: Are there feelings of isolation living in Iceland, how much of an influence does it have on your music?
NBH: Yeah, being on a little island in the middle of the ocean can feel very isolating, especially now during the winter time. But it’s the good kind of isolation. It’s sort of the peace and quiet kind. I think we are inspired by the isolation because it’s in a way a calming thing – at least i don’t work well under a lot of stress. I need my peace and quiet
NT: Were you excited the first time you guys payed Iceland Airwaves? It’s a pretty big deal!
NBH: Oh yeah! When we won Músiktilraunir (Iceland’s sort of Battle of the Bands competition) one of the prizes was playing at the Iceland Airwaves festival. I remember thinking that was the best prize. Some of us had played with different bands and projects at Iceland Airwaves before
but the festival turned out to be a big success for us as a band and created a good hype for the 2011 Airwaves festival, which was over the top!
NT: Is the story behind the song ‘Six Weeks’ which involves American hiker Hugh Glass killing a bear after being attacked by it, a true story?
NBH: As far as we know, it’s true. Apparently he was attacked by a bear and killed it, but was left by his team who thought he was dead. When he regained consciousness, he crawled for six
weeks until he got home. Total badass!
NT: Can we expect more instrumentation and harmonizing on ‘My Head Is An Animal?
NBH: Well, we have some mellow songs and some that are pretty “big” on My Head Is An Animal. We’re hoping to give people the best of both wolds. When we were recording we layered and layered the bigger songs. giving them an even bigger feel, while Love Love Love for example was entirely live and not layered at all, leaving all additional creaking and sounds alone and vulnurable. I think that describes My Head Is An Animal well…we have great highs and low lows.
NT: What five albums would you say had the most influence on you?
NBH: It’s very different for all of us. But speaking for myself i’d say
“For Emma, Forever Ago” by Bon Iver. My favorite album.
“Lonely Mountain” by Mugison. Mugison is a great Icelandic musician that had a lot of impact on me when i first started playing music. “Lonely Mountain” is mostly an electric album (witch is not his style today) but the last song on the album called “Poke a Pal” is acoustic. It was probably the first song that i ever wanted to learn how to play.
“Fleet Foxes” by Fleet Foxes
“Please Don’t Hate Me” by Lay Low. Being from Iceland I was of course influenced by other Icelandic artists and Lay Low, like Mugison, was one of those artists. She will be joining us on our U.S tour! Must check her out!
“Oracular Spectacular” by MGMT. I remember seeing them at Roskilde festival in 2008 and losing my mind.