Regular readers will know that Iceland Airwaves 2011 was part of the reason I started this blog. They will also know that Vicky were one of my favourite bands, having caught them playing both an intimate, ‘violin enhanced’ semi-acoustic set and an ‘outfit coordinated’ noisefest.
Their album ‘Cast A Light’ is a fun bundle of great guitar-riffs, angst ridden lyrics and shout-a-long choruses – a damn fine rock record. Don’t believe me? Then check out this review from Rolling Stone.
Taking all this into account, you can imagine I was very happy when the band agreed to have a chat on the eve of their upcoming hometown gig.
Hi Vicky – are you well? What are you up to at the moment?
Hi! We’re good thank you; just planning our release concert for the album Cast a Light, that we’re going to have in an old theatre (bæjarbíó) in our “hometown”, Hafnarfjörður.
I understand your name was originally ‘Vicky Pollard’ after the character from Little Britain. What TV shows are currently making you laugh?
Yes that´s right. Funny, that seems so long ago but still it isn´t more than five years ago. When we were ready with our first album, our name was still Vicky Pollard, but that changed during the artwork on the album because we didn´t want to take any chances in case of legal arguments! This name is better when we think about it… TV shows..? We all share these dark humour type of shows like Family Guy, Little Britain, South Park and so on.
At Airwaves ’11 I was lucky enough to see you play both an acoustic set and the full electric version. What is most nerve-racking?
The acoustics are always more intimidating because then you can´t hide behind the distortion pedal and the reverb and stuff like that. They are more up close and people ask for more intimacy. So yes the acoustic one for sure.
Having seen the acoustic show first, I was pretty taken aback by how full on the main show was – is being a rock band a dream come true?
Yes it is. We all share this dream and are very happy about doing what we do. This has been an amazing experience and hopefully it is just beginning!
My colleague at Airwaves, Victorsson, was very taken by Karlotta’s green hair – any hair experimentation going on in the band at the moment?
Hahaha… Lotta´s hair is always changing. Maybe it is tuned in with the weather in Iceland!?
Vicky know how to write a great chorus – please give us an insight into the song writing process in the band.
Well thank you… Most of our songs have been created as an instrumental song to begin with. We start with a guitar riff or a bass line and then we find the right groove for the song. Once we have the right tempo and the groove, Eygló brings her thing to it and then we just find out the length for each part and so on. But also, sometimes it just happens all at once somehow by jamming at practices.
How would you describe your music?
“If the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Foo Fighters would have a lovechild under a Volcano in Iceland….” That would be Vicky!
Are you pleased with the reception to ‘Cast A Light’?
Yes we could not be happier! All the comments we have heard are on the positive notes, so that must be a good thing! But then again I guess we don’t get the negative comments… Nobody dares to say something negative to us… haha.
With many great bands in Iceland, do you think there is a competitive environment that pushes the bands to new & better things?
Might be, with only 300,000 people living here and so many bands fighting for the attention, you have to be doing something new and different to stand out.
Who are your musical influences?
We all come from different musical backgrounds so naming some influence for the band is kind of hard, the list goes from Queen to Kiss to Pantera to Opera. So it´s complicated!
You finished 2011 on a high with a great write up in Rolling Stone – what are your hopes and aspirations for 2012?
Our main plans are the release concert this month and following it by playing all over Iceland this Summer. Hopefully we’ll do a tour abroad, but when and where is not confirmed at the moment.
What were your favourite records of last year?
Since we all have so different tastes in music the list is really wide, to name a few: In Flames – Sounds of a Playground Fading, Bon Iver – Bon Iver, PJ Harvey- Let England Shake..
What would be your dream Airwaves line-up?
Less indie folk stuff and more rock and roll!!
Any plans to join us in the UK for a few gigs?
Hopefully! Sadly we have never played in the UK, but we have planned little tours there before, but there’s always something that comes up… But it’s definitely in our plans.
Thanks to all of Vicky for taking the time to chat.
If you are in Iceland then do try and catch the live Vicky experience. The release concert will be on the 12th of April, in bæjarbíó (town theatre) in Hafnarfjörður, the Facebook event is here: http://www.facebook.com/events/234349256664453/
Ticket sales: http://midi.is/tonleikar/1/6938/
Photographs by @jvictorsson - please check out his flickr page for more from Airwaves & other gigs