Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tips for Airwaves

giraffeThis will be my fifth year at Iceland Airwaves, and every year about this time the excitement sets in.  Iceland Airwaves is a unique festival and to a newbie the days of non-stop music, art, and beauty that surrounds them may be intimidating.  So here are a few pointers that I find make the experience more enjoyable.

The most important thing to remember is that you are going to enjoy yourself.  Iceland is a very laid back place and it’s people most likely will take care of you no matter the situation.  Positivity and awareness of the people around you goes a long way, so leave any ego of importance at home.   Do your best not to be rude or condescending and remember;  thousands of us have just accosted a small island to listen to music  so show a smile, be respectful and be grateful to our hosts.

The Icelandic musicians that are performing at Airwaves do so mostly for exposure and to entertain. If you dig something don’t be afraid to tell them after a gig. Also, keep in mind that a lot of the music you hear from the local scene will only be available for purchase in Iceland, don’t hesitate to buy it as you may not get another chance once leaving the island.  For me, I like to buy my merchandise at the off-venue gigs during the day so that I don’t have to carry it along with me for the major night performances.  Kex hostile will also have a pop-up music market set up where you can find a lot of the music exclusive to Iceland.

robots copy

While telling the band thank you is always appreciated, nobody likes a stalker. If by some chance you find out where the members of Sigur Rós, Of Monsters and Men, or The Sugarcubes happen to reside, don’t camp out waiting to catch a glimpse of them peeling an avocado through their kitchen window. Chances are if these guys are around, they want to listen and see the bands playing as well. It’s an island, not a zoo; and they are your concert going peers, not monkeys.  So let them enjoy the show as well.

Be Social, chances are you will find yourself waiting in line for a gig, or standing around waiting for a set to begin. Use this time to talk to the people around you. We all have our love for music in common, and talking with someone near you may lead to discoveries of bands you would have never thought to go and hear. Also, there are quite a few after parties and unplanned sets that happen around Reykjavik, being social will make attending these much easier.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken

Speaking of lines, there will be plenty of them. Make sure to plan your night accordingly and if it is a really popular band I suggest seeing the band scheduled before them at the venue to secure your spot. Also, there is a lot of music going on, if it looks like you’re not going to make it into the show go find another show to attend. With over 200 bands playing there is always something you’ll dig, usually right around the corner.

Explore Reykjavik and Iceland, there are many unique things about Iceland and the city of Reykjavik.  For uniqueness, there is the The Icelandic Phallological Museum.  I also suggest taking random walks down the side streets as there are a plethora of random murals covering unsuspecting walls around the city, as well as statues, art pieces, and um… bikes with sweaters.


I would suggest picking up the book “Top 10 Reykjavik and Iceland”.   The book is authored by one of the most knowledgeable individuals I know in regards to music and the Icelandic culture, Dr. Gunni.   It is chock-full of witty advice in regards to things to do and look out for around Reykjavik and Iceland.

Most hotels have access to day trip services and the information center is right next to where you pick up your festival wrist band. One of the most simple trips is the Golden Circle, you will get to see green houses, a geothermal plant, Geyser and the rest of the geysers, fields, horses, the continental divide, Alþingi, and of course, Gullfoss, a gorgeous waterfall that you are able to walk right up to, and sometimes on top of.

Be informed and prepared.  The Iceland Airwaves website has everything from the schedule, to a complete list of bands performing.  I have loosely sorted, and listed all Icelandic bands that will be at the festival with links to their playlists or websites, and the Reykjavik Grapevine has a blogging site dedicated to Iceland AIrwaves.  Also, it’s always a good idea to follow Iceland Airwaves on some type of social media as changes, new information, or updates on things such as the Airwaves App will be coming in the next month.

sunset RVK pond

There is a lot packed into such a little amount of time.  Be prepared, be kind, relax and be ready to explore and I promise you the festival will be a lot more enjoyable than you expected.  If it’s your first time coming, welcome and have fun.  If you have any other questions ask them in the comments and I will do my best to find you an answer.

And for God’s sake, don’t pee on peoples’ lawns, even if the locals are doing it.   That’s what back alleys and the sides of buildings are for, I mean bathrooms


Iceland Airwaves 2013

Typically I stay away from categorizing bands, as I find the lengths some people go to box a band in silly. But now that the final list of bands for Iceland Airwaves 2013 is out, I wanted to make an easier way for you to learn more about, and listen to the Icelandic bands that will be performing.

Of the 216 or so bands at this year’s Airwaves, 150 of them are Icelandic. With everything from a national symphony to death metal, electro-pop to hip-hop, you’re pretty much covered with things to listen to.

So, I have very loosely divided the bands into 5 different groups. Hip Hop, Composers and classical, Hardcore and all the metals, Electronic/Dance/close-to-dance, and the last, but definitely, largest group I will just call rock+, it consists of reggae, funk, blues, rock, harder rock, indie-er rock etc..etc…

As anyone can look up a band’s website, I had a process for picking which links to use. If I’ve written a piece on them the link will take you to that blog post. If not and they have a Gogoyoko or Soundcloud page, the link will take you there. After that it’s either their website or facebook page. I believe most the bands will take you to a page where you can stream at least some of their music.

If you don’t have a Gogoyoko account yet, I strongly urge you to get one. It’s free, and you can create your own playlists to share what you find, but more importantly, a great deal of the bands linked via gogoyoko have their own playlists making it easier for you to hear the songs they really like from all their albums. Like I said, it’s free and takes little to no time to sign up, so just do it. Think of it as an Icelandic Spotify account that actually gives back to the artist.

After the list of bands you will find both the Spotify and the Soundcloud playlists for all Airwaves artists. And, clicking here will take you to the full Schedule so schedule away.

If I’ve missed a band, or you feel strongly that a band should be classified differently let me know. And now, for your researching and listening pleasure, here are the bands, in order from smallest to largest table:

Hip Hop

Cell7 Emmsje Gauti Epic Rain Kött Grá Pje
Original Melody Ramses Ulfur Ulfur


Biggi Hilmars Daníel Bjarnason Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Jónas Sen Nordic Affect Skuli Sverrisson
Þóranna Dögg Björnsdóttir AKA Trouble Úlfur Eldjárn Saktmodigur

Hardcore / Metals

Æla Agent Fresco AMFJ Angist
Blood Feud Dimma Endless Dark In the Company of Men
Kimono Kontinuum Momentum Muck
Ophidian I Sign Skepna Sólstafir
Strigaskór Nr 42 Svartidauði Trust the Lies Wistaria

Electronic / Experimental / Dance

Apparat Organ Quartet Árni² Aux Pan Berndsen
Björk Viggósdóttir A.K.A. Lala Alaska Bloodgroup Captain Fufanu DJ AnDre
DJ Flugvél og Geimskip FKNHNDSM FM Belfast FutureGrapher
Ghostigital Gluteus Maximus Hermigervill Housekell
Kajak Kippi Kaninus Kira Kira Legend
M-Band Magnoose Nolo Nora
Oculus Pedro Pilatus Prins Polo Quadruplos
Oculus Reptilicus Sísý Ey Skurken
Sometime Subminimal Sykur Tanya & Marlon
Terrordisco ThiZone Tonik Vök

Rock / Indie Rock / Reggae / Blues / funk / etc..etc…

1860 Amaba Dama Amiina Árstíðir
Aragrúi Ásgeir Bárujárn Bellstop>
Benny Crespo’s Gang Bob Justman/a Boogie Trouble Borko
Caterpillarmen Dikta Dísa Eldar
Elín Ey Emiliana Torrini Fears For a minor reflection
Gang Related Grísalappalísa Grúska Babúska Halleluwah
Hellvar Hjaltalín Hudson Wayne Hymnalaya
Jan Mayen Hjaltalín Jóhann Kristinsson John Grant
Kaleo Kiriyama Family Kjurr Lára Rúnars
Lay Low Leaves Lockerbie Loji
Love & Fog MAMMÚT Mono Town Moses Hightower
múm Nini Wilson Ólafur Arnalds Nolem
Ojba Rasta My Bubba Myrra Rós Oyama
Pascal Pinon Pétur ben Ragga Gröndal Retro Stefson
RetRoBot Rökkurró Runar Magnusson Samaris
Samúel Jón Samúelsson Big Band Sin Fang</a Sindri Eldon & The Ways Snorri Helgason
Sóley Stafrænn Hákon Stroff The Wicked Strangers
Þórir Georg Tilbury UMTBS Útidúr
Valdimar Vigri Valdimar Vintage Caravan YLJA

and here is their Spotify playlist: