And here it is, the complete list of Icelandic musicians performing at the 20th anniversary of Iceland Airwaves 2018. It’s under new management so there are probably a few more surprises coming our way, But here is the list of everything we know. So get digging in and learn about all the new stuff you haven’t heard before.
I’ll be doing a few blog posts with tips, recommendations etc… And this year I’ve started a series on the first time Icelandic musicians, you can see the first post here.
You can see my past Airwaves photos here, and my tips for a pleasant Airwaves as well.
Once again I’ve created a loosely sorted, by genre, cheat sheet for the Icelandic bands. Out of the 225 bands set to perform, 139 are Icelandic. This year the Airwaves team massively improved their line up page, you can search and sort by genre and country, but the genre sections is rather precise, so I’ve kept the categories rather broad here. To See the official Airwaves line-up page, click here.
With Icelandic bands it can always be hard to categorize their music styles as one of the greatest things about them is their ability to snag and grab their favorite things from all over the musical spectrum and make it work for them. So these lists are just general nods in the direction you may be looking for, for example, the Dance table, they sit right on the edge of electronic and dance pop/rock and beats. But I tried to focus on the prominence of a lead singer and the beats of the bulk of their songs in deciding which side to place them.
At the bottom you will also find the Spotify playlist for the entire festival.
Categorizing some bands can be extremely difficult as they run borders are freely through genres, so if you feel a band needs to be moved into a different category let me know and I’ll change it.
The final acts for Iceland Airwaves 2018 have been announced and there are a lot of Icelandic newbies on the roster. I’ve decided to blog about some of them and have included a brief history of each. Also, the bands have been kind enough to answer a few “getting to know you” questions. Hopefully I’ll be able to do a few of these posts between now and Airwaves.
Ateria is a family trio, sisters Ása and Eir and their cousin Fönn. Ateria formed in 2017, and won Iceland’s famous new music contest, Músíktilraunir in March of 2018. The trio have studied classical music for years, and their music incorporates what they’ve learned creating a darker folkrock-ish feeling. Funfact, the name “Ateria” is derived from the latin name for the eider duck, Somateria mollissima.
What acts would you say hold kinship with your music? Ateria: “One always perceives one’s own music differently than other people’s, so we find it very difficult to determine what acts are similar to ours.”
While this isn’t Kjartan Holm’s first time at Airwaves, previously performing with his other bands such as For a minor reflection and Tófa, this will be his first solo performance. His broad knowledge of musical genres have allowed him to collaborate, produce, and work with a great number of Icelandic musicians and has taken him all over the globe. Focused more on composition, his solo material carries an almost dark atmospheric sound combining a diverse pallet of instruments, sounds, and beats. Kjartan, along with Jónsi, Sin Fang, and Alex Somers, also created the background soundtrack to the store Fischer located in downtown Reykjavik.
What acts would you say hold kinship with your music? “I guess stuff like Tim Hecker, Stephen O’Malley, Ben Frost, Fennesz and things like that come to mind. When I write this kind of music I’m just following the mood I’m in at that particular moment. Mixing together processed sounds with recordings on top of that for endless amount of time until I’ve created something I think sounds interesting. The structure kind of comes automatically in that process.”
Do you have any albums, or merch for sale. Where do folks go to get it? “My debut album as a solo artist is being mastered as we speak. It won’t be out until early 2019 though. I have older stuff, everything from barely-touched demos to finished orchestral pieces on my Soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com/kjartanholm) but that’s about it for now. When the record is out I’ll start promoting in properly. For those interested they can check out my website for more sounds: www.kjartanholm.com”
If you could be any animal covering any song, what would you be, and what would you cover? “That’s easy. I’d be a Raccoon covering Belinda Carlisle’s ‘Heaven is a Place on Earth’.”
Shakes consist of Logi Marr and Frank Raven. You may have heard of Logi’s former band, Lily of the Vine but Shakes is as about as far from that sound as you can get. Formed in 2016 Shakes are on a mission to bring back real drums and good melodies. Their first E.P. is all about sex, drugs, and casualties.
What acts would you say hold kinship with your music? Shakes: “We don’t really feel like anything influences us really, our album Red Motel was basically about murdering your girlfriend in a motel room..never heard that before..but I guess Bobby Vinton is cool.”
What other Icelandic bands are you looking forward to seeing? Shakes: “No idea who’s playing besides us.”
Do you have any albums, or merch for sale. Where do folks go to get it? Shakes: “We have a 7″ double single vinyl for sale in the UK only. We will be bringing it for airwaves and people can buy it at the show. We will also maybe collaborate with a icelandic designer and bring some cool stuff for sale, you don’t wanna miss that.”
If you could be any animal covering any song, what would you be, and what would you cover? Shakes: “Shakes ARE fucking Cheetahs and I guess if we were covering we would do something badass, I wanna be adored with Stone Roses. Maybe we should on Airwaves..see you then.”
less than a year old, Sycamore tree has already gained quite the following. The duo consists of Ágústa Eva Erlendsdóttir, of Silvía Night fame, and the fashion designer Gunnar Hilmarsson. soothing instrumentals topped with an eloquent chanteuse. Another fun fact, Gunnar Hilmarsson once designed the uniforms for Wow Air.
What acts would you say hold kinship with your music? Sycamore Tree: “Sometimes it´s hard to tell for an artist to be the best judge on that. We create really without thinking about what other people do and we follow our heart. The names we hear popping up when people talk about the Sycamore Tree “Sound “ are everything from Leonard Cohen, Lee Hazlewood, Beth Gibbons to Mazzy Star. Basically we don´t know or really care to be honest.”
What other Icelandic bands are you looking forward to seeing? Sycamore Tree: “There are so many great ones. Warmland, Agent Fresco and Between Mountains I don´t want to miss. But I could mention so many more.”
Do you have any albums, or merch for sale. Where do folks go to get it? Sycamore Tree: “People will be able to buy our album in all music stores and most cafés in Reykjavik.”
If you could be any animal covering any song, what would you be, and what would you cover? Sycamore Tree: A Lion Covering Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) by David Bowie ( This is Gunni answering this question )
For the full line-up head over to here. And of course, to listen to the full line-up check out their Spotify playlist: