“I like his old style, in his house out there. His windows are eyes, his garden has waterfalls. But his waterfalls are tears, (they) come from him. He will fill this house. He takes my hand and whispers. I’ll drown when I see you.” (I’ll drown, Sóley)
To drown. Maybe it could be something not so negative.
In the collective imagination, to drown means sinking into the waters with no coming back.
We have posed our RVK BVD Questions to Sóley and we’ve drowned. Even though the lyrics of her works lowers her in a “Burtonian” world, we have done that sinking in an ocean of candy floss clouds, dreaming of finding that beauty which is so rare in the real world. Dreaming of being in a fairy tale where Sóley had windows instead of goggles, with the view on a green meadow touched by a spring wind and waterfalls of words, smooth like tears. A surreal fairy tale where you can whisper questions and answers, slipping hand in hand in an ocean of inspiration. While we were drowning in this story characterized by an ancient decoration, surrounded by faded black and white photos of people who brought their dreams before us, we shared this carefree chat:
S.: I just bought an apartment with my boyfriend so I have to say that this is my favorite place in town at the moment. I’m from Hafnarfjörður, a small town ten minutes away from Reykjavik, I just moved here… So I guess my new apartment is my favorite place and I’ll probably have some good memories from there soon. I think that my favorite venue could be Kaldalón @Harpa, it’s like a little black box, the smallest venue there. Fríkirkjan is also very nice, but still my favorite is Kaldalón.
S.: Visual is important. Actually, my music itself is quit “visual”: I always try to picture in my mind the stories I sing. The funniest thing for me is writing the lyrics trying to leave them a little bit opened, so the people listening to them will try to see what I see. Or feel. Maybe imagine something else too. Talking about artists Inga Birgisdóttir made the artwork for both the albums I released, and this was pretty important in my music. Actually, my boyfriend does really nice drawings too.
S.: PIANO, of course. Then I would pick up DREAMS, I like using dreams to make up lyrics and music… Everything that is SURREAL – like not normal – really inspires me.
S.: Airwaves is so busy all the time, I am always a little bit sad when I can’t see all the bands I would like to see. Last year I saw Tune-Yards and I really wanted to see Beach House but I was playing at the same time. I also saw Hot Chip in 2005: I wasn’t old enough to go to Airwaves and I saw them in a off-venue and always remember that, it was really nice. My show at Kaldalón was really important for me because it was one of my first shows and I was really nervous, it was like the beginning of everything. Another curious moment I can remember is when I was on tour and I was in a really bad mood – you know sometimes when you are far from home it can happen – and Albert, a member of my band, was really quiet. He was supposed to sit on a chair on stage but he missed the chair and fell on the stage and suddenly my bad mood changed and I started laughing so much – of course once established everything was ok with him – and I think it is really important to have some funny moments, especially when you need something to cheer up yourself! A less funny moment was during one of my last shows in town before this Airwaves, it was a free show and I was closing it… I asked not to be the last because my kind of music is not the right one to party hard, so I went on stage and everybody was talking so loud… probably louder than my music, so it was maybe one of my top-5 worst shows ever… It was fine, but I really love when I go in a really nice show and people just listen, but sometimes you play too late and people go crazy and you can’t really control them… I try to play earlier when possible. You can’t do anything, you can’t be angry, just play your songs and leave the stage, unfortunately.
S.: I think that if they close down venues there will always be something new opening. But it’s always sad when they close venues to build hotels, like it happened with NASA: that was a big venue, very nice and the sound system was very good… You don’t want to lose those big nice venues, you have very good memories there. But if it must be like that, there will be something else, there are always concerts here and this situation won’t change. Otherwise musicians will only try to go abroad and maybe there won’t be any concerts… And no more people too. Reykjavik is so small, you always go to the same places, they are very close to each other and you move from one to the other and have fun so it is important to have those bars and stuff for the young people.
S.: When I compose music and write lyrics, like in the last album, I try not to talk about my life. I try to write about another reality, another world, in dreams. I write songs in English and it is not my mother tongue so sometimes I can only find one word to express myself; this is limitative, but on the other hand lyrics become more” opened” because they’re a little bit… Maybe more childish, you can use your imagination… Probably grammatically are not completely right, but I don’t care too much because I really want people to understand them. So, if I keep them simple, people from all over the world can find the words simple and so they can all understand and might make sense in a way. People sometimes talk to me or write me and tell me what a song means for them, they find their own way to see the songs because their experiences are different from mines; they can use the lyrics as they want and I am always curious to see what they see. It’s great when they can really go into the music and see images from lyrics, and that’s what I like about art: I don’t like when it goes in a ear and goes out from the other, like the mainstream stuff. I always start from music and then add lyrics. By the way, for the new album I’m trying to do the opposite because I would like to make the album more like one whole story so I’m trying with this way. I’m going in tour in November and when it will be finished I’m gonna lock myself in my garage to start this big project trying to see and hear the whole project and not the single songs. I will need a timeline to see the beginning and the end, like when you compose classical music.
Before leaving her to the soundcheck, we asked her what will happen to her common project with Seabear (of which Sin Fang is another important member) and she answered that:
S.: We are both focusing on our solo projects now, for the next two years maybe.
We couldn’t possibly refuse to ask her, between a photo and the other, something about her style. Sóley, amused, explained us that:
S.: As a teenager I wasn’t a very “normal” person, I mean I was always wearing something weird but didn’t feel comfortable because everybody else was wearing normal stuff. But then when I grew up I started to understand that when you feel confortable no matter how you dress, then people see it and accept it. I have my clothes and I really like trying something new over the same stuff, not wearing always the same combination. It’s always an hard decision, but the best thing is to decide it before you go to sleep! Doesn’t always happen though. Then when I buy something I really like, I wear it until I get really bored of it, this is really “using” your clothes – in the end you’re almost gonna hate them -! I really like putting accessories on me, having nice and long necklaces wearing black or white clothes. I just wear whatever I want, I like it.
We really liked her behavior, her kindness, her spontaneousness. Probably, her ability to use many instruments allowed her to pick the right strings in people’s soul which are not so accessible to anyone. While she sings, if you don’t look at piano which she delicately plays as she was stroking it, she can give you the sensation to be involved in changing a baby on his changing table, or in preparing something soft, maybe a cake or some bread. If we look at her behind her guitar, we imagine a child who find the way to escape from a dark nightmare full of strange creatures through the light generated by her chords. Maybe there’s something in her smile, or in her glance which makes you feel close to her own upside world, and which makes you believe to have the chance to be her friend, to really get to know each other. It something that certainly enriches you. Like a fairytale.
“Will you be my friend in my dream? Take that pretty face off, show me.” (Pretty Face, Sóley)