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Stafrænn Hákon


Stafrænn Hákon

Hi Olafur, i´m glad you accept to be here with us. Would you introduce yourself?
Hello my name is Ólafur Josephsson and i´m the person behind the Stafrænn Hákon project. A friend of mine Samuel White is also a big contributor.

Your music is very feelings oriented, what is your motivation when you start writing new material?
Well I don´t seek particular motivation when writing music. It sort of just appears in my head and then I try to capture the idea I have by somehow record it with any of my instruments. Usually I use my crappy acoustic guitar to form the idea or my electric guitar. New material is always hard to start work on. It always feels very hard to decide to write something new, like if you´ve decided that a new song is to be written it always turns out to be something weird and will eventually not work. But if the situation comes up where i´m experimenting or just fooling around with my guitar, something nice usually comes up.

Being from Iceland has something to do with the aura of loneliness that carries your music?
Definitely not. I’m not a lonely man nor am I an elf or a bloody snowman which seems to be the general image of people coming from Iceland. I’m just a pretty normal guy who likes music and likes to write music. I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t seek for world peace like most of those indie hippies. The fact that I make slow atmospheric music makes most people categorize myself as a deep thinking tea drinking man watching the ice landscape from a winter cabin seeking inspiration. But fact is that I am Icelandic and therefore I am probably inspired by something from my own country. There are few people who live over there and therefore I believe most people think their country has something special, but what that is I can’t really say.

What is your reaction to the comparisons to Mogwai and Sigur Ros?
I guess I feel very proud of being tagged to such highly rated musicians. But music is very easy to compare with other music. Usually when you hear something new you’d compare it to something you’ve heard before, that’s just basic way of reacting to new things. So if people like to compare my stuff to those bands then fine by me, I don’t bother really. Actually I can´t really see the comparison to those fine artists to be honest other than being somehow instrumental. But as for my new album coming out later this year it will only be 20% instrumental.

You have been recording solo material since late 1999, a pretty long time. What keep you motivated at this stage in your career?
I don’t know really. I guess curiosity has taken me a long way. I had no idea my music would ever reach out of Iceland so I guess that opportunity has given me some extra creativity of making new albums. In fact this project started as a joke, trying to make these really weird song titles which me and my friends thought might be sort of funny, but only in Icelandic. But then my songwriting skills sort of evolved and I thought I’d give it a shot and try to put something together which eventually became Stafrænn Hákon.

I’m very amaze at how impossible to define it’s your music, how can you achieve that without ever being close to a definitive style of music?
well thank you, I take that as a compliment. This is a very hard topic to tackle. I mean music will always be put into categories whether musicians like that or not. I reckon very few people who are not making “fashion basedâ€? music don´t ever think of what genre they are working within. It’s easy to define music when you are a listener but when you are working with your own music it just happens to sound different to you than to the listener. Therefore I believe the musician usually has no idea what direction the music is going, due to the fact that there are way too many genres around. And it doesn’t make any sense working within a territory, just do what you think sounds the best for yourself and what you are happy with I guess.

While Sigur Ros, Worm is Green, Bjork and even the scottish Mogwai are more electronic oriented, your music seems to be more towards the guitar as the dominant instrument. What can you tell us about this?
Well guitar has always been the main instruments of Stafrænn Hákon, trying to avoid synthesizers and such. But that is totally different at this point. My last album “Ventill / Pokiâ€? is full of electronical beats which were mixed with live drums as well, trying to make the music a bit more dynamic. My new album which will hopefully be out this year will have alots of electronical beats and glitches along with some heavy drums. In fact the new album will have alots of acoustic instruments on it (bells, Harps, melodicas, harmonium, piano, organ, banjo, and mandolin) to name a few. So I guess that is definitely a new approach to my music, and hopefully it will appeal to some more ears.

What was the response in the American audience with your first album Eignast Jeppa. Are they supportive with the latest production?
My first album was released by this very small label called Secret Eye. Actually I have not been in touch with them since the release, so I have no idea what they are doing with the album. It’s probably just in their drawers or something. So no they have not really shown me any interest with this release, but they are nice people. I hope I can get this album re-re-released in Europe at some point because I feel it’s very weird sounding and I think I’ll never be able to capture the sound of that record to be honest, it´s really lo-fi. But I think the record did get some distribution over there and I got some respond, but not a lot.

Any additional comments?
Thanks for the interview, ye and my grandfather was half Italian. :J Best regards.

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