Icelandair Stopover magazine - fall 2019

Page 20

Right: Of Monsters and Men playing Iceland Airwaves in 2016. Photo by Alexander Matukhno.

Left: Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar Þórhallsson at a concert in Fríkirkjan, Iceland Airwaves, in 2016. Photos by Varvara Lozenko.

FEVER DREAMING From alligators to head-banging bugs, Of Monsters and Men talk creativity, music production and travel adventures. BY LISA GAIL SHANNEN. PHOTOS COURTESY OF ICELAND AIRWAVES. After the release of their third studio album Fever Dream in July, Of Monsters and Men return to headline this year’s Iceland Airwaves. The concert marks nine years since their first performance at Airwaves, when they appeared as winners of the 2010 Icelandic Music Experiments (IME). Icelandair Stopover caught up with band members Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir (singer and guitarist) and Ragnar Þórhallsson, (lead guitarist and singer) to talk about their new album, music production, the joys of travel and encounters with bugs who love to rock out.

Let’s start by taking you back in time to 2010. What do you remember from the first time you performed at Iceland Airwaves? Ragnar: I remember we played seven shows [including off-venues] that year around Airwaves—we played non-stop. It was a lot of fun, super loud and there were loads of people. You’re coming back and headlining Iceland Airwaves this year. What does the event mean to you? Nanna: I remember the first time I bought a ticket. I was 18 and had just got a car, but then I couldn’t afford the gas to get there, so I had to sell my ticket. But the next year I made it, and I was really into it. It’s the very first festival I ever went to, and it was a big moment. Your world has been turned upside-down since you were signed in 2011: You’ve traveled the world, performed on TV shows and top festivals and even appeared on Game of Thrones. What have been the standout moments so far? Ragnar: I don’t know if it’s like specific moments. Going on those TV shows is kind of surreal, I always nervously blackout and appear after I’ve done it, so I don’t remember those experiences. There are a couple of moments when you look out at the audience, and you think, where am I? Those are not even the best shows … it’s just moments for me. Nanna: We’ve gotten to travel a lot, going to many cool places, like Mt. Fuji and the countryside in Japan where they have these giant spiders that jump onto the stage... you’re trying to play, but they’re coming at you. Ragnar: There was one moment in South Africa when we were doing a song, and a praying mantis started climbing up my mic stand, and it was bobbing its head to the music. I stopped singing because I thought it would jump in my mouth. But I made a connection with that praying mantis. I was amazed. After the show, I set it free.

18 Icelandair Stopover

You’ve performed countless times since the band formed almost a decade ago, but does anyone still get nervous before a show? Nanna: Yes, I do get nervous, but then you get into it, and you forget all about it—then suddenly it’s over. It’s mostly just when you’re about to walk onstage. I get more nervous in Iceland than anywhere else, though. Ragnar: Yeah, we did a song at our drummer’s wedding, and I was so nervous I was shaking, so stuff like that gets me.

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