Feature: Árstíðir

Árstíðir im Interview & Albumfeature

Árstíðir Albumfeature und Interview; Fotocredit: Lisa Nowinski

Árstíðir sitzen da ganz happy und zufrieden auf der Couch. Irgendwie passt der Eindruck, den man über dieses Pressebild gewinnen kann gut zum neuen Album „Bilk“ der isländischen Pop-Garde Árstíðir. Dass sie nach dem achten Studioalbum aber immer noch voll am hypen sind und gar nicht mal so relaxed, das hätte ich jetzt nicht unbedingt gedacht. So kommt doch immer eine gewisse Routine ins Spiel. Aber so ist das nun mal, wenn die Isländer jedes Album als einen weiteren Meilenstein sehen. Daran kann man sich dann gut messen lassen. Am 15. September erschien „BILK“ und darauf haben die Isländer 11 neue Tracks herausgebracht. Es hätten aber deutlich mehr sein können. So entstanden in den letzten Jahren wirklich viele neue Songs. Ein wahres Sammelsurium an Songs.

We always just let it happen, and we’ve never tried to “steer” our sound.

„BILK“ ist die Wiedergeburt der Band. So beschreiben sie es und nach 15 Jahren Zusammengehörigkeit und 13 Jahren Tourleben, sind die Isländer auch musikalisch nochmal mehr zusammengerückt. Der Song „Your Shadow“, mit seinem ansteckenden Refrain und den typischen Gesangsharmonien der Band, ist eine leichte und poppige Single, deren Melodie sich wie ein Schatten an einen heftet und jeden deiner Schritte verfolgt. Und das ist irgendwie Programm auf der Platte. Pop wird neu gedacht, fast ästhetisch schon und so, dass man Pop ohnehin ganz anders wahrnimmt. Die Magie passiert einfach bei Árstíðir und sie formen warm, wohlig klingende Pop-Perlen.

„Happy dudes“. So sehen sie sich selbst, wenn sie in den Spiegel blicken und genau so ein Gefühl breitet sich auch beim Hören der Platte aus.

With “BLIK” you are releasing your eighth studio album. Are you totally relaxed when it comes to looking forward to a release or are you still excited?

Árstíðir: „Our music and our lives have become so intertwined through the years that every album we make represents a mile-stone in our personal lives as well as our career. We look forward to each release the same way as we look forward to a new chapter in our lives. BLIK represents yet another re-birth of our band, and we’re
always equally excited each time. However, after 15 years together and 13 years of international touring we’re also quite level-headed when it comes to expectations. We know that our music is great, and once we reach people they usually stay with us for life. Through hard work and tenacity we’ve built a wonderful and devoted fan-base over the years – our tribe – which has crowdfunded many of our albums (including BLIK) and supports everything we do. We’re doing what we do because of them, and thanks to them! And so here we are, about to release our eight album and we’re simply filled with feelings of gratitude for being able to do what we do and keep creating music that we love!“

You have always expressed a certain openness to experimentation in your sounds. Does your willingness to experiment sometimes require clear rules or do you just let it happen?

Árstíðir: „We always just let it happen, and we’ve never tried to “steer” our sound. With this approach comes a certain honesty that our fans appreciate. There is no acting or charades on our behalf, we always make music the
way we hear it, and we always go on stage as who we are. As we mature as individuals, so does our taste of music. Now we’re BLIK, and in our minds this is the most honest portrayal of our band anno 2023. When we write music for a new album it is always a very focused and intense affair. We isolate in the studio for weeks on end and the only rule is that there are no rules. Every member is allowed to bring any idea to the table – however weird or outlandish – and every idea and song gets a chance to be tested and recorded in the studio. For BLIK we made demos of more than 30 song ideas. Then we let some of our core fans and friends from the music scene listen to the demos and rate the songs that they liked the best. The ones that got the most votes ended up on the album!“

As much negative as Corona has brought about in the music industry in recent years, 30 new tracks that are released across two albums are actually an extremely pleasing artistic confirmation for you, aren’t they?

Árstíðir: „Hehe, yes! And the lockdowns and isolations during the pandemic actually helped our process, since we had even more time to spend together in the studio. We the members view each other as brothers by now –
family! – and so when the authorities asked everyone in iceland to isolate and only be in a room with family
members we said “Yeah, Árstíðir is our family” and so the covid years have been the most productive of our

“BLIK” has become very poppy. At what step in the creation did you realize that you were going in this direction and why did you just let it happen like that?

Árstíðir: „Through the years a lot of our music has been brooding, dramatic and very emotional. But everyone who knows us and those who have been to our concerts know that betweens songs and in everyday life we’re
pretty happy dudes. We’re always playing silly jokes on each other and laughing a lot. On BLIK we simply
allowed this side of us to show up more in our music. Also, with the pandemic going on while we were writing, we felt it was important to focus on the joy and “Bring Back The Feel”, for our own sake and our listeners sake.“

Even if the genre „pop“ is perhaps the simpler music in the ears of many listeners, why are your new songs the opposite of total simplicity and reflect the musical work of the „classic“ Árstíðir songs?

Árstíðir: „Great pop is actually an underrated art form! Listen to Abba, Queen or Elton John! Their music is extremely catchy, but the songs are not alway easy to play. It’s highly intelligent songwriting that takes a lot of labor to construct, but still the songs are super easy to fall in love with! This is exactly what we were aiming for on BLIK and we feel that we really managed to strike this fine balance between craftsmanship and catchiness!“

präsentiert von Kulturnews
13.11. Oberhausen – Zentrum Altenberg
14.11. (LUX) Dudelange – Centre Culturel Régional Opderschmelz
15.11. Köln – Kulturkirche
16.11. Hamburg – Christianskirche
17.11. Berlin – Prachtwerk
20.11. Dresden – Filmtheater Schauburg
23.11.(AT) Wien – Theater am Spittelberg
24.11.(CH) Rorschach – Industrie36
25.11. Frankfurt – Brotfabrik
26.11. Neunkirchen – Gebläsehalle Neunkirchen


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