I can’t help being impressed by the number of bands that come out of Iceland, a country with a population the size of Malmö, Sweden. But are there really a music scene, let alone a metal scene to speak of?
-Yes definitely, even though the scene is maybe not very big, it’s still very dedicated and close knit. There are always new bands popping up and we have so many talented people over here. We have a lot of really good bands over here.
When you want to record are you forced to go abroad or are there local studios that you can use?
-There are a lot of good studios here and many people are also recording in their own houses or garages. But the problem we are facing is that even we have good producers for pop/indie/alt music, there are not many that truly “get” metal so some people go abroad or import their own producer. For our upcoming record we are for example getting the Swedish producer Fredrik Rheindal, who recorded the last two Sólstafir album.
Iceland is pretty isolated in the North Sea, half way to the North Pole. How isolated do you feel? And has this isolation helped shape your sound?
-Some days you feel the isolation more than others. It’s definitely harder for touring but if there’s a will there’s a way.
But the winters here are dark and endless so it’s maybe nothing better for us to do than to make music. The music scene here, whether it’s metal or something else, is very active, so many bands, rehearsal spaces and gigs. It’s actually pretty great for such a small country.
What is it really that has been the most significant factor in shaping your sound?
-First and foremost the dynamic in the band, between the band members and our influences. We are also not set in any form, we try everything until we are satisfied and we are always improving and always follow our instincts when it comes to writing music.
Is there a specific Icelandic sound to speak of? The pop/rock acts that have come from Iceland like Sugarcubes, Mùm or Sigur Ros doesn’t sound quite like anybody else.
-Some people say that they can hear “the Icelandic metal sound” but there are so many different metal bands here that we find it hard to hear a specific sound. But maybe it’s right, maybe we are just used to it and therefore a part of it!
The whole Scandinavian mythology seems to have its origin on Iceland. How much does the common history we share play a part in the concept of ANGIST?
-We are of course very much aware of it and we love the stories but it’s not connected to Angist’s music.
The lyrical conception is more what’s happening now, how people are behaving, or misbehaving, treating each other, how spoiled and greedy people are and can lack total empathy.
Can I ask about the band name? What is the general idea of it?
-Angist means torment or anguish. It sounds very powerful in Icelandic and we thought it was the perfect word to describe our music and lyrics.
When you have a record to promote how much attention do you get locally? Do they pick up the buzz once it has happened elsewhere?
-Well, we have only released an EP and that was late 2011. In 2012 it started to get more attention internationally and we feel that interest has been getting stronger and now we are feeling anticipation for our new album so we are really excited for that.
But locally it’s always much easier to promote your albums even though there are only few indie shops that will sell them but the metal scene knows that if you come to shows, you can buy people’s albums. Or even just go to people’s houses, grab a coffee and an album haha, it’s a small country!
What would you consider a success?
-To us, success is having fun with our music and we have already reached much further with our music than we even thought about in the beginning.
We really love playing music together and we are having so much fun, so combine that with releasing albums and touring, we are one happy bunch!
What would you like the future to hold for you?
-Well at the moment we are preparing to record our first full length album so hopefully it will be well received and we can do more tours. Playing live and connecting with new people is what we truly love. We are going on a tour (Ferðin til Heljar) in Iceland and Faeroe Islands this summer so that’s something we are very much looking forward to.