Q&A with Seabear (11-02-10)

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Interview with Seabear (answers by Sóley Stefánsdóttir and Sindri Már Sigfússon)

Beth Yeckley (TBI): How has touring in the US for the first time been this year?

Seabear: Very good. It´s good to come to new places and the people are really nice in USA.

TBI: It looks like you’ve been touring with and will tour with a bunch of different bands… what have been some of the best bands to play with this year?

SBear: We played with Beach House at the Haldern Pop festival. We like them a lot. The Icelandic bands Kimono and Hudson Wayne supported us on Europe tours this year.

TBI: What has been the best show you’ve played so far in the US? Why?

SBear: New York (Mercury Lounge) was great! Also the show in Austin (The Hideout) and the Chicago show. Great audiences and good energy!

TBI: A lot of bands start small and grow larger… I’m always interested in the dynamics of the band and how they develop as members are added and as proximity to each other increases. I heard that for your first album, a lot of the skeleton was laid down by Sindri and then the other members added their parts to bring it all together. What was the process like for the second album?

SBear: We Built A Fire was made by all members equally. Someone came up with an idea and the others played their melodies over it. Just like an ordinary band album!

TBI: And how has the band grown since the first album?

SBear: I think the second album was a bit more of a band album, more upbeat and a “bigger” kind of sound. I think it comes from playing live a lot, you tend to play the songs faster and louder as that is more fun. The next album will probably be more in that direction but we haven’t really talked about it.

TBI: Is music a full time gig for your whole band now? Or are you all working other jobs or on other projects when you’re not on tour?

SBear: We all have other things, other bands (Sin Fang, Kimono, Skakkamanage, Soley) and some people have jobs and go to school.

TBI: Sigur Ros and Bjork obviously come to mind when thinking of Iceland’s music exports. What can you tell us about the current music scene there now?

SBear: There are lots of good bands playing in Reykjavik these days, too many to mention but here are a few: FM Belfast, Retro Stefson, Prins Polo, Borko, Nóló, múm, Hjaltalín, Reykjavík!, Mugison, amiina, Skakkamanage, Skelkur í Bringu, dj.flugvél og geimskip, jónsi, Ojba Rasta, and many more. I’m forgetting a lot!

TBI: As you grow in international popularity, do you think you will leave Iceland to record your next album?

SBear: I’m not sure but we’ve talked about getting some producer to record it so maybe we’ll go abroad and do it.

TBI: Would you ever consider making some songs in your native tongue?

SBear: Yes we’ll probably do that someday.

TBI: Have you ever tried translating the songs from your albums into Icelandic? Do they (or do you think they would) sound as good?

SBear: No we’ve never done that. I’m not sure they would change a lot. Maybe we should try it!

TBI: Your lyrics feel very complex (they are incredibly beautiful and moving)… it feels like each line tells a story, and that all the lines put together relate to things that aren’t revealed to the listener (songs like “Wolfboy” and “We Fell Off The Roof” and most of them). There also seems to be a lot of conflict in the songs. Are the songs inspired by specific events that have happened in your lives? Or did you just write, very creatively, what you felt at the time?

SBear: I find it easier to do a theme for each album, like some imaginary place where the lyrics come from. So I would say it’s a mix of things from my life and made up stuff. I find writing the lyrics one of the hardest things about writing a song but also very fun when they are done.

TBI: What are some of your tour essentials? Things you can’t go on the road without?

SBear: For most of us it’s our computers I guess. And clean underwear.

TBI: Who are some of the artists you are loving right now?

SBear: Hildur from Amiina, Beach House, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen.

TBI: If you could collaborate with any other artists right now, who would they be?

SBear: Prince.

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