Lockerbie have released their brand new track ‘Heim’ into the world today. You can listen to it here, and whilst you listen, have a read of my interview with Davíð from the band from last year. It’s a good ‘un!
I first came across Lockerbie at Iceland Airwaves a couple of years ago. I was first struck by their name—what sort of band would name themselves after a town in Southwest Scotland that was subject to a terrible tragedy in 1988?
I still don’t know the answer.
I do know this though: Lockerbie (the band) are purveyors of fine melodic rock that is both complex and simple, loud and quiet, definitively Icelandic and at the same time unique.
It’s rock with strings and brass. It’s pop with brains. I caught up with Davíð Arnar Sigurðsson from the band to find out a bit more about this confusing little group.
Where does the name Lockerbie come from? Obviously the word itself is associated with the tragedy in Scotland.
Actually the idea came from a friend named Sævar who joined the band few months after it was formed. He wrote a song about the tragedy in the town Lockerbie and it was one of our first songs.
We decided to call ourselves Lockerbie after the song on one of our early concerts and the name got its roots deep and we never seemed to be satisfied with another name.
How would you describe your music? When do you think is best to listen to it?
We think you can describe our music as melodic pop-rock under a big post-rock influence. I always think this is music that you should listen to with the lights off in good headphones. This is not music that you should listen to while vacuuming because there is so much to be heard.
Of course, live at a concert is another good place to listen to the music. This is music that needs your attention so you can enjoy it, full of brass and strings that binds the songs together.
Your music seems to be mature—grown-up in a good way, and yet you are clearly quite young. Is this a conscious decision?
Well, thanks for that. It’s fair to say that we are quite young (all born in the great year of 1991) and all of the songs on this album were written between the age of 15 and 19.
Þórður [Páll Pálsson] and I have been studying music for a long time and have been really lucky to work with a lot of great musicians. For example, my music teacher is Sóley who is becoming quite big in the Icelandic music scene and she has helped us a lot.
But our music is really just what happens when the four of us get together and play. So, a conscious decision? No.
You use a whole range of instruments, including brass, in your sound. How did this eclectic mix come about?
I think it’s partly because a lot of music that we listen to has brass and strings involved. We listen to musicians like Sufjan Stevens and Sigur Rós and that has obviously influenced us. It’s also quite common in Iceland that bands use brass and strings in their music.
Are you sick of Sigur Rós/ Björk/ any other Icelandic band comparisons yet? What if I mention the word ‘glacial’?!
I’m not sure that sick is the right word. However in almost every review (especially in foreign ones) we hear about the Sigur Rós comparison.
Being in a kind of a post-rock band from Iceland who sings in Icelandic, I can understand why people see the connection with Sigur Rós. The band itself, Sigur Rós, are a great band and being compared with them and not getting a D- has to be good.
We have not been compared with Björk yet but the same thing goes for her. Glacial smacial.
Are you playing this year’s Airwaves festival? How important is playing live to Lockerbie?
We most certainly hope so! We played twice last year and the shows were much bigger than the first time we played Airwaves. We are active during the summer here in Iceland and we are currently booking a tour in Europe in the month before Airwaves.
When performing live we have fun and it is the reason we play. The importance of playing live is at a high level for us and probably for every other band as well.
Who (else) should we look out for on the Icelandic new music scene?
Well, our friends in Of Monsters and Men are getting really big, both in USA and also in Europe. If you like rock music, Agent Fresco is a great band too.
We also have great indie artists like Sóley, Sin Fang and Hjaltalín. Ólafur Arnalds, Gus Gus and a lot of other bands. We really have a lot of great bands in Iceland.
Why is new music so popular in Iceland?
The music scene is really active so there are always some new albums coming out every week. The market here is also really small so it’s not that difficult to break through in the Icelandic market so that might also play a part!
I think Lockerbie could have chosen a better name. I enjoy their music, though, and I can’t wait to see them at Airwaves. The rest as they say, is just glacial smacial.