Although formed in 2010, you may not have heard of Robert The Roommate, one of the many bands to play off-venue at Iceland Airwaves this year. They produce folk-pop, that is definitely more folk than pop. They have a very organic sound, with an emphasis on melody and good old fashioned song writing. They once won a competition to find the best John Lennon cover in Iceland. They also have the daftest name for a band in Iceland. They are Robert the Roommate.
They have released their debut album earlier this year, and have continued to play gigs since then, slowly building a following. It was the same following that crowd funded their latest music video, to accompany ‘I Will Catch You When You Fall’, which was filmed in a Swedish forest, to great effect.
Percussionist Jón Óskar tells me a bit more about Robert the Roommate, including where that got that name.
Where on earth does the band’s name come from?
It’s actually kinda silly. It’s just a twist on Bob Dylan’s real name, Robert Zimmerman. Zimmer = German for room. Like I said…very silly!
Who are your influences?
They are so many. Leonard Cohen, Led Zeppelin, Fleet Foxes, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young… and many more. Of course, each member of the band has his or her own influences and that also shapes the sound of the band. This band was actually formed because Rósa wanted to do stripped down covers of Leonard Cohen songs. But that soon changed and we started to cover various songs from the 60’s and 70’s, as well as few newer songs. After about a year of that we started writing our own songs.
Can you introduce me to your band mates?
Rósa Guðrún Sveinsdóttir is our lead singer, she has also been known to pick up the flute occasionally. On guitar is Daníel Helgason. Þórdís Gerður Jónsdóttir plays the cello and on percussion is myself. Daníel, Þórdís and I also sing backing vocals.
You were raising funds on Karolina Fund. What’s that for?
We were trying to fund a music video for our first single called, ‘I Will Catch You When You Fall.’ And we’ve actually managed to reach our goal. So thanks to all the people who supported us on the Karolina Fund.
What’s next for the band?
We are going to play some gigs, promote our music and maybe write a new song or two.
Originally published on Iceland Review Online.