Written by Chad Rea on Tue, 23 Dec 1997 17:04:10 EST.

Take a look folks. There's pix too.

With Biggi and Hafdis
September 24, 1997

Is, uh, Biggi or Siggi in?/Uh, Biggi is in./

May I speak with Biggi then?/Yes./




Hi, my name is Chad Rea. I'm calling on behalf of Dr. Martens/Yeah./

How are you doing?/Just fine./

Good. We were scheduled to do an interview this morning./Yeah./

Is that cool?/Yeah. Do you want to do it now?/

Yeah. Is anybody else in the band there you just want to do it?/Yeah. hold on for a minute?/

Yeah./Just hold for a minute?/


Yeah./Okay. I think the one doing the interview will be me and Hafdis, so I think you will maybe talk with me first and then Hafdis. How about that?/

Okay. That'll work./Okay./

Uh, did Liz tell you about...about what this interview is for?/No./

No? Okay, um.../But inform me./

I'll inform ya./Thank you./

Uh...Dr. Martens is going to be doing a web site./Okay./

And it's going to be kind of,'s the "one stop, quick-fix, monthly takeout cyber crib," and basically it features spoken word artists, painters, poets, photographers, musicians and performers. And, guys are going to be featured.../So it will be a, you know, kind of a...bubbling messpot./

Yeah. Exactly. It's just kind of a place where anybody interested in the arts can go, and they'll be able to listen to music and look at art and videos and all that good stuff. And you guys are going to be the first band featured which is going to go online, uh, December 1./Okay, that's brilliant./

So...yeah.../Pretty cool./

Yeah, and I have some questions here that we wanna put in a text version on the site as well. And the angle we'd like to take is not to do anything that was just a regurgitation of information from other articles. We wanted to ask some interesting questions. So.../Yeah./

Anyway, I'll get started. Where did you guys come up with the name Gus Gus?/Uh, basically it's taken from's something that Siggi came up with./

Uh, huh./ member of the band./

Right./And, uh, it's a...hold on. Hold on./


Yeah./Well, the name is taken from a Fassbinder film. I don't remember the name though. But the plot of the film is that there's's about, um, a girl and a guy and the girl is trying to, you know, get the guy to notice her, you know. You be his lover or something, and she does it by inviting him to a meal, and she's always cooking this...this course with gus gus in it. You know, a gus gus course. It's's a Turkish kind of little wheat thing, and, uh...these meals are basically the grounds for their interactions in the movie. So basically this...this course is kind of a center point of that. Of this...kind of love thing that is going on her side, but he's not getting it, though./

Right. That's interesting./And that is something that Siggi came up with. And we used that name./

I hear Gus Van Sant is a big fan. Is that right?/Well, has nothing to do with him, but maybe he's a big fan because our name is Gus Gus. But I don't know./

You've been quoted as saying that you guys aren't a band. If you're not a band, what exactly are you?/Well, basically we did this more or less explains what it is by just telling you how this thing came through...Gus Gus was formed because Sig and (Stefan) were off to shoot a short film, called Pleasure, and they had already cast the film with various actors and that was...for example, (Daniel Agust) and (Magnus Jonsson) and (Hafdis) Huld which are all in the band. And then also Emeliana, who's not in the band...but was in the band at the beginning and sings, for example, "Why?" And, uh, then the shooting of the film was delayed for some reasons and they came up with this, Siggi and (Daniel Agust) came up with this idea...every other actor in the movie was a singer of some do an album, you know, while we were waiting. And so then...(Stefan), who knew me from the past and knew that I was in an electronica band here in Iceland called T-World, and he asked us if we wanted to work on this album with them because they were more or less just...and to take this into this analog to get this dance oriented music involved in this kind this album that they were doing, and me and Herr, which were the two members of T-World at that point we had already fiddled around with the idea of doing a pop album at some point, so this was our opportunity so we just said yes then and started working with them on the album. So it's more like a combination of people with various skills, and what we want to do basically with this is a lot of things, both videos, music and film music and jingles and whatever. So we're turning more into a kind of production house where Gus Gus, the band or something, is, you know, is just one of the projects./

Uh, hmm. Cool./And for example, before we went on the European tour, that tour this summer, we had only performed live two times before./

Oh, really?/Both of them this year, so we never had taken this album and this album was made like some band, you know, playing live at some pubs or small venues and without doing an album. It was just produced and then we had to figure out how to produce a live band...out of...out of these nine members./

Is the live show any different than what we hear on the album?/Yeah, of course, you know, we have to have the production a special thing so we can have something interesting for the audience, just not only the stuff from the album a lot of the tracks are real different, and then there are...there are, you know...there are different angles explored with every track in the tour, and also we have, you know, some other tracks that we...that is only on our live program./

Oh, so it's a.../There's one song called "Blue Mark" that we have on the live program which is not on any video or anything./

"Blue Mark?"/"Blue Mark," uh huh. And then we have some dance oriented stuff which is specially produced for the concerts./

Cool. Um, I read an article once that said Iceland had the world's most beautiful women and that modeling agencies often recruit from there. Is that true, and can you introduce me to a few?/(laughter)/If you come over, I can probably introduce you...I think that is maybe a little bit overexaggerated, but...but it is true that in some of the Scandinavian countries for example, Norway and Iceland, you can find, you know, lots of beautiful women, but just a kind of different look, but it's just what you're seeking for. But of course, you can find a lot of blond girls here, but you know, if you think that beautiful girls have to be blond and tall...there are not lots of other angles to it. So it's just...we have our special Iceland look and other nations have their look, and it may vary what people find beautiful, but I think we are one of the countries that have maybe slightly higher rather than lower persons of beautiful women; for example, not as in England, which they are more or less everyone rather horrible...but then again there are a lot of other countries that have similar, similar combinations of women...Norway and lots of the south and European countries and stuff like that./

Uh, huh./And of course, we also have some of the black communities, and, uh, Asian ones. So it's just a matter of what you're seeking./

Right on. I think I could hang out there for a little while. Uh, let's see here, how do you guys write a typical song? I know the typical scenario for most musicians is kind of to just get together and jam or somebody comes in with the beginnings of a song and then you kind of meld it do you guys come together?/Well, this album was presented to the group as a demo just done by the songwriters individually. We have within the group at least three that do songwriting. But there might be more on the next album, I don't know./

Who are the three songwriters?/Uh, (Daniel Agust), (Magnus Jonsson), and Siggi Kjartansson. And, uh, they presented their tracks, you know, as a demos. Some were just playing acoustic guitar, and then me and Herr started on trying to find some angle to those tracks with a...from the electronic world, and then as soon as we found some angle to it, we just put a track together, and it involved often changing a lot of lyrics and sometimes also the text in the track, so it's not that far from just how other bands out the tracks./

Yeah. Cool. How many people are in the band? I've seen articles that say eight and some say nine and some.../There are nine./

There's nine? Is it a democracy, a dictatorship, or is it total anarchy?/It's a total democracy./

Did you guys ever have a problem fitting everybody on stage?/No, basically...we have me and me and Alfred, sorry, me and Alfred on a stage in the back taking care of the music on synthesizers and samplers and stuff. And then we have (Magnus Jonsson) singing his track and performing on stage, and also playing the guitar, and Hafdis, Herr and (Daniel Agust), also performing on stage and singing. So we have five on stage, and then we have two guys, Siggi and (Stefan), who take care of the visual side of the concert both doing production, projections of images and slides and videos, and, uh, that's about it. That is the performing part of the concert as it was for the last tour. And then while we are touring, Herr is staying in Iceland doing work...continuing work on music, and Baldur is with us on the tour taking care of managing stuff and arranging interviews and stuff like that. And persuading, you know, the record people at every place to focus on us./

Right. You guys all have other interests and jobs. For instance, I'm in Texas right now and I saw that one of you guys was spinning some vinyl in a dance club here./Yeah, there are two actually, both Herr and (Alfred) are teaching once in a while back at home. Now they are going on a DJ tour throughout the whole Iceland, and they have also gone to some teaching tours abroad. For example, Alfred is now, uh, I think in November, going to teach in Brazil./

Oh, yeah?/And they already did some teaching tours both in the UK and in the States as well as in Europe. But more or less...everybody else has, you know, well, uh, there're not many jobs aside from Gus Gus that we take part in now. For example, I have a B.S. degree in computer science, and I was working up another company called OZ when the band was started, but I recently...recently quit to focus more on Gus Gus./

Right. That was my next.../(overlapping conversation) and uh yeah...and also (Daniel Agust) and (Magnus Jonsson) are still doing some other jobs for children's material on the TV and also doing some kind of acting on the side./

So some of you are continuing to do all the side projects...I mean it sounds like you're more focused on the band...but are they still considered side projects?/Well, we are focusing on this production house to get this production house working. /

Right./And to start a production company for just varied things./

Cool. With so many people in the band it must be hard to please everyone. Is there a particular person's vision that everybody shares, or is it just whatever comes out when you guys have your own little projects or songs to create?/Well, we of course divide effort on projects, and how people see things is of course really different...especially because everybody has a real different musical background in this group...but it seems to be that we can always do something that we all like, so what descends from us is that if everybody likes it, it must be good./

Yeah./Because everybody has a different aspect on music./

Yeah. Cool. I have one more question before we're at the halfway point so if you want to continue, we can do that, or I can talk with...who else did you say was there?/Hafdis./

Hafdis?/It's your call./

Okay, well let's end it on a weird note. Does anyone in the band own a Viking hat?/I'm not sure. Maybe. A plastic one down in the basement somewhere. Yeah, definitely there is somebody. Not me though./

(laughter) All right, that's great./You can ask Hafdis as well. Do you want to? Do you want to take a different aspect and have Hafdis?/

Um, sure, let's do that./Okay. Thank you. Thank you./

Hey, thanks a lot Biggi./I hope you have something to make something out of that./

Uh, we will. We will. Thanks a lot./Okay, nice talking. I'll send Hafdis to you./

All right, thanks./



Hi, my name's Chad. I'm calling on behalf of Dr. Martens./Yeah, hi./

How are you doing?/I'm fine./

I'm doing an interview for the Dr. Martens web site. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions if you don't mind./Um, hmm./

All right, um, here we go. Some of your songs carry religious overtones. Specifically "Believe." And you're a Sunday school teacher, right?/I was. I'm not anymore./

You're not anymore./Yeah, because when we started I was teaching in a Sunday school in my hometown just on Sundays, and I was in school, so I was just doing school and on Sundays I was teaching it in Sunday school in my hometown, but I'm not doing that anymore./

Would you consider Gus Gus a spiritual band...does that experience as a Sunday school teacher come through in the music at all?/Uh, no, I didn't write those songs, and it's more like a coincidence, I think./

Really?/I think, yeah, it's not like they're pretending some religious theme. I don't think it is. It's more like believing in life than believing in Jesus...or...for them. I mean, I believe in Jesus, but I didn't write those songs and it's not like that's our main theme./

Yeah./To write something about religion and make people believe. That's not what it's about./

Gotcha./Um, let's see here. What was it like playing on "Oddville MTV"? I saw your performance a couple of weeks ago?/Uh, that was fun./

Did you get to meet any of those people that were on the show?/A lot of funny people were there. You're like "Oh, hello. Is this makeup?"/

(laughter)/But yeah, it was nice. It was funny./

Did you guys ever think you might want to bring them on tour with you?/Hmm, would we?/

Yeah, put them on stage with you. /Uh, thanks anyway, but I'm not too sure. (laughter) No, it was nice to see them there, but I don't think there's enough room on stage./

I hear ya. What's been your favorite city to play on the tour and why?/Uh, I liked our show in L.A. That was good. But right now I don't remember any of the cities. In my head it's like just one big city because I was always traveling...driving at night, and I always just woke up in a new city. I don't remember./

How long.../I remember that I...there were a lot of nice shops in New York. That's why I remember that, and in L.A. I went...uh, also there were a lot of nice shops and things to see, and that's why I remember them because we didn't have time to see anything but, like, hotels, taxis, and clubs and then our bus, so I'm hoping that in our next tour, I will have more of a chance to see more of this country./

Yeah. How long was the tour?/It was four weeks in America, and, uh, four weeks in Europe./

Cool. How would you explain your live show to someone who's never had the opportunity to see you?/Okay, I don't think I would explain it. I would just make them come and see it. I mean it's not fair for me to say, "yeah, when you hear a sound which is like that and you see a picture which this really nice blah-blah-blah," but if you want me to explain it to you because you don't have a chance to come and see it right now, I can just send a ticket. So you can make your own decision.../

Well, hopefully.../...but it's, like, nice for your eyes and nice for your ears, you know. It's something nice to see and something to hear. And if it's a good concert, then you'll leave with a smile on your face. We've got visuals and people on stage smiling and jumping and singing and dancing for our show, you know. Yeah, a lot to see and a lot to hear./

Well, hopefully, I'll get a chance to see you guys soon./Of course you live in America. We're coming to America. (laughter)./

You're supposed to come through Texas in, like, November or December, so hopefully.../Yeah./

...I'll see you then./You live in Texas?/ know, cowboys./Okay. We once had a lighting guy from Texas. For one month./

Really?/He told strange jokes./

(laughter) So, what do you think of Prodigy?/Of Prodigy? What do I think of them? Uh, we...we played before them when they...the last time they came to Iceland, when we played before they started, and that's the only time I've seen them play./

Uh, huh./Uh, I think they are quite good./

Yeah./Yeah, but when I saw this concert, it was a little bit too much noise./

(laughter)/But I like listening to their album./

Yeah./Even though I haven't...I haven't heard it all, but their songs that I've been listening to I like./

Okay, here's one: Are elves real?/Huh? Huh?/

(laughter)/What did you say?/

I said, "Are elves real?"/I didn't...I don't...understand you./

Elves? Elves? You know what elves are?/Yeah?/

Are they real?/Here in Iceland?/

Yeah./ Do I think they are real? You're questioning me about that?/

Yeah, that's the question./I don't think it's good for you to say in Iceland that you don't believe in elves because they're supposed to be in every...are you talking about these little things that live in stones?/

Yeah./Okay, I don't think it's good, when you live in Iceland, to say that you don't believe in elves because then they'll just come and do something mean to you because they don't like people not to admit that they exist./

Oh, really?/And when people try that, they usually have bad accidents a few days later, so I'm not going to say that I don't believe in elves./

Oh...(laughter)/For example, in my hometown, they were trying to make a road, and there was a big stone, and they said that there were elves living in the stone and they were always trying to remove it. And one of the men that was doing it was badly hurt, so he had to quit working with making this road, and then all the things that they were know, the trucks and things, broke down and they had to...and then they had to make the road, you know, go, uh, like, around the stone because they couldn't move it because it was dangerous. So I'm not going to say that I don't believe in it. Even though I haven't been talking to them or anything like that.../

(laughter) Um, I noticed your music has been categorized as Ice or Ice Pop. Is that a term exclusive to Gus Gus or is it becoming its own category?/Uh, I don't know where to categorize this music. I don't think we should categorize it because, I mean, it's like when nine people are making one CD then it' can't categorize that it's this kind of music. It's just all kinds of music. I think we can just say that it's Gus Gus music./

Right, okay. Does it.../I mean I wouldn't like to have to describe it./

How does it differ from, like, Electronica?/Um, different...I don't know./

Is it more of a visual package with Ice Pop?/Are you talking about...I mean Gus Gus is not a band. We're a group of people that are doing both music and film. And the films are just as big a part of Gus Gus as the music, so we're not a band. So maybe that's what makes us different from an electronica band...that we're not a band. And we're just as much doing our visuals and our films and our text that we do with slide projectors and we're doing music. When you come to see Gus Gus play live then it's not going to a concert. It's like going to a show./

Cool./Because...because you've got big pictures, you know, with parts from our films and with shows that we've made for each track that help the lyrics to tell the story, you know, behind the song. So every song is like a little story. So when you're in on the concert, you can read the text that we...that we...that we show with the slide projectors and you can watch the visuals that we're showing which we've made for each song and you can listen to the lyrics and you can see what we're doing dancing and performing on stage and all these things help each other to make people understand just what we're about and the stories we're trying to tell and attract people into the Gus Gus world./

What's next for the band...what are you planning on doing in the near future?/In the future?/

Like are you guys recording any new stuff or.../Right now we're getting ready and throwing an idea for our next album and making demos for that. And then we're going to tour America and do a little tour in France for one and a half months. We start that one in November, and then we're going to come home and have Christmas. And after Christmas, we're...after Christmas, we're doing a tour in Europe./

Wow. Sounds like you guys are busy./Yeah, we are. And I'm still trying to be in school./

Really? When do you finish school?/In two years./

Two years?/We finish school in Iceland when you're 20. And I'm 18, so I've got two years left./

Wow, that's a lot of school. What's the equivalent to high school here in the States? Is there continued education there?/Yeah, it's like you go to one school when you're six years old and you finish that when you're 15. And then you do another school from 16 to 20, and almost everybody does this school from 16 to 20, but you can quit if you want to, but almost nobody does, you know. Very few people do. So it's like something between, uh, high school and junior college./

Uh, huh./So yeah...the first two years are like high school, and I think the second two are called something...I checked in the dictionary because everybody's asking me, and it says that it's something like high school and junior college. But when you finish that, then you can go to a university.../

All right, well, that sounds great. Hopefully I'll get a chance to see you guys when you come through Texas./Okay./

So...thank you very much./Thank you./

Good luck with everything./Okay./

Thanks./Thank you./

All right, bye, bye./


{ l i n k s }

The official Gus Gus web site:

{ c o n t a c t }

For more information, please contact 4AD, 8533 Melrose Ave, Suite B, Los Angeles, CA 90069, 310-289-8770 (p), 310-289-8680 (f)

12/2 Graceland Vancouver, BC
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