biophilia sounds like the biggest project you’ve ever done. what was the biggest obstacle or challenge for you in creating this project ?
well , believe it or not my first intention was to simplify things . so i wanted to be able to write songs on touchscreens that were plugged into acoustic instruments . so i could be self sufficient !! but the it kinda grew into one of the more complicated albums ive done !! the biggest challenge was that the first 2 years when we were programming this whole thing , people thought it was a bit too far out so we met some walls . but then when people could see the apps the got it and things have been extremely busy but smooth since ...
in a lot of reviews i’ve read, reviewers seem to focus a lot more on the fact that the project is so extensive and that there are all these apps, instead of focusing on the music. how do you feel about that ?
well partly i feel it is a little odd but part of me is always relieved when we´ve got other stuff to talk about than my personal life . but youre right , it would be great if the music would be the main thing .
with biophilia, it seems as if you’re trying to talk about your emotions and thoughts via scientific phenomena. does that mean you’re trying to be less personal, or a bit more ’vague’ about the aspects of your private live you choose to share in your music ?
it wasnt a conscious decision . but im not sure how hidden it is , it seems pretty naked and revealing to me ? i guess romantic writing where your feelings are being compared to natural phenomena has been around for a while . you know , when people write : volcanic passions , or lonely like a cave and so on ...
since drawing restraint 9 you seem to have moved to brass, instead of working with strings. would you consider ever working with an orchestra again ?
probably , it is hard to say . i worked so much with strings i got bored with it . debut : bollywood . post : brazilian . homogenic icelandic octet . vespertine : panoramic orchestra . but now i have 10 years of string rest so you never know ...
i had an e-mail conversation with einar years ago, where he mentioned you guys were working on a way to distribute music digitally through your site, and that way releasing some live recordings that so far hadn’t been out yet, and weren’t in the live box set. are you still working on that ? there appears to be a huge market for it.
hmm ... that might have developed into several different ideas so it isnt literally that anymore . but i guess you could say that biophilia app box is a way of releasing stuff online ?
on that note : even though most artists seem to focus on their current and future projects, do you have any plans to do something with the vast collection of b-sides, alternate versions and unreleased tracks that you’ve recorded throughout the years ? maybe even a re-release of the album you did for the falkinn label in 1976, for completists ?
hmm ... not sure , i guess you are right , i am a little focused on my current and future projects . but never say never .
would you ever consider making an album completely in icelandic ? or make a 2nd version of an album, with only icelandic lyrics ?
the sugarcubes used to do that , release them in both languages ... i could see that happening sometimes , for sure . dont know when and what and why though ...
you’re touring in a completely different way for this project, with different residencies in several locations all around the world. did you face any barriers in touring this way ? and do you have any idea if you might do a residency in the netherlands and/or belgium ?
im trying to set it up in a similar way to how theatre groups do it . stay in one place while you sell tickets . partly because it is hard to move the instruments , partly because i want the educational angle for the kids to last a bit and partly because i am exhausted with touring . we might go to holland in the beginning of june next year but nothing is confirmed .
you’ve always been on the forefront with technology in music, with releasing albums in 5.1, releasing the first ever dvd-single and now the apps. can we expect a 5.1 release of biophilia as well ?
hmm ... i hadnt thought about that . right now i am just trying to finish this as much as i can ... cant see that far ...
when you did a dj set for the bbc radio show breezeblock in the 90s, you played some really interesting music (nico !) and you always mention some really interesting artists that deserve to be checked out. which artists are you listening to these days ?
i have been listening to soulmusic from indonesia and thailand from the sixties , also james blake , the new oval album , joanna newsom and antony . but also loads of other stuff i cant remember right now ...