Join Iceland’s deep and dedicated group of DJs as they get ready for FRISKY Loves Iceland
FRISKY is bringing the tight-knit, passionate underground electronic music culture of Iceland to the rest of the world with FRISKY Loves Iceland. Described as a country of sharp contrasts, a place where fire and ice co-exist, where dark winters are offset by the summer’s midnight sun, Iceland is a country where insular existence has spurred a rich and vibrant culture, especially within the electronic music scene. The beauty of the landscape, harsh winters, small population, and growing popularity creates an unparalleled experience for local DJs, as they work together to share their musical perspectives to their own country and beyond. Featuring 5 DJs with deep/tech/house vibes, FRISKY Loves Iceland will be a solid journey the whole way through. The show starts on July 30th @ 10 AM EST / 2PM GMT [convert timezone], don’t miss out!
Before we launch, get the inside perspective on Iceland’s electronic music scene:
What do you think makes Iceland such a special place for music?
BenSol: There is so much that influences Icelandic music and makes it what it is, so many factors. You have to come here and meet the people and country to try to grasp what it is. The isolation here plays a big part, small island in the middle of nowhere, so cold, so unforgiving but yet with its spectacular nature and landscape. Clean air and water adds to it all and the energy from this all resonates into the music somehow.
Ezeo: Iceland exploded after the financial crisis in 2008. Many hidden artists stepped out with amazing material. In this period up to today, art and music scene in Iceland has “just” started showing the world our medicine. Music has always been in our blood and we simply have good taste in my opinion. With the world focusing on Iceland now, people are noticing the artists here and loving it. We also host many great festivals with big focus on electronic music. Electronic scene has really taken over here. Oh and nature of course.
Frímann: Being here, an island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean makes us more isolated than most countries. Population of 330.000 makes this a very small market. Harsh and dark winters and then the mild summers combined with extreme nature brings forth a unique blend that shows in our music production. It´s almost as you have to work a little harder being that far from the centre of it all 🙂
Where are the best places to go experience underground electronic music in Iceland?
BenSol: My favorite bar, and has been so for over 20 years, is Kaffibarinn. Small crowded bar with best local dj’s every night. Surly an iconic institution here in town. Then my favorite club in Iceland is Paloma. Its on 3 floors, packet with Funktion-1. Its dirty but still delicious. On crazy nights it rains inside.
We also have great festivals here like Secret Solstice, Sónar Reykjavik, Iceland Airwaves and Extreme Chill to name a few, who deliver their share to say the least.
Ezeo: Paloma has the underground title here in Iceland. It’s an club here in Reykjavik and the only underground club that caters the biggest variety of music which fits inside “underground” title. It’s dirty and it has real fans of good music which makes it so underground. Before Paloma, there were two clubs called Faktory and Dolly which really lifted the scene up by rocking two floors, great sound and plenty of stuff happening. Paloma took over and has been strong since when they closed. Few months ago Tivoli opened up their door where Dolly was. Tivoli and Paloma both have Funktion One sound system and that is really what matters.
Funktion One is starting to become a standard here in Iceland if you are going to cater music 🙂 Kaffibarinn is the oldest in Reykjavik and been named one of the top clubs in Europe. Kaffibarinn just upgraded to Funktion One also.
I’m also part of the ViBES collective which hosts a 2 hour radio show and there we present a lot of new material. We also host nights here in the Icelandic scene. We only do live sets in that show too. The radio station is the only underground station in Iceland. You should tune in on fmxtra.is/live every from 5pm-7pm on Fridays 🙂
Frímann: Over the years there have been places, clubs and bars and some have been open only for a few years but at the moment there is Kaffibarinn, a small pub that as a unique atmosphere an has the local dj´s spin on a regular basis. My favourite. Paloma is more club oriented with two floors and then there are special events here and there all over town. Due to our small population the dance culture is rather small but when at its best it really is brilliant.
What is one of your favorite memories as a DJ or fan?
BenSol: hmm maybe when Sasha opened his set with 15 min of Björk vocals, main room, Space, loooong time ago. That just popped into my mind, but its hard to pinpoint just one moment in time. There are so many cherishable moments, either sides of the booth.
Ezeo: My favorite moment was how I became a DJ. I was 16 years old and found a way to sneak into a club at that time. I had really never been in a bar or a club over a weekend so I was of course, very curious. There was loud music upstairs so I headed there. When I entered the dance floor I saw all those people dancing. The atmosphere was electric. I looked at the DJ playing and that’s the moment it hit me. PING!
This is what I want to do, this is awesome! So I walked to the DJ and told him that I was hypnotised by what was happening and I also asked if he could teach me to be a DJ. He had this look on his face and ge also noticed that I was a kid.. He thought about it for a few seconds but he saw it in my face that I was dead serious. He said yes and called me few weeks later: “Could you start the night from midnight to 01:00?”
I just said yes, without any thought. I went to the store and spent all my money on whatever records and cd’s I could possible find. I really hoped that people would like it and I had that pounding heart beat that kept reminding me to focus. Long story short, everything went great and I managed to keep a full dance floor for the best hour of my life. After that, I haven’t stopped playing since. Music became my life and I’m happily “married” to it.
Second, a memory when I was in Vietnam working as a diver. I got a gig on Victory Day in Nha Trang. Victory day is the biggest day that is held every year to celebrate when US left Vietnam after the war. It was a beach party with 3000+ people and after that gig I just want to aim higher and entertain more people. I want to create experience for people instead of just dropping beats.
As a fan, KiNK has inspired me with his live sets and how active and fun he is when playing. KiNK’s boiler room set in Moscow is pretty cool set and I still get goosebumps watching him perform. He played here in Iceland on Secret Solstice and I stood in the crowd watching his every move. Top performer and he also understand that interacting with people is very important. A memory that inspires me to continue what I’m doing.
Frímann: Having been a DJ for over 25 years there are many, but always when you have people locked in a groove and people really feeling what you are doing.. that fore me is always special.
As a fan and been on numerous clubs world wide, Berlin, London and Ibiza (15 years ago) have a special place in me 🙂
What do you think is the best part about Iceland’s underground electronic music community?
BenSol: The best thing about it is how small we are, everybody knows everybody, but it also can be our greatest weakness. But we generally try to support and help each other as much as we can, like a little family.
Ezeo: The people that show up to make these nights happen. The Icelandic atmosphere is electric. Guests are also picky and it’s not easy to fill clubs in Iceland unless conditions are in your favour sometimes. Let’s not forget that we are only 320.000 here in Iceland and 130.000 live in Reykjavik area. Tourists are beginning to be nice portion of the crowd which I enjoy. I love to play for many nations at the same time. There are some serious DJ’s and artists here that is worth checking if you are in Iceland. My fellow DJ’s that I know here are world class.
Frímann: Sometimes being a small community is good but also the growth and quality seems very high in my opinion.
The Icelandic atmosphere is electric.
What types of challenges do you face as a DJ in Iceland?
BenSol: Expect to play 6-8 hour sets. Be a sound and light mastermind on the fly and know how to connect your shit. Try Djing in the middle of a dancefloor for that long with nothing to barracade yourself from the crowd. Spend more than you earn in music. If you are still smiling, then you are in the right place haha 😀
Ezeo: Iceland is small, it’s pro and very competing market. You really have to prove yourself here so other artists take you seriously because if the size. The market is tiny compared to other cities in Europe. Most of the nightlife is happening on Fridays and Saturdays downtown, unlike Berlin where it’s happening every day. I’m moving to Berlin in August to follow my passion. I love Iceland and I love the scene, I just need a bigger market and I’m sure Berlin will teach me tons of new things.
Frímann: You have to be adaptable to music and crowd and be ready to play long sets which is not a bad thin in my opinion. The crowd can be really fragile meaning that if you are not on point you will loose them and since there is usually no door fee people walk between places a lot.
What can we look forward to hearing on your mix?
BenSol: I’m going to throw in 10-12 songs that are working for me on the dance floor with maybe 1-2 classics in the mix. Hope you enjoy!
Ezeo: I spend endless hours in front of the computer searching for new tracks. It has to be sexy and enough for you to move your head to it while sitting and your hips while on the floor. I mix genres carefully and with a story in it. Foreplay is the key to good ear-gasm of course. So… I guess I’m saying that I’m aiming for some ear-gasm’s.
Frímann: I like to go deep and relentless with funky drum patterns. There will be a lot of real groovers there and hopefully you will like it 🙂
Come experience Iceland through their best underground DJs, on Saturday July 30th @ 10 AM EST / 2PM GMT [convert timezone]