Samaris combine glacial electronica and bold, percussive beats with haunting lyrics from 19th century Icelandic poems. The Icelandic trio, made up of Þórður Kári Steinþórsson (aka Doddi), Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir and Jófríður Ákadóttir mix computerised sounds with clarinet and sweet vocals. Their new album, Silkidrangar, is released on One Little Indian on 5 May and reviewed in the current issue of Aesthetica. Jófrður speaks to us about the band’s influences and their future plans.
A: How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard you?
J: It’s a mixture of dreamy emotional techno! It is a combination of interesting beats, atmospheric clarinet melodies, and vocals that can’t be understood but that will take the listener on a journey. At times it sounds like dance music, other times it sounds like dream pop and there are also orchestral melodies. It’s a mix of all of our diverse influences.
A: Your combination of electronics, clarinet and vocals is quite unique, how do you start a new song?
J: It often starts with a beat from the computer, Doddi shows us what he has been doing and we agree to it and add something to it. We all start to look for lyrics in old books and then I starts to sing over it. Once we find the melody, we add the clarinet. Sometimes we play the song couple of times life to see how it develops before we decide the final structure or record it.
A: You have performed all over the world, is there anywhere you’d love to play where you haven’t yet?
S: When we look out of the window in my kitchen we can see snow and wind. The beach is the first place that comes to my mind. A beautiful white beach with blue sea, candles and colourful drinks. So somewhere in orange county California, the Phi Phi islands in Thailand or maybe Bali – that would be a nice place to visit at this time of the year. If we are lucky we can hold a concert.
A: Which other artists have influenced your music?
S: We all have a different musical background. Doddi has always been a fan of techno music but Áslaug and myself are more into folk music. I don’t know for sure what influences us the most, but we like Arthur Russell, Aphex twin, Björk, Stravinsky, Steve Reich, and I have to add Booka Shade in because they taught me to love techno music.
A: What do you have planned for the future?
S: Our new album, Silkidrangar, is about to come out on 5 May and we’ll follow it up by playing concerts in the summer, both in Iceland and abroad. But looking further ahead, we have no idea, hopefully be friends and work in music, if not in Samaris than in some other projects. I think that I have long gone given up my dream of being a Doctor, I think I would like to work in music from now on. We will stay friends and be happy in the future.
1. Image courtesy of Samaris and One Little Indian.