Musical Rooms

August 9, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 81: Amiina

amiina

“We don’t really have one favourite space to make our music, except for our studio of course, where we’ve spent most of our time rehearsing and making new material. But we like going elsewhere now and then, it helps bring in new energy. Our studio is actually a garage next to a big beautiful old white house, and our landlady is a very respectable elderly lady. At first when she heard a band was going to rehearse in her garage she wasn’t terribly happy, but she soon realized we’re not the loudest band in Reykjav�k, and was fine with it.

As long as the space is quiet, has natural light, isn’t too cold and has enough space for us and all of our instruments to be set up comfortably we’re happy. And there has to be some sort of a kitchen close by as well, cause we usually like to make time to enjoy something nice to eat and drink together between sessions. Our studio has all of that, as well as lace curtains.

The amount of time we spend here depends on our schedule, sometimes we spend every day in our studio for long periods of time, but we do most of our recordings elsewhere. It’s in the middle of a nice old neighborhood and usually a little bit too noisy for recordings. We try to stick to a schedule when we’re working creatively on something. There’s four of us, and we make all our music collectively, so co-ordinating hits of inspiration would be complicated.

It is very helpful to get time away from everyday life, away from phones and internet. If the creative process is allowed to flow uninterrupted by these it’s amazing how much is possible to achieve in relatively little time. Every time we’ve had a chance to go somewhere outside the city and work, it’s been great.

Our studio is very close to where we all live, it’s in the best part of Reykjav�k and there’s a really nice grocer on the corner who knows us all and chats for a long time every time we come for milk or fruit or bread or something. It feels a lot like home, and that’s a good thing for doing what we do.”

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Having started out as Sigur Ros’ string quartet, Amiina have gone on to produce their own very unique music. Hildur Ársælsdóttir, Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir, Maria Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir and Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir play a huge array of instruments and layer simple vocals and harmonies to create something epic. Their debut album Kurr was released in 2007 and featured strings and synths, as well as guitar, harp, harmonium, melodica, glockenspiel, zither, desk bells, kalimba, mandolin and saw. They also reworked their song ‘Hilli’ with vocals provided by singer Lee Hazelwood before his death.

Amiina play St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny tonight, Sunday August 9th at 8pm as part of the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Support is from Katie Kim and Geppetto. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/amiina.

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