Yes, SIR I can boogie all night long
Dr ROK: Hi, Sigursteinn Ingvar Rúnarsson, please introduce yourself to our ROK fans.
SIR: I am 39 years old and I work in inventory management. I have a B.S. in business administration and a masters degree in how to write kickass songs!
I am a family man who devotes himself to being an allround good guy but between 22:42 and 23:42 I let the beast out and write music for a selective few individuals with like minded taste. I say a few individuals, but mainly it’s just me who I write for. Yeah…just me.
My son came up with the title when he heard one of my songs. He usually thinks they are about something extremely hard as they can get a bit in your face. But when I explained that most of it is about my wife and love in general he nodded and said ,,kinda like romantic rock?” to which I replied “Exactly like romantic rock!” and instantly wrote that title down for future usage.
You wrote all the lyrics, right?
I write all the lyrics and songs. I have a phone filled with sentences that I either hear somewhere or make up. Mostly just steal it from where I hear it and change it up so it looks like I’m a first grade poet. Sorry everybody who I’ve stolen from. Won’t do it again. I am also a liar…..so…
What do you want to share with us about ‘the making of’ of the album?
I wanted to write a song, record it and publish within a week and repeat forever. But found out that not everybody can handle that, including me. I could do it if I did not have a family and a job. But where’s the fun in that. So a week became weeks and with the guys in the band doing their own thing and having their own say in the matter things stalled for 8 months with the first song. I finally decided to take this project under my wing entirely and record it, mix and master on my own in my studio. When that happened things started to move as it’s always a bit easier to do things having only yourself to think about. We had earlier recorded 3 songs so I already had the skeleton for that to build upon. They came out late 2018 as singles. For the other 5 songs I got Helgi to play drums on my Roland Tdk 6 and started building stuff around that. It really didn’t take too long for me to construct those 8 songs once I knew what process was most efficient and fluent. Using the Roland drums really made things easier. It’s much more convenient to mix electric drums than live old school drums and the sound is usually better as one has such an arsenal of sounds to choose from. I come from the school of new technology as opposed to clinging on to something old and doing things just because they have always been done in that way. So for some people using electronic drums is a big no no but for me it’s a big hell yeah.
I have a board with over 50 song titles written out. Most of them are songs that are about 50% done and from there I picked the songs that later came out under the album Romantic rock.
The way we Helgi work is I put down some guitar, voice and bass to a click track and send him. He listens and plays along with the songs using his Roland (we both have Roland drum kits…Hello sponsors!). He makes something up for the songs and we later meet at my studio called Spiderstudios and hash it out. After that I am left with perfect drums from Helgi and I can happily construct my song with all kinds of instruments and fun stuff.
“It’s measured in tears” was written in 2011 and we played that song earlier in our career. We benched it until 2018 when we reworked it into the current state and more in line with how Casio Fatso sounds. The song is about disasters in life and how one isn’t just as old as the years say. Your number doesn’t define you. The things in your life define you and mostly the tragic stuff like family deaths and difficult things. Hence ,,it’s measured in tears” not years.
“Kitzmania Bat” was written in 2016, I think. I was sitting in my bedroom writing music and listening to my kids in the bathtub, as you do when you are worried that somebody drowns. That’s why the name of the song has Kitz (kids) and Bat (Bath). But the lyrics are about love relationship.
“Boys and girls” is about two of my friends, both named, Kiddi. They did not know each other as one of them was a kid from my hometown and the other one from when I was in college. They both died recently and that had an impact on me and how I think about life in general.
“Romantic rock” is written exclusively for and about my wife Elísabet. She never likes my songs and finds that I scream too much and write boring songs. I never listen to her and just do my own thing. But decided to write one song like she would have wanted. Soft, slow and romantic. She likes it a little bit but I think she mostly just says that to shut me up. I told her that the same way a child comes home with a drawing….it might be shit but it’s the thought that matters.
“Not everybody wants to be nice” is a statement for anyone willing to listen. Sometimes you just hold back and do not say things you want to say. Like this lyric…I had to scale it down and take all the nasty bits out. Because people advised me to do so.
Sometimes I just want the music industry to be more fierce. Sometimes I would like to see more competition, more rivalry and not this pretend that everybody are friends. It’s such a typical Icelandic thing because if you don’t hold back you are likely to bump into said person next time you buy groceries and things can be embarrasing
“That’s what men do” is a song where I got some of my coworkers to come and scream with me. We are all men and that’s what we do.
“While you kiss him” is a fantasy song about if my wife would leave me. Which she assures me she won’t do. And she actually worries that people think this song is real. It’s not. It’s always fun to imagine scenarios, especially ones that provoke strong feelings.
“Bring your guns” is my epic last song. It’s about life. This song was written in 2011 but never played and never even contemplated as my wife soon named it the Lion king song, which was not cool, so I benched it. Until now.
Who made the beautiful cover art?
I handle everything related to Casio Fatso, including the art. I just knew I wanted something yellow and black. Such contrast really describes the essence of my music in a way. Loud quiet loud music of the nineties. I was also looking for something different than the previous albums. The first one had only our logo. To establish the brand. Second album had us in an almost nineties like cartoon-ish way which was very in tune with the music. This one is completely different and sets itself apart.
How different is this longplayer with the previous 2 albums?
This album is much more thought out than the other 2 previous albums. The first one we were in a hurry to release. We wanted music out there to be heard asap but didn’t have the right resources to manufacture and make exactly what we wanted to represent. The songs are great (in my humble opinion) but they came out too harsh and rushed. Someday I am going to rework them and release again like I see fit today. That first album is colored by the fact that we were finding our way to do things.
The second album we brought in Einar Vilberg to help us record, mix and master. He is an absolute professional. We made the mistake of playing everything about 20% too fast. Inexperience I guess. The songs were all written about 20% slower and work much better that way. But something punk came over us and we just hammered the songs in. It’s not all bad but like with the first album I would really like to re-record it and do a 20% slower version of it.
“Romantic rock” is, as already said, much more thought out. It’s really me taking my time and being careful to do it exactly the way I like it. The right tempo, the right instruments and extra fun stuff I slide into each song as a hidden Easter eggs.
I have already begun working on album nr 4 and I plan to release it late this year.
What can you tell us about Casioland, the rehearsal space?
Casioland was our rehearsal space back in the day. The name is a homage to Pumpkinland made famous by Smashing Pumpkins. It has seen some bands people might recognize like Fræbbblarnir, Knife fights and Morðingjarnir. We moved out of that some years ago and as the band now only consist of me and Helgi (drums) we use my studio for recording stuff and that is it.
Where did you grow up? What can you tell us about your teenager years / wonder years?
I grew up in the north of Iceland in a town called Blönduós. Later moved to Akureyri and then Reykjavík after some traveling around. Back in the day I used to listen to Metallica a lot but found Suede interesting as that was such a stark contrast to the manly hard rock of the times. Suede introduced something dangerous….androgyny and the nerve to not just trying to be hard as f*ck but to be provoking in a different manner.
I started to like bands that weren’t all about macho stuff but rather not taking themselves so seriously and not constantly singing about how tough you are. I would like bands such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. Not only were the lyrics more real but the guitars and music spoke better to my taste. I am still that way today with bands I listen to. Modest mouse, Adore//repel etc..
Are you part of a musical family? Which instruments do you play?
I get the music from my mothers side. My grandma was from Germany and there was always some music around. My mother bribed me to go to the local orchestra where I played the Baritone (small tuba) to great success. In that band were a few now famous Icelandic people such as Kjartan (former Sigur Rós) and Einar (from Í svörtum fötum).
So the pedigree was quite strong and we even represented Iceland in some international competition in Sweden. We came in last place eventually.
I now play the guitar, bass, piano and sing but can dabble with other instruments as well. I am musically oriented and one could say that it is really my lives passion to make music.
Did you take part in musical projects/bands before Casio Fatso? Tell us about the early days/years of Casio Fatso. Who came up with the band name, inspired by graffiti isn’t it?
Strangely enough, in light of me being so into music, I only thought about forming a band at the age of 31. I had known this guy for the better part of 20 years (used to be my sisters husband) and as I was taking a shower one day I thought about him, as you do taking a shower, and why we had never formed a band together. Which was absurd as he was also very much into music. So I called him up and started a band. I had already come up with the name Casio Fatso so we were halfway there anyways. About the name….I saw some random graffiti on some wall somewhere downtown (I do not remember now where). In the far corner was the word Casio and in the other far corner was the word Fatso. In a Matrix-like moment my eyes linked those two words together in slow motion and made up what has now existed for almost 9 years….the band Casio Fatso.
Me and my friend Hjörtur (translated to Bambi) held auditions for another guitar player and a bass player and like 1-2 years later settled on a good line up. First we were rubbish. Embarrassingly bad. Then we became good. Then slightly worse and finally world class.
When Hjörtur left for Denmark we were lucky enough to recruit Atli the bass player who really gave the band some much needed energy.
Where does Casio Fatso/you get its inspiration from?
Casio Fatso is heavily influenced by bands from the nineties such as Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and the Pixies. This style of loud/quiet/loud with its dynamic response was and is also a great inspiration to us. Angst filled lyrics and energetic way of playing music.
I am always trying to write the next Smashing Pumpkins song but every time, fail completely. Casio Fatso is nothing more than a failed SP song. Really. But it was a nice surprise when we got a review for our second album saying that Echoes from the nineties was an album Billy Corgan had been trying to make for years but was too late now as Casio Fatso have done it. That warmed my heart.
Can you name us your favourite Icelandic bands please?
I grew up to the early stuff from Ný Dönsk, but later started listening to Maus. My all time fav would have to be Who Knew. They released one album and disbanded shortly afterwards. I would give my left nut to have them reunite.
Other non-Icelandic bands you like/inspire you?
I tend to gravitate to bands that have a singer with a thin voice that lays upon thick and aggressive guitar playing. Kinda like Shoegaze music but with more melody and less madness.
What brings the (near) future? For Casio Fatso, and for yourself?
Casio Fatso is now working on it’s 4th album and focusing on making music and releasing it to the masses as soon as possible. That’s what it’s all about. Making music and releasing it. Playing gigs is less interesting at the moment but I am 100% sure things will shift again and I suspect the next Casio Fatso gig will be no more than a few months from now!
Thanks for your time & answers!!!