ÁrniVil (Árni Vilhjálmsson) is a musician and performer. He writes and performs with the theatre group Kriðpleir. They are currently working on a radio drama. He has also been working at an ad agency as a creative copywriter.
So for the past years he has been lucky enough to combine work and hobby. He hasn’t studied anything: his school has been “learn by doing”. Although as he gets older, he is not as restless so he might go to school sooner than later. His solo début album “Slightly Hungry” was released on 23. April 2019.
Dr. ROK had a chat with him:
Hello, please tell us more about ‘the making of’ this longplayer.
Some of the songs are 5 years old. The process maybe took a little bit longer than I planned because I didn’t have any money to put in the record. I met Þórir Andersen (Thoracius Appotite) and realized he was the perfect candidate to produce these songs. He has this Do It Yourself mentality that I could relate to. We got a lot of people to play on the record – friends and acquaintances. We worked hard at giving each song the appropriate character and soundscape. I’m very pleased with the results.
Most of the lyrics on Slightly Hungry entail some kind of personal development or process entwined with something I‘ve been reading or something I heard someone say. Oliver Sacks has for some reason been a spark for lyrics in at least two songs on the album. I think that the next album will not be as personal as this one. Although I think I‘m doomed to express myself about things that happen within and outside of me. Viktor Weisshappel did the cover art. He’s a graphic designer and has worked with a lot of Icelandic musicians.
Explain why you have chosen this album title?
I‘m hungry for balance. If you‘re too hungry you just get frustrated and if you‘re too full you get lazy.
Why and when did you decide to leave the very popular poppy party band FM Belfast?
I guess I just got tired. I love being on stage with FM Belfast. There is nothing like it. But after almost 10 years of doing it I felt it wasn’t something I wanted to do anymore. And if you keep on doing something that isn’t the truth for you, you end up doing yourself more damage than good. So I decided to stick with what was the truth for me.
The Wonder Years
You are a creative man, tell us something about your studies.
I didn’t go to school. I might want to study something when I get older, maybe.
Where did you grow up and when did music came into your wonder years?
I have been in bands since I was 15 years old. I grew up in the west of Reykjavík.
When did you found out that you had a good voice?
I didn’t really find out that I had a good voice. I just enjoyed singing and performing.
Did you have any role models?
I listen to various musicians and I like all kinds of genres. For example, Harry Nilsson, Townes Van Zandt, Velvet Underground, Stereolab, The Kinks, Bill Callahan, Kraftwerk, Lee Hazlewood, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Fall, Psychic TV, Talking Heads.
Which instruments do you play?
I didn’t go to any music schools. I learned to play the guitar with help from friends and the internet.
FM Belfast was not your first band, what did you do before the FM Belfast era?
I was in all kinds of bands when I was a teenager. FM Belfast was the first proper band I was in.
Tell us about your sources of inspiration…
I like watching documentaries „Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?)“ was an influence and the one about Townes Van Zandt – there are some similarities between those two. They’re both talented musicians who didn’t make it to the mainstream, but most singer-songwriters still want to write music like they did. Eccentrics that died from alcoholism before reaching 50.
I started listening to audiobooks after turning 30. For some reason I’ve often listened to „Henry and June“ by Anaïs Nin on plane rides. I find her to be an entrepreneur when it comes to feminism and therapy; the way she describes relationships and nuances in social interactions is quite intriguing. I have also listened a lot to „The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat“ – I don’t really know what I want to say about Oliver Sacks other than that his knowledge and curiosity inspires me. If you are not curious, you‘re not happy. I found his documentary about achromatopsia, „The Island of the Colorblind“, captivating. Sometimes I just put anything on by Oliver Sacks to get inspired.
What’s is your opinion on the secret of success of so many Icelandic musicians and bands abroad?
There is obviously a magical creative force on this island that nobody can explain properly. If we could then it wouldn’t be magical.
Thank you and good luck with your first LP!
Dr. ROK Wim Van Hooste
More on his website: http://arnivil.thoracius.com/