Soundtracking Jan

I stumbled upon an interview of Harpa Fönn, member of the band Grúska Babúska, and an interview of 3 band members of the band Valdimar, both made by ‘Soundtracking: Iceland’.

Because we were so curious about the people behind these exciting videos, ROK had an interview with the 2 persons behind this German Project, Jan Wölke (35) and Madeline Jost (28) from Hamburg.

Please introduce yourself Jan & Madeline!

We are Jan & Madeline from Hamburg: musician and Journalist. And we both love being in the nature and travel a lot.

Is this your first travel to Iceland? Did you do previous trips to this ‘Ultima Thule’? Tell us more about your ‘connection’ with Iceland…

It is our first visit and we were’t that far up north before. There has’t been a real connection before we got here. While making plans for this trip the connection was growing more and more. Mostly through the music we heard from Iceland. It was chosen pretty like finger on the map. Not only – but Iceland bundled up so many things we like and wanted to discover. So it is the perfect country for what we are planning to experience.

When did you came up with this project, a combination of travelling and recording around the island? Inspirated by …

The idea was born because we wished us away from Hamburg for not only a few weeks after our last hiking trip through Sweden. So we decided to combine the 7 month journey with a project we can work on. Otherwise it might get boring. And when we have something to do, we get to know the people of Iceland much faster and better than just by being a tourist. So we thought about combining our professions. That’s how the idea for Soundtracking: Iceland came up.

You did some crowdfunding to be able to realize this dream, isn’t it? …

Yes, we thought there could be an interest for people who like Icelandic music. And also for fans of Iceland as a country of legends and mysticism and beautiful nature. To prepare all the rewards and get a high-quality recording and documentary we would have needed a not small amount of money. We were positively surprised by the people who participated in the crowdfunding, although it didn’t work out in the end and we didn’t reach our funding goal. Some precious contacts resulted and there was a community of interested people who followed us from Day One on.

We were’t starting with nothing. The community thing is also very important for our project. We need people watching our Vlogs, follow us on facebook and other social media channels, to enrich what we are doing. So crowdfunding was a good option. But it was a lot of work.

2 People: 1 Caravan! What a plan!

Our plan is called ‘Soundtracking: Iceland’ and the goal is to write and produce music with Icelandic musicians during a period of 6 months, until November 2016. At the end you will produce an album that mirrors the colourful Icelandic music scene. Great expectations!

Will you be self-releasing the album?

The crowdfunding didn’t work out, so we feel more free in what we are doing in Iceland. That’s why the project changed a bit, while making the first steps in a completely new music-scene. It´s different than in Hamburg. We decided to make interviews with bands first, to show what is going on here and to make contacts to the musicians and show them that we are here. That works out pretty well until now. It’s really easy to get in touch here. No one’s really famous – that´s what everybody says. Many musicians play in several well-known bands and so the circle closes really fast and you know most of the musicians in a pretty short time. Beneath that, Jan is writing music and is collecting ideas from the inspiration Iceland gives. There might be a point, when Icelandic musicians get involved to add their creativity to his material. And from that on, new things can be created. So there is no specific release date for an album, but there will be a lot of material, may it be video, photo, written documentary or music that needs to be sorted after this trip. Well see what kind of product it will be in the end.

Why are you so attracted to Iceland and its music?

We both love the melancholy in Icelandic music. On the other hand, there is a lot of music that is not melancholic but also with a very different approach to that what we are hearing in Germany. Nobody seems to be aiming for big success. That happens or not. And that is making the music so emotional, contemporary and valuable.

What makes Icelandic music so special for you personally?

As many non-Icelanders we always connect the sound of Icelandic music to the landscape where it comes from. Iceland is a very special place in the world. The music from here is delivering so many pictures and it feels great to dive into the relaxed music and watch the pictures in your own head.

What was your first contact with Icelandic music?

Madeline has been a big fan of the very popular band Sigur Rós before and always had a bit more connection the music of Iceland than Jan. The real confrontation with Icelandic music began by developing this project. Jan’s first band he fell in love with was Dikta. And very fast other acts followed.

Name some of your favourite Icelandic bands, albums, songs, videos, concerts? …

Puh..these are many. We can’t really favour something. Everything is really unique here. But we can say that the best concert we attended was Valdimar.

It really catched us. The music goes really deep and the band is a funny bunch of very different people. We are impressed by the skills of bands like Moses Hightower or AdHd and also by the joie de vivre of Boogie Trouble or Milkywhale.

We love the sound of Hjaltalin and the performance of GusGus. And Sóley – she is bringing a comprehensible package of what’s going on in Iceland. Perhaps that´s the reason why she got so famous in Germany. This list can be continued. Although the scene is so small and there are only 120.000 people living in Reykjavík, the musical output and the cultural life is enormous. It seems like everybody has to tell something on stage. You can see concerts over concerts everyday. We love it!

Danke/Thank you/Takk fyrir !!

- Wim Van Hooste

Soundtracking feet

We hope to see more Videos and VLOG items like VLOG # 4 feat. Fufanu a.o.