12494934_10154009521169932_7785676385536763610_nHi Franz! A while ago, you sent me the single of the forthcoming full album of your solo project “Paunkholm”.

What can we expect from the full album?

The album will be diverse with lots of different male and female singers doing vocals. Some of the songs are very old while others written just before recording, so it will be interesting to hear it completed with that knowledge. The thing that the songs have in common is that they do not fit into the musical formats of the bands I am in. So you can expect not hearing a replica of the music I do usually .

Paunkholm logo

Paunkholm single:

When did came music into your life as teenager?

I remember that Duran Duran was probably the first band I was a fan of but my older brother was a DJ so he had a lot of albums in his collection. I used to sneak into his room and listen to albums with interesting front covers to see if I liked them. I then totally fell in love with Led Zeppelin and from then on my musical tastes expanded.

Which instruments did/do you play? Autodidact or at school(s)?

I have always played the guitar but now I am starting to play the piano. I also have played a little bass here and there. I did go to music school to learn to play guitar but all they wanted to teach me was jazz so I quit and learnt on my own by picking up my favourite songs by ear.

12814310_10154009521164932_5186685054744499248_nAs far as I know your first band was “In Memoriam”. Or did you play in bands before? Please tell us about your first moments live on stage? At school perhaps? Downtown RVK?

In Memoriam was the first professional band I joined but before that I had played in school groups and garage bands for quite some time. First gig was in 7th grade with me and my two friends playing Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love. First gig with In Memoriam was an outdoor concert in the downtown square “Lækjartorg” in Reykjavik. Lot of people attending and plenty of cool bands performing. I knew then I did not want to do anything else put perform.

“Quicksand Jesus”, named after the Skid Row song, was your 2nd band, wasn’t it?

It was the first real band after In Memoriam disbanded and the first band I recorded a whole album with (The More Things Change The More they Stay The Same). That band eventually evolved into Dr. Spock.

How was it to be in the surroundings of one of the best known Icelandic bands abroad, namely Jet Black Joe?

Actually I was never in Jet Black Joe but Quicksand Jesus and Jet Black Joe were kind of buddy bands. The members partied a lot together but those stories are banned for public viewing. Personally I did some world touring for a while as a session player with Quarashi and Bang Gang and that was a lot of fun.

How was it to work with Steve Albini for the 2nd album of your next band “Ensími”? Was it hard to make a follow-up after the so popular first album and to have Steve looking over your shoulders?

The Albini thing came quite suddenly. We were approached by this opportunity and we were quite surprised. He had heard our first album (“Kafbátamúsík”) and expressed interest in working with us. Of course we said yes but we had very little time before his window of opportunity to come and record was upon us and we had no songs ready. We just jumped in the fire and made “BMX” quite fast, writing it and recording. I remember during recording with Albini that I was alone working with him in the control room doing guitar when I realized this was Steve fucking Albini in front of me, the guy who did for example, “In Utero” with Nirvana. I just froze in that moment and he asked me what I was thinking which I explained. He made it clear that in his eyes we were no less of an artist then Cobain or any other talent he worked with, ordered me to stop thinking bullshit, set fire to his shoes as a comedy relief and told me to get on with recording. That was a pretty cool moment for a young artist to experience.

The music made by “Dr. Spock” is hard to describe. Live performances are one of a kind. I remember the yellow gloves and a spitting fire act on a truck driving through the streets of 101 RVK during Airwaves…

Yes, the Dr. Spock music is a blend of all kinds of genres with the sole aim of having fun. It´s more of a rock circus than a band. Our live shows are always crazy entertaining because the crowds are so into it, which is a great atmosphere. We have done a lot of bizarre things like taking part in the Eurovision song contest to producing a radio theater play for the national radio.

You are also often taking part in tribute concerts downtown the capital. How come? Icelandic musicians are not so into doing covers, they prefer to play their own material, in my humble opinion…

I have no problem playing other peoples music as long as I like the music. The tribute thing keeps me in playing mode while my bands are not active and it is always fun to play with other musicians apart from your band mates. Also it is a way to make some money because artists in Iceland do not live off their art unless you are of Björk or Sigur Rós type of size act, the Iceland market is just too small.

Takk fyrir. Good luck with all your projects and especially Paunkholm!


– Wim Van Hooste

Photo on the right by Peter Males – Other two on the left from Franz’ FB page