A lot of new releases this month. Kajak released their 2nd EP “Lights in the Dark”.
ROK had a talk with Hreinn Elíasson and Sigurmon “Moní” Hartmann Sigurðsson from the duo Kajak, the band with the best logo since Unun.
Hello Hreinn & Sigurmon!
Who are you? Where do we know you from?
Hreinn: We have been making music together since we were kids. We are actually close cousins. My father and his mother are brother and sister. It’s a family band. When we grow old and extinct, our kids will take over, and so on.
Moní: The “Kajak” journey started when Hreinn taught me how to play guitar back in the day. I had to make a decision between a DJ setup or an electric guitar. I’m so glad I was pointed in the right direction, picking the electric guitar.
H: We would meet up once a week for a tutoring lesson and eventually started writing songs together. Ranging from stoner rock to smooth ambient music.
M: I was the invited to be a part of Hreinn and Óli Dóri’s band “Weapons”. I started out playing guitar but quickly gravitated towards the drums. We played gigs nearly every weekend, at local venues in downtown Reykjavik. However, I was usually kicked out, 30 minutes after the show, only being 16 at the time. It’s surreal to think about it now but it was a great learning experience.
H: We had been making music together on the side, quenching our thirst for new musical styles and our need for experimentation.
M: The turning point was when we decided to focus more on the music we were making together, making that priority number one.
H: It was also at that time we were really getting into synthesizers and other electronic musical instruments. It had a huge impact on us, changing the way we wrote and produced. All of a sudden we had this vast world of otherworldly sounds to experiment with. As you would expect, we formed “Kajak” shortly after that.
Do you have a mutual taste in music?
M: We have extremely similar taste in music.
H: Yeah I agree. We have a shared Spotify playlist where we add new and inspiring music for one another.
M: It’s a kind of mutual discovery where we can post things we like and find inspiring.
“Bamboo”. Tell us something more about this song in particular…
M: “Bamboo” is slightly different from what we’ve done before. The goal was to make something simple, by using fewer elements than before, but it still had to carry the same impact.
H: Yes I think we managed to do just that. And it’s a love song. It’s kind of an ode to a special someone.
What can we expect from the new EP? Maybe you can give a short note about each song on the EP…
Lights in the Dark: A dark, upbeat pop anthem with warrior drums.
Nanuk: Touching the subject of the spiritual world of polar bears which arrives from Inuit mythology. A bit clubby, a bit mystical and a bit catchy in the chorus section.
Bamboo: A synth based love song with a dry-pulsing beat.
“Lights in the dark” is the successor of the “Children of the sun” EP, that features the track “Gold Crowned Eagle”. You made a great video to go along with this song. New video(s) in the making perhaps for songs on the new EP?
H: Actually when we first started Kajak we wanted to make videos for every song. We still feel that way so we are super keen on making more videos.
M: Our aim is definitely to create more videos in the near future. We have been working on ideas for a few songs and will hopefully release something soon.
Your music has some tribal and ethnic influences, but you use old and modern synths and drum machines to create your specific style, with an original result. What is the secret of Kajak, as far as you want to share it with ROK?
M: The most important thing is the collaborative aspect. We bounce ideas back and forth until they’re fully realized and complete.
H: We can share one trade secret with you guys at ROK. It’s a crucial part of our workflow. “The Baby Test”. We put the songs on for our kids when we think they’re ready for release. If they dance we know it’s good, but if they don’t, it’s back to the drawing board.
Which things do inspire you?
M: We are inspired by the human primal condition and tribal cultures around the world.
H: The sounds we create usually have some kind of meaning and inspiration behind them, like trying to make an analog synthesizer sound like a wooden instrument from an alien planet.
M: There is so much that can inspire. At the moment we are deeply fascinated by drum circles of native American culture and how they used them to cast away evil spirits and cleanse the tribe. A beautiful way to think about the power of sound.
You created your own label, Congo Bongo Records, to release your own music. How come and more plans with the label in the future?
H: It’s going to be a creative outlet for the two of us. A place we can call home and release whatever comes to mind.
M: We will also be providing music production services for other artists and businesses around the world. Congo Bongo Records is both a record label and a virtual music studio.
Takk for the chat guys!
For more information about Kajak and their Studio/Label Congo Bongo Records:
– Wim Van Hooste