Photos by Everyday Superhero.
Hello, and welcome to Tónmatur.
First,s I should first explain what “Tónmatur” is. “Tónmatur” apparently is a combination of the Icelandic words tónlist, for music, and tómatur, for tomato. Why such a baffling combination for the name of a program? Well, the answer is simple: the musical language tomato will be a dinner and interview show for Icelandic musicians/music industry people and wayfaring international acts visiting Iceland. It seemed like the catchiest thing that could come to mind, and I thank Dýrfinna Benita for the name. Think of it kind of like Dinner For Five, without Jon Favreau at the helm entertaining American actors.
Since we don’t have the money for a full scale television program yet,we will stick to photos and audio for now, courtesy of my computer and a six year-old Blackberry Tour 9630. We hope to make this an ongoing series, and to that end, I’m up for the challenge of bringing to you the best of what Iceland’s creatives have to offer. I’ll do my best to keep this ultra indie, low-fi (shoddy) production as entertaining as possible. With that said… let’s begin with Episode One, covering Icelandic producer and rapper Lord Pusswhip.
Aside from being ultra cool for being the first guest on the show, Lord Pusswhip has been subject to the question “Who the fuck is that?” by some of Reykjavík’s most prominent creatives. Let’s find out why.
Lord Pusswhip is a 20 year old hip hop producer/rapper who has been taking the Icelandic hip hop scene by storm with his lush, psychedelic and confrontational sounds. Inspired by chopped ‘n’ screwed horror films and females, Pusswhip has already produced for quite a few names in the underground rap world abroad such as Antwon, Metro Zu and Th@ Kid, as well as playing in Brooklyn with hip-hop and punk legends Dälek and Stuart Argabright. Alongside those projects he makes Icelandic rap that mixes drugged-out VHS nostalgia with the sneer and explosiveness of punk rock.
He has been immersed in music and art since his brother brainwashed him as a child with music like Black Sabbath, Cypress Hill, video games and horror films. He studied piano at an early age but started playing in a punk band with his friends at the age of 11. He has made electronic music for about two years and studied it in Denmark this year.
As a performer, Pusswhip has developed his set from a simple laptop affair to an event with guest dancers and props such as fake 9 millimeter pistols and counterfeit currency. His beat making skills are quite impressive for a person who by all accounts has only produced for a couple of years. Appearance wise he is striking; recognizable, and very easily one day the fodder of tabloids in your nearest multinational supermarket chain store. He’s tall, handsome, and available; hide your daughters, folks.
On a personal note, Pusswhip and I have worked together on and off on various projects since 2011’s Iceland Airwaves, doing press coverage, putting on shows, perfecting our alcohol tolerance. I pitched him the idea for the show, and he agreed, and when asked if he knew of a sympathetic place to have an interview, he came up with the Hamburger Joint. For a person with his “inevitability” factor for massive success, I figured it was a good pairing.
Hamborgarabúllan, or Hamburger Joint, makes amazing product. From crispy potato chips to savory cheeseburgers, this place is a favorite of ours. Lord Pusswhip details a story about the Joint in our interview, which you can watch on the right hand side. It has a lot of significance to his friends and history, and it has a lot of significance to me as being frankly one of the best fast food restaurants in Iceland. The other one is in Höfn, called Hafnarbúðin. Shout outs to their weightlifting champion cook.
So Lord Pusswhip (or LP as I will address him for now on) and I headed over to this palace of delicacy on Laugavegur, accompanied by the ever bubbly owner of the company Everyday Superhero, Aurelia taking photos, and proceeded to chat. Here’s what happened.
That was good, wasn’t it? Funny story: The original idea for this piece was a simple interview with my smartphone, but I lost the thing. F’n ADHD (certifiably). I thought someone stole it at Bravó, where I left it, and basically had a low level panic attack. Long story short, Pusswhip did my interview over Facebook, and I got back my phone from the least likely of people, Margrét of Kælan Mikla, a very cool Icelandic punk band that I will be reviewing, leaving a trace of her presence in the phones voice recorder. “Haha. I have your phone.” Here is that Facebook interview. Thanks Margrét.
What is/who is Lord Pusswhip?
It’s basically been the moniker since I started taking my first steps in beatmaking around 2 years ago, first it was DJ Pusswhip and then Lord Pusswhip. My friend L.V. Pier started calling me “Pusswhip” for some reason and it stuck, there’s no inherent meaning to it and I think it’s funny that people always seem to think that it’s very subversive or sexual, I’ve heard feminists say that it’s “problematic” which is very funny.
Where do you see yourself in one year’s time?
Hopefully getting more papes.
Is there an art concept/art theory to your work?
There’s no particular concept or art theory but I’m into the whole shock and confrontation aspect, especially since so much of the Icelandic music scene is very soft, definitely not “hard” music. We’re living in absurd times and I want my music to reflect that in some way, but also to be timeless. Hip-hop is such an open genre right now and for me, I can sort of remix everything around me and think about making beats as sort of like embroidery. Both retro and futuristic. I also like humour in music and sometimes feel like there’s not enough of that in Icelandic music.
Where can you improve?
I’m not super tech-savvy so I need to step my nerd game up.
What are you listening to these days?
DJ Hvad, the Turkish singer Selda Bagcan, the Jesus & Mary Chain discography. Plus I just took a bunch of world music CD’s from the library; music from Brazil, Morocco, India, Vietnam and Haiti.
What did you think of the dissolution of Björk collaborators Death Grips?
I don’t really care, I guess I would have liked to see them live though. I only liked some songs on their first album, their videos and stuff but I think that was a dick move towards Trent Reznor who they were supposed to tour with. Anyway, I love Hella and Zach Hill is an amazing drummer.
When is your next major show?
I don’t know but can you tell them over at Litla Hraun that I would love to perform at their prison?
What are your influences?
Films, politics, life, art, females, poetry, pranks, violence and nostalgia. My generation is very big on nostalgia.
What’s your brother, Þórarinn Ingi Jónsson’s role?
He makes props, guns and currency for me, an artistic director of sorts. He is also my security so he will beat a bitch up, I repeat: he will beat a bitch up
How was Secret Solstice?
It was fun, I was very laid back and didn’t party a lot. I thought there was too much fucking house music though. But I had a lot of fun playing my concert even though it was really early. I’m glad that the festival went well and I’m looking forward to playing there again sometime.
One thing you love and hate about Iceland?
I love the history and the closeness to nature, I hate how there’s a lot of dogmatism and binary thinking in the social and political discussion. That’s why I want to start the “Church of Ambiguity”.
What do you think about Gísli Pálmi?
He’s dope. I would love to give him some beats.
Do you take art seriously?
Not if it sucks. I take art very seriously, my family is mostly artists so I guess I have high standards because they traumatized me at an early age with all this art shit.
Why are you doing this, what is your ambition?
I love making music. My ambition is pretty simple, I want to make a living from this. It’s very fun.
What is your favorite hip hop album?
Good question. The most influential rap albums for me were probably Wu-Tang Clan – Enter the 36 Chambers, Cypress Hill – Black Sunday, Antipop Consortium – Arrhythmia and Company Flow – Funcrusher Plus.
Who is the most influential icelandic musician of your upbringing?
The old Icelandic punk rock scene, I think I must have rented the Rokk í Reykjavík videotape a hundred times. My favourite Icelandic bands since I was a kid have been Þeyr, HAM, Singapore Sling. I also used to listen to XXX Rottweiler Hundar’s first album a lot.
Just pretend that you just saw some really cool graphics on a screen. A whoosh here, starwipe there, and then another starwipe, and then credits rolling.
Thanks for watching.
LORD PUSSWHIP can be seen next at
26th July Austurvöllur, 14:00