Dr. ROK had an interview with Bjarni Freyr who goes by the artist name YAMBI. He is an 29 year old songwriter-producer. He’s currently working as an electrician alongside his studio work and music. He studied to become an electrician in Iceland. Then later on, he moved to London to study sound engineering and production. His hobbies thru the years have been skateboarding, drawing, creating videos and just art in general.
Are you currently living in the UK?
I’m not living in the UK right now. I moved out there to study and further my career as a songwriter and an artist. I studied at a school called ‘Alchemia’ and after that I worked in sound and studios for while before coming back home. But I’m interested in moving again as I feel Iceland is a really small market and not necessarily the city for my music. I loved living in London, it was a hassle but I loved the school and all the amazing people I met there. After all I am still in touch with and working on music with them.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Árbær, which is a suburb of Reykjavík where I had an amazing time there. I lived there my whole childhood and teen years, so a lot of fun and crazy things when down in that neighbourhood. I was always the first to jump into doing something I should not have been doing (haha).
When did music came into your young life?
Music has always been a huge part of my life, ever since I remember. When I was a kid my eldest brother put me to sleep with Metallica and Painter. And from early age, I was really interested in rock music and just music in general. It was always an escape from reality, a place where I felt I could be me and just forget about everything, just create my own world.
Which instruments do you play?
The first instrument that I picked up was a guitar. I think I was around 12 years old and I always wanted to play an instrument. My oldest brother had both classical guitar and an electric one. So at maybe 8 or 9, I had already got my eye on it and sneaked into his room to try playing it (haha). But it was not until around 12, I really got into learning and watching MTV, seeing music videos of Guns ‘n Roses and all those bands that sparked the fire in me to learn. I did study at some local music schools. With my guitar I played in few metal and rock bands.
I also play piano, selftaught, and I’m not the best at it (haha), but love playing it and coming up with chord progressions and melodies. But today I write and play mostly on keyboards.
Name us your musical idols at that time?
Metallica, In flames, Judas Priest, Children of Bodom, Pantera and such bands. So my bedroom walls were covered with posters of rock and metal bands.
Tell us the story behind the solo release “It was my mind” (2003), featuring ‘Guitar driven indie’ songs…
The Lone Wolf project started out as just me wanting to make an album, make some music, create. I did not have any singer to work with at that time, so I made it largely instrumental and sang the other songs myself. But yeah, it was just me experimenting.
I did make music before Lone Wolf and that was mostly metal song and heavy riffs, Pantera- style mixed with melodic rock. That’s how Lone Wolf turned into a Metal project. I made a 7-track EP with an old friend, who was really good ad screaming and singing, that type of metal core music. I made some more singles with that and other metal bands as well.
Today I am making music that I love to make, and not setting myself any limitations or directions. I’ve always loved electronic music ever since one of my brothers played me The Prodigy. In my home there was ABBA being played in one room and 2Pac in the other. So there has always been diversity in music surrounding me. So the evolution to YAMBI began when I was in London or the biggest turning point, being in that school with a lot of drum ‘n’ bass and house producers. There was my chance to explore and really learn how to make the music I had thought about for some time. It just kind of happened this way. I’ve started making electronic dance music slowly from that, and kept learning and growing in that direction. Twisting pop elements into it, and still having fun with mixing things together stylistically and learning with YouTube, and just figuring things out (haha).
Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration can strike from so many places: my experiences in life, my friends and their surroundings, human behaviour and feelings. A lot of my lyrics are linked to strong emotions and what I go thru in life. I love movies, so definitely I get a lot of inspiration from Sci-Fi movies and adventure movies. I love making music videos, so the link between visual storytelling alongside music is something that has a big influence on me. I want to score or make music for films somewhere down the line.
Nice group of female singers you got involved for your songs! How did you get in touch with these talented Grrl Power ladies?
The singers I’ve got on the songs that I have released and the ones I’m currently working with on my new songs, have been pretty much seeking the internet, Instagram, YouTube and sending songs over and over to a lot of people. I have been lucky with getting people to work with me on the songs that I have. But a lot of times it’s hard to approach people and many are not up for it, but the ones that have, have kind of just happened. Kind of got linked thru some friends or connections on the internet or just clicked thru social media.
Other musical projects at the moment?
I’m producing music for singers right now and some trap/electro vibe projects. I am working a lot different stuff these days. Inbetween I’m making music for myself and remixing more songs.
You are currently working on an EP, isn’t it?
I’m currently working an EP with some different singers from Australia, America, the UK and Iceland. So there is a lot new music coming, not sure when Iwill release it, but hopefully later this year or early next year. As I’m still recording vocals for few of the songs, but I’ll be releasing singles along the way and videos.
If there are any singers out there, male/female I’m always open for collaboration and writing music and looking for vocals on my tracks. So don ́t be shy to contact me, and see if we click and can make some magic.
Hit me up on Instagram: yambi_music or Facebook under: yambimusic.
And be sure to check out my music on Spotify and YouTube.