- Who are you?
I am Árni Grétar, an electronic musician, I call myself Futuregrapher. I’m also the co-founder of the label called Möller Records where we release Icelandic electronica and where we host a monthly event called Heiladans, which means “Brain dance” in English. It’s an event where electronic musicians can play their music to fans of that kind of music. And… Yes, that’s just who I am!
- And how long have you been playing under this name Futuregrapher?
I’ve been recording music as Futuregrapher since, I would say 2007, but I started making music around 1996 when I was 13 years old. I’ve been in some bands, numerous of bands but the Futuregrapher project started in 2007.
- Have you always been playing electronic music?
Yeah, it has always been electronic music. I’ve always been drowned in making music on the computer or on scenes or samplers and it has always been different kind of electronic music.
- I saw you playing live at Aldrei fór ég suður and you are really energetic on stage, you are dancing crazily, and like you just said you have this event called “brain dance”… Is it your music which has this effect on you or you just feel it?
Yeah, it’s never prepared. I never plan what I’m going to do live. For Aldrei fór ég suður, the only thing I was prepared to do was to ask Þórður Kári Steinþórsson who is in Samaris to come and help me playing my songs because I knew I had the urgency to dance. I really like to dance and yeah, it’s just a kind of buzz you get when you hear this kind of music. It gets kind of spiritual.
- Where is this event Heiladans happening?
Now it’s located at Litla Gula Hænan, which is in English “Little Yellow Chicken”, in Laugavegur 22, on the corner. It’s an old famous location. It’s been quite great to have this event because there have been many legendary nights in 2 years.
- You founded the label Möller Records with Jóhann Ómarsson (aka Skurken). How do you know each other?
We knew each other through a guy who was our friend, who passed away two years ago. His name was Sigurbjörn Þorgrímsson and he is a legend here in Iceland. He was like one of the first electronic musicians and he called himself Biogen and we knew each other through him. Around 2 or 3 years ago, we decided that we needed a label to release our music so we got together and created this label. Today Frosti Jónsson and Stefán Ólafsson are working with us on the label.
- So it was an independent process.
- How many artists are you now working with?
It’s me, Skurken, Prince Valium, a band called Sonord, Intro Beats, Tanya & Marlon, Murya, Steve Sampling, Bistro Boy, Subminimal, Fu Kaisha, Jafet Melge and Snooze Infinity. Yeah, they are the artists that we have released.
- You play a lot in Iceland but have you been abroad?
No, not with Futuregrapher but this fall I’m going at least to Germany, maybe Canada and maybe Estonia. I’m definitely going to Germany.
- And where would you love to play and why?
I would love to play in Japan because I’ve heard many stories that people in Japan are so into the music and also because I would love to visit Japan and I’m gonna do it someday. I released an EP with a Japanese artist last year, it was called Waterproof and it was very different than what you saw in Aldrei fór ég suður because it’s like ambient music, with no beats. We released it on a British label called Somehow Recordings and we just exchanged music via the Internet and we are also making a new album now with the same format. He sends me music and I send him back…
- So you did not meet…
No, I never met him but the plan is to go there and play live so that’s really a dream.
- And do you think he is gonna come here too?
Him? Hopefully! Hopefully he will experience as well because our islands are like similar in a way. Even though we are in the North, we have both volcanic islands. I think he will enjoy coming here as well.
- You are a few people living in Iceland but there is a lot of, lot of artists. How would you describe this phenomenon?
It’s like a family of people because we kind of all know each other and we are also always helping each other out and now because of the Internet, I am a member of several groups where you are talking about your own music and other people’s music here in Iceland. We are all giving each other criticism of what could be better and what is good about the music so we are like a one big family, but then we are divided into groups like the electronic music family, the indie family, the hip-hop family… We all know each other: “this is a friend of this guy”. It’s really weird thinking that there are not many people living on this island but there are so many talented musicians.
- Who would you recommend?
I would recommend the hip-hop group Forgotten Lores for people who are into hip-hop, I would recommend Sigurður Flosason for people who are into jazz, I would recommend Ruxpin for people who like electronica… There are so many great names to recommend so it’s quite difficult but these are the first three I came up with.
- If you could collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Because I think we could have made a good conversation over a cup of coffee. His music is like beyond everything. Even though I don’t write music like he did, I think it would be a funny combination and probably a nice soundtrack of us getting together.
- And how would you called this album made together?
With Frank Zappa? Hmmm, I don’t know… Maybe “Coffee and cigarettes”.
- What’s your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life… People should try to be happy, find their happiness and they should try to quit judging other people. I mean it in a good way like I live my life in the best way I try to live it and I hope other people do it as well and then we could all, in the end, help each other to be happy.
- I could be a good conclusion, but just a last question: which album did you listen to recently and you think is the best for 2013?
The album we released on Möller Records, even though I am releasing it, is from the band Sonord and it’s a really good album called We Are No Strangers. People should check it out. I mentioned Ruxpin earlier, he just released an album which is really good. But the music I’ve been listening to recently is from Pete Namlook. He passed away a couple of months ago, he was a brilliant German composer of atmosphere/ambient music and he had this label called Fax Records which is a quite incredible record label which people and fans of ambient music should check out.
- Track n°1
I have no idea who it was but I really liked the track, I really liked it. And… I don’t know, I would guess it’s from 1978, am I right? Shiiieet… I have no idea, 78, my guess is 78. And if I have to rate the song I would give 4 out of 5. I really liked it. Mushroom jazz…
-> Andrew – “Age”
- Track n°2
I have no idea what this was, I never heard this before. I don’t know, this was… I don’t know what to say, I really liked the sounds and I really liked the percussions. It sounded like it was recorded live but I’m not sure. No, I’m totally blank. I really loved it. I would give 4.5 out of 5. I really liked the percussions sound.
-> Kukl – “Handa Tjolla”
- Track n°3
Q4U! The punk post new wave band. I remember because Árni Daníel, who was in the band Q4U, told me he still had the Roland TR-808 drummers in and this track has that sound. So this is Árni Daniel on drum programming on TR_808 and this is Q4U. I’m not sure when it was released, maybe 1987 or earlier. And the lead singer, Elínborg, was a really hot smoking girl and she still is and if she is available she could call me and we should get on a date (laugh). I would really like to date an old punk star. 5 out of 5 this is brilliant!
-> Q4U – “PLO”
Interview & photos by Adeline Le Broc.