Sónar, the electronic music extravaganza, originally started in Barcelóna in 1994 but has made its way up here to the far north for the last couple of years. As in past years, the festival takes place on the four stages of Harpa Concert Hall, the 18th-20th February, as well as a part of Harpa’s underground car park, converted into a night club for the occasion. Roughly 70 DJ’s, artists and bands will perform on 5 different stages on 3 days. Both Icelandic and international artists will show off their talents, and all you and I have to do is show up to enjoy great music, meet people and dance our asses off. Here are some of the artists I’m excited to see at Sónar this year.
Angel Haze (US)
This young artist was raised in a conservative faith where listening to music, among other things, was forbidden. She didn’t start listening to music, let alone playing it until she was 16 and her family moved to New York. Now she’s creating her own music; a mixture of hip-hop and tender melodies; mostly about love, loss, survival and abuse, abandonment, trauma, and poverty connected to her troubled childhood.
Floating Points (UK)
Floating Points consists of one man from Manchester: Sam Sheperd. Music is actually his second career, he only plays electronic post-rock when he’s not too busy being a neuroscientist. The music can be described as dreamlike electro, a mix of dance music with a hint of classical music, sometimes inspired by jazz and soul.
Annie Mac (IE)
Annie Mac is a celebrated electronic music DJ, broadcaster and talent-finder. She hosts a music show on BBC Radio 1 on electronic dance music. She likes exploring musical trends and knows all the newest hits, as well as the old hits and the forgotten gems. She‘s going to be playing some of her favourites at Sónar Reykjavík, and I can‘t wait.
East Of My Youth
East of My Youth is an Icelandic electro-pop trio. Hjördís, Thelma and Guðni have been working together since 2014 and will be releasing their first album in 2016. East of My Youth makes melodic electronic pop reminiscent of Florence and the Machine and the vocals alone should be enough to make you run, not walk to their show.
Vaginaboys is a new band made up of young guys playing experimental romance music. At least, I assume they’re young, they perform wearing white masks that cover half their face so I can‘t really be sure. They sing in Icelandic but their first album, released in 2015, is called Icelandick. This is a respectable publication, so I won’t be translating any of their songtitles. Suffice it to say, they deal with modern romance in all its forms.
I considered recommending more new and exciting Icelandic acts here, such as Reykjavíkurdætur, Hildur or Vök, but in the end, I went for Páll Óskar, the king of disco. Páll Óskar is an Icelandic icon, and has been singing since childhood. His disco-inspired dance pop has been making Icelanders rush to the dance floor for more than 20 years, and shows no signs of stopping. In 2015 alone, he had two hits topping the charts!