Photo by Louis Pattison
Iceland is so expensive that if you’re drinking in a bar in Reykjavik and it’s your round, you might as well pull one of the kitschy Viking war-axes off the wall and use it to slice out your own kidney. This is because Iceland is blessed with vast amounts of natural resources and geothermal energy and is rich and content beyond its wildest dreams. Plus they have to import everything.
It’s also home to Reykjavik’s Jakobinarina, six arrogant, elitist punks aged between 15 and 19 who proclaim “nice guys don’t play good music” and play strange, barked rock music that sounds like The Fall dipped in a volcano.
They just got their big break during this year’s Iceland Airwaves music festival, and we met them in Thingvellir, a national park built on the site of their world’s first ever parliament in 930. Jakobinarina marked the occasion by complaining about being bored and letting off fireworks at passersby.
Vice: Where are all the poor people in Iceland?
Gunnar: There are none. No one begs over here, there is nothing like that.
Sigurdur: We can always take loans from banks. Probably 80 percent of people do not own their cars, or houses—they pay for them with loans. We live well off the country, and we are so few.
What’s the song about “The Crowd with the Low IQ” all about?
Gunnar: I wrote that lyric yesterday. It’s about Iceland Airwaves. All the bands are shit and everybody is dancing.
Sigurdur: We are getting very picky with bands. We are getting very high standards. When you are always surrounded by music you start to think about it more, you get a great understanding of how it is built. Now we think 95 percent of bands are shit.
What’s your favourite bit of Icelandic folklore?
Gunnar: We have 13 Santa Clauses. They have a mother and if her children are naughty she takes them and brews them in a pot.
Sigurdur: Thirteen days before Christmas, they come to your window and leave presents. I believed that story until I was 10 years old. But parents don’t tell that story anymore.
Jakobinarina’s debut single, His Lyrics are Disastrous, is out now on Rough Trade