Samaris' "Black Lights" Will Melt Your Preconception That Icelandic Music is Always Cold

The Icelandic trio share the title track from their upcoming LP, 'Black Lights.'
May 5, 2016, 6:01pm
Image courtesy of One Little Indian

The dark and endless winters in Iceland seem to leave their mark on the musicians from that country. Think of some of the country's most well-known contemporary electronic artists, such as Björk or Ólafur Arnalds whose music is often covered in elegiac and brooding textures—an ice-covered overlay on the warm and emotional core of their music. If these two musicians had anything to do with giving Iceland a consistent musical identity over the past decade, then it's no wonder a band like Samaris has emerged.

Samaris is an Icelandic trio consisting of producer Þórður "Doddi" Steinþórsson, clarinetist Áslaug Magnúsdóttir and singer and multi-instrumentalist Jófríður Ákadóttir. The three met at Reykjavík's music academy in the dead of winter in 2011, and their collaboration quickly took off. They released their first album, Silkidrangar, back in 2014, and have their second album, Black Lights, ready to drop on June 10.

With a rapidly growing international audience, the trio decided to start writing their songs in English for this album. Yhe band's dislocation served as a sign that they might need to "shake things up," Áslaug told THUMP via email. Written over the course of a year between Berlin, Ireland and scattered locations across Europe, the trio have captured a sound taking cues from dub techno, IDM and breakbeat matched with delicate ambient textures, washing synth lines and Jófríður's breathy and magnetic voice.

The album's title track, "Black Lights," is premiering today on THUMP ahead of the June release. About the track, producer Dotti said: "I remember we were really quick coming up with it. The demo was called 'Nofríður' because she wasn't there and one of the sounds in it is me singing in a vocoder. Me and Jófríður went to Ireland and recorded a demo of the vocals in and then I think she did the final vocal take in London. The original was 15 minutes long, we could listen to the loop for hours so the arrangement was quite tricky, we had to leave a bunch of sounds and melodies out."

Get lost in Samaris' ethereal bliss, and look for their new album to drop via One Little Indian on June 10.

The dark and endless winters in Iceland seem to leave their mark on the musicians from that country. Think of some of the country's most well-known contemporary electronic artists, such as Björk or Ólafur Arnalds whose music is often covered in elegiac and brooding textures—an ice-covered overlay on the warm and emotional core of their music. If these two musicians had anything to do with giving Iceland a consistent musical identity over the past decade, then it's no wonder a band like Samaris has emerged.

Samaris is an Icelandic trio consisting of producer Þórður "Doddi" Steinþórsson, clarinetist Áslaug Magnúsdóttir and singer and multi-instrumentalist Jófríður Ákadóttir. The three met at Reykjavík's music academy in the dead of winter in 2011, and their collaboration quickly took off. They released their first album, Silkidrangar, back in 2014, and have their second album, Black Lights, ready to drop on June 10.

With a rapidly growing international audience, the trio decided to start writing their songs in English for this album. Yhe band's dislocation served as a sign that they might need to "shake things up," Áslaug told THUMP via email. Written over the course of a year between Berlin, Ireland and scattered locations across Europe, the trio have captured a sound taking cues from dub techno, IDM and breakbeat matched with delicate ambient textures, washing synth lines and Jófríður's breathy and magnetic voice.

The album's title track, "Black Lights," is premiering today on THUMP ahead of the June release. About the track, producer Dotti said: "I remember we were really quick coming up with it. The demo was called 'Nofríður' because she wasn't there and one of the sounds in it is me singing in a vocoder. Me and Jófríður went to Ireland and recorded a demo of the vocals in and then I think she did the final vocal take in London. The original was 15 minutes long, we could listen to the loop for hours so the arrangement was quite tricky, we had to leave a bunch of sounds and melodies out."

Get lost in Samaris' ethereal bliss, and look for their new album to drop via One Little Indian on June 10.

Jesse is THUMP's intern. Hit him up on Twitter

Jesse is THUMP's intern. Hit him up on Twitter