What was the inspiration behind your debut LP?

Well we have yet to complete it so I will get into all of that when we are finished (haha). We hope to finished around Easter ´22 with a release date in late 2022.
Did you accomplish everything you set out to on your debut LP?
All of our plans have been re-scheduled over a dozen times so I have no idea. We are just doing what we love and trying to have fun while doing it. Love is sometimes complicated and tainted, it´s the same with music.

How did you manage to create the sound in “Tabula Rasa”?
We were close to cutting the song. We didn´t like how it was progressing. But I nursed it back to health in a way and me and my band (Hálfdán and Skúli) got behind me and made a killer song that we can´t wait to play live. Skúli´s drums on that track are just insane. He´s a beast. He ran through the takes like he had had 20 cups of coffee and an adrenaline shot all in one (haha).


Which performers inspired your music?
It´s no secret that my music has always been influenced by Mark Lanegan, Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave. Then I think it´s the mixture of NIN, QOTSA, Depeche Mode, old country music, grunge, hip hop, electronica and all sorts of world music and jazz that makes us unique. There´s a lot of fusion. To have Lanegan´s support in all of this has then been very uplifting and encouraging.


What attracted you to electronic instruments in the first place?
I started out playing classical instruments. I wanted to be a saxophone player and to this day I have no recollection why… (haha). So I started playing the flute, then I played the clarinet and it wasn´t until I was 9 that I got involved with guitars. Buying my first electric around that time. Later I´d get turn on to synths, pianos, drum machine and just anything that I could make sounds with. Not to mention vocals and harmony.

How did your music evolve from “Birds” to “Tabula Rasa”?
I think it´s grown. I wrote “Birds” as a solo performer on piano and had help from friends to make it something more. I was still working with my other band HYOWLP and didn´t really know what I was going to do with it. I guess what came after became something even more than that. I love “Birds” and think it´s a great song but I love the fact that we´ve also kept growing into different schemes of sonics and music, while keeping true to where we started from.

How did your childhood music-mixing phase influence your professional music career?

I was fortunate enough to have music in my life from a very early age. I was a part of the Icelandic Mickey Mouse Club at 5 and singing and dancing to The Drifters and The Everly Brothers so harmony became a big favourite. In anything really, I looked for beautiful harmonies and still do. To list the bands I listened to while growing up would be way too much but I feel that most of the music that I listened to as a kid stayed with me, though obviously not everything haha.


For a single, what comes first, the music or the lyrics?
It varies. I write a lot of poetry and short limericks that I start from. But sometimes it starts with some chords on the couch. Words mean a lot to me in the music and I try to use it as an outlet, like a therapy session or something. Then I try and mold the music around it. But I really it when it happens the other way around too. It´s just how you catch what´s flying around you at the time.


How has your life/art changed during the COVID pandemic?
Life goes on. But it has changed. You never really know what´s around the corner and you are starting to get a bit numb from all the ups and downs of “is it over or isn´t it…”. I´m grateful to have my art to turn to in times of trouble then again I’m frustrated that we can´t play as much or tour or travel and that has been very difficult. I do feel that these past 2 years have taught us to appreciate each other and all the good stuff. It´s obviously not a sure thing…

REVIEW – Tabula Rasa by Daníel Hjálmtýsson

What are your hopes for the upcoming Europe tour?

We´re always trying to work out dates and we hope to have some dates ready soon for early 2022. We are working with Glory Box, a booking agency in Belgium and really can´t wait to start that off with a bang. We´ve been on stand by for nearly 2 years. Now it´s time for kick off, I think.


What are your upcoming projects?
We are finishing our LP in the upcoming months and taking care of our families, writing music, hanging out and just trying to stay healthy in spirit and body. We celebrate winter solstice in 10 days, then the sun will start to come back and we hope all the good stuff will come along with it.

Follow Daníel Hjálmtýsson on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube, and Bandcamp.


Jaylan Salah