Icelandic songstress Hafdis Huld has been singing and performing since her teens, when she was a member of electro-pop ensemble Gus Gus. After leaving the band Huld broke out as a solo star with her 2006 debut, the critically-acclaimed Dirty Paper Cup, and toured all over Europe and the United Kingdom to bring her idiosyncratic brand of pop to the masses.
Now with her new album Synchronized Swimmers, set for a release later this year in America and Canada, it looks Huld will soon gain fans on this side of the ocean as well. In a short interview with Indies and the Underground, Huld talks about her new music, meeting Bjork, her songwriting inspirations and meeting goats in a cemetery.
You started touring with Gus Gus when you were 15. How did being on the road at such a young age affect you?
Well I joined the band at 15 but didn´t start touring untill I was 16. That sounds a bit better doesn't it ? I don´t think it affected me much to be honest, I was way to young to get into clubs or do anything rock´n roll. And obviously I always had a grown up looking after me. But it was great to be able to see so many different countries and it convinced me I wanted to do music when I grew up.
What's the craziest thing that's happened on tour?
Meeting some goats in a cemetery in Switzerland.
Was it difficult to make the transition from being in a group to being a solo artist?
No it was great not to have to run everything by 8 other people. I could finally make exactly the music I wanted to make and tell stories that meant something to me. I am much happier where I am today.
What's your earliest musical memory?
Going with my mum to see Boney M when they came to play in Iceland when I was 5 years old. I remember that one of them came and picked me up and took me onto the stage where I proudly waved to my mum.
How is the sound/lyrical content of Synchronized Swimmers different or similar to Dirty Paper Cup?
Lyrically I think Synchronised Swimmers is brighter and happier and the production is fuller. Dirty Paper Cup was very lo fi and didn't even have a rhythm section.
Your songs often tell stories and contain a lot of sharp imagery and quirky characters. Who or what inspires your songs?
Life in general. Sometimes it is a personal experience, or a strange sentence I hear that makes my imagination go into overdrive. I also have a few songs written about my friends experiences, if all the things I sing about had happened to me I would be a robotic vampire climbing ski scrapers and eating ice cream. Well the ice cream is a personal experience I guess.
Which artists influenced you as a songwriter and singer?
I always feel like I should list lots of cool musicians when I get this question because that is what artists say in interviews, but I am not a good liar and the truth is I am much more influenced by stories and people than I am by other music.
Which artist and producers would you like to collaborate with and why?
I am waiting for Dolly Parton to invite me to Dollywood to sing a duet with her. Why.... because that would be brilliant.
Have you ever met Bjork?
Yes I have met her a few times and she is exactly how you would expect from seeing her in interviews and on TV . Last time I met her was at the environmental karaoke marathon she hosted.. It is brilliant how she is fighting for the Icelandic nature and raising peoples awareness.
You've also acted in several indie films. Would you like to branch out into movies more in the future? In what way (i.e. scoring music for films, acting, directing etc.)
I would love to do some more acting, I always really enjoy that. And it would be great to get the opportunity to write a film score one day. That is proper grown up stuff.
What can fans expect from you next?
An album of Icelandic lullabies this spring and some gigs abroad in the spring and summer. And then hopefully a new album at the end of the year. And in between some video blogs about growing beet root and making jam and possibly some online gigs from my pink kitchen here in Iceland.