Photo by Lula Ososki
After already receiving a staggering response from their home country of Iceland, we’re well excited about award winning, gold disc holding, chart topping Retro Stefson. We caught up with Unnsteinn & Logi Stefánsson after their show at Latitude to find out more…
Hey guys, So this is your first festival in the UK! how did you find it?
U: It was nice, there was a few technical problems but the crowd was amazing!
With so many of you, how do you approach songwriting? Do you all come up ideas/lyrics together?
U: I write most of it, and then my brother produces a lot. Sveinbjörn Thorarensen, the boy on the synths, he produces too and the others write a few songs as well.
Glow is such a great dance tune, how do you feel the response has been here compared to in Iceland?
L: It’s actually been really good in comparison, I was kind of surprised – maybe even better than in Europe!
How do you think your music has developed or changed since your first album?
U: So our first album came out in 2008, and we were recording when I was about 17 and my brother was 15. We played sort of Indie and acoustic stuff. Then came our second album in 2010 called Kimbabwe and that was more electric…the best way to explain it is that in the first album I was playing an acoustic guitar and in the second I was playing an electric guitar. For the third I sang a lot and it was more electronic. We’ve also been DJing a lot since we released our first album.
So you were still at school when you wrote your first album….how did you find that?
U: Yeah, we were in High School. I’ve been touring since I was 18 with a different band called FM Belfast and it was hard at times to keep it together, it was a question of agility. Then when the time came for my brother to graduate we had already become pretty popular in Europe so we were touring the whole year.
Is there anything that you found particularly difficult whilst recording your last album?
U: The whole process! With the first two albums it was just fun and we were recording in the summertime, we recorded both albums in August. We created our last album the whole year round. I wouldn’t say I was having a nervous breakdown but I was drained of my creativity. Thats when the guy on the synths Sveinbjörn came in – we were on tour and I went to his studio in Antwerp, Belgium. We started doing a lot there and that definitely helped. Recording should be difficult because anything good comes out of hard work.
And so you both produce it yourselves?
U: We produced it ourselves and our sound guy, he was producing as well. We would send stuff back and forth on our computers – we recorded on this one computer, it was made in 2003, and it broke! But lucky we had everything backed up so it was alright. We had like 4 different computer programs too so it was a lot of data management.
What do you guys get up to when you’re not making music?
U: Haraldur who came on stage for the last songs, he lives in London and he’s studying acting in the Central School of Speech and Drama. The rest of the band are at university or art school or whatever. Then us two, we produce for different bands, a lot of Hip hop acts back home. Also my brother DJ’s a lot. We really don’t do anything other than music.
Logi, do you mostly DJ in Iceland?
L: Yeah, mostly in Iceland but I released my first EP with this British Label last November called Cool Kid Music, run by Toyboy & Robin. I think one guy from the same label is DJing tonight, called Werkha.
U: Logi’s a resident DJ in five clubs in Iceland….our nightlife scene is very crazy!
Who off the Latitude Line-up would you like to jam with most?
L: Hot Chip.
U: Yeah Hot Chip. The line-up is actually crazy! It’s not insanely big acts like you have at some festivals but you have still very big acts, big indie acts. I like that.
Do you have any advice for young people trying to get their music out there?
L: Be original and you really have to work!
U: Yeah, it’s the hours you put in. Also you can’t really make a hit song with the trends that are popular today, you have to think of what’s going to be popular tomorrow.
What’s the plan for the rest of your Summer?
U: Touring a lot.
L: Big Icelandic festivals.
U: Then everyone’s on their own for a bit, in the Fall we’ll tour again in Europe.
and lastly, a lil’ muso game for you, put a track under these three titles -
1. Guilty pleasure…
L: My guilty pleasure is the Moldova Eurovision song from 2010 with the sax guy….I listen to it a lot!
U: Mine is the new Avicii song, I like that.
2. Play on a loop…
L: Free Spirit by Drake.
U: I had a Drake song on repeat all of last week called The Motion, ft. Sampha.
L: Drake does the craziest songs, you can listen to them endlessly.
3. Makes me feel sick…
U: Stress by Justice. I love the song but yeah it has a crazy effect on you.
L: I was listening to the new Korn album produced by Skrillex. That made me feel kinda sick in a bad way.
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