Bred in Iceland, Gisli Galdur and Jon Atli, the pair behind Human Woman, are no newcomers to the music scene. Between the two, their background in music spans from DJ-ing, to music composition for theatre, to working as a band’s ‘mood manager’. Their debut single Delusional, released May 14th, is a blend of electronic pop which incorporates both their classic influences whilst retaining their avant-garde take on music.
Hg2 caught up with this duo to talk music, influence, living in Copenhagen and partying. Yes, it’s fair to say with this Rock n’ Roll background you should expect the unexpected…
What brought the two of you to work together and what do you think makes your duet so special?
HW : Actually it was at a limbo contest early Saturday morning in the heart of Reykjavik. We had a great experience which involved Galdur winning the contest, and an accordion player that may have created a new music style that didn´t exist at that time in music history. That´s why we decided to start making music for early morning limbo contests and pool parties.
Galdur, you composed music for Icelandic theatre. How does this differ from making the type of electronic pop you’re doing with Human Woman?
HW: In the theatre you have to be careful not to exceed the text that the actor has to deliver. Sometimes you have total space for your music but often you have to be kind of in the background (but that can also be the most magnificent moments!). In Human Woman we just have our own text that we write our “play” to.
Sexy Lazer, you were a “mood manager” in Reykjavik. What exactly is that?
HW: It is a really hard job, but really well rewarding – thank god! It’s not possible for me to tell you all of the “Moodmanager’s” secrets, as The Scandinavian Queen would be really angry and fire me on the spot. When I moved to Denmark from Reykjavík, we had to bury “RVK Moody” by hosting “The Funeral Of The Nightlife”.
You’ve got a strong theme of ‘90s indie rock and ‘80s electronic running through your music. Who would you say are your biggest influences?
What are the standout highlights of your career so far?
HW: We as Human Woman don’t have a ‘career so far’, so it’s kinda hard to pick from nothing… BUT, “The Scandinavian Queen” Might have some juicy stories. Unfortunately she does not have a phone and we can’t remember her snail mail or fax :(. We do remember that the Blue Lagoon party at Iceland Airwaves was a lot of fun though.
We have been part of many bands and projects before HW. Galdur used to be in a hip-hop band called Quarshi that was big in Japan like so many others. It was amazing playing for so many people that could actually sing-a-long. It was also very cool to be on stage with Einar Örn from the Sugercubes in his band: Ghost Digital. A lot of energy and real punk! Then glam group Trabant, really amazing band and a lot of fun. Jón Atli used to be in a noise indie band called Fidel (lame name for a great band) and Fidel would often tour in Switzerland because of our Swiss/Arab sound engineer Swelli. That was usually a big flop – a very common backstage moment would be: Tour manager walks into the room saying “I have good news and some bad news…”. We all knew there was not really any good news but we would say “What?!”, to which he would reply “Well the bad news is that not many people gonna show up tonight but we have a bottle of vodka!”. After that Sexy Lazer played bass with Bang Gang amongst others and then did two indie pop records under the name Hairdoctor with Árni +1 from FM Belfast.
So yes, we have been around a while, but it may be hard to find the one moment that was the greatest amongst all those great moments.
Are there any up-and-coming Icelandic musicians that should be on our radar?
HW: Captain Fufanu, Gluteus Maximus, Oculus, Mr. Silla, Sigurrós (the next big thing), Prins Póló, Moses Hightower and Kasper Björke and Björk.
And for live music in Reykjavik – where would you recommend?
HW: NASA, but hurry up they wanna tear it down this summer :(. Faktory, Gaukurinn, Kaffibarinn for “Bedroom Community” nights, and also Harpa concert hall.
You’ve both toured the world – where are your favourite places to party?
HW: Galdur is a big karaoke fan so he loves Japan. Also a big fan of San Fran, Seydisfjördur (upper-east Iceland) & New York. Sexy Lazer likes Berlin (What a cliché), also Cologne – thanks to Shumi and the Okinawa 69 gang. We must say Hamburg as our record label HFN is there. Siberia. Barcelona, but please don’t mug us AGAIN!! No cities in England, Galdur hates it, except “Bath”. Gata in Faroe Islands (G! Festival) is GREAT. It’s so nice to be able to travel and work at the same time, we really feel lucky! But to all the cities we forgot, we are humbly sorry – maybe we were just to drunk to realise? Thank you Takk for giving us space and love: Human Woman.
6. Drinks at “Rubys” Cocktail bar close to Gammel strand.