five icelandic acts to wrap your scarf around

Proving the island isn’t all ice, Björk and that hotdog place Kanye went to, we took a scientific look at the best of Iceland’s new musical acts.

by Hanna Hanra
30 October 2017, 4:09pm

Look, Björk, Sigur Rós and Múm (that's pronounced "Miooyyuujm" FYI) might have had the monopoly in Iceland's music scene for a while but just like the weather, those times are changing. The country, whose entire population is the same as Cardiff, is fast becoming a musical hotspot for up and coming talent. Showcased at Iceland Airwaves, the island's talent per capita (or TPC as you might say) is higher than Glymur, its highest waterfall.

Ok enough of this, here's our picks of the best Icelandic talent to watch out for at Iceland Airwaves.


Originally forming in 2012, Cyber -- once a thrash metal-cum-disco outfit -- are the ongoing musical project of Salka Valsdóttir (also of Bleach Pistol and Sick Roma) and Jóhanna Rakel (who's also in JuniorCheese and YNK NICK). Named after a teenage lipstick owned by each of the duo, their debut EP Crap contains seven tracks ranging from pumpers to downers; the only consistent vein is the weirdness that runs through them. The duo are also members of our favourite all girl 16 piece rap group, Reykjavíkurdætur -- who wowed us all on the i-D stage at Airwaves last year with their gargantuan bangers Hæpið and Fiðringur.


You maybe haven't heard of Sara Pétursdóttir, aka Glowie, but if you're a fan of pop music she's about to slide into your consciousness. Recently signed to Columbia records -- in one of the largest music deals for any Icelandic artist, ever -- the twenty year old pretty much conquered Iceland with her first single No More, which sat in the Icelandic charts for seven weeks. Schwing!


Don't worry if you aren't familiar with the name Jófríður Ákadóttir -- or it's pronunciation -- the ethereal singer goes under the moniker JFDR. Aged just 22 she's rather prolific, forming her own indie folk duo Pascal Pinon with her twin sister, then joining electro-trio Samaris (Björk's a fan, natch), before joining the GANGLY collective and now focusing on her own god-damn self. Her debut album, Brazil, was released earlier this year -- and is full of gentle soundscapes, thought-provoking guitar noodling and haunting vox.

Joey Christ

I mean, he's literally singing in Icelandic so I have no idea what he is saying but it sounds GREAT. "Drip drip drip – Sriracha". Sure. Apparently the above track is an ode to the tourists that roam the streets of Reykjavik looking for what they will never have. He doesn't seem to mention that hotdog place though, but who knows. The member of Icelandic hip-hop outfit Sturla Atlas (they opened for Beiber dontcha know) has since built on his blue-eyed bad boy rep, and shaped the sound of those extra long summer days (and no nights because it's actually light for 24 hours) with his two releases Anxiety City and Joey.


IDK, somehow the words Icelandic and hip-hop kinda feel like they shouldn't sit next to each other but apparently you really can spit bars in Old Norse. In a world where kids have the freedom to download whatever patches they want, set up a studio with a laptop and a mic that has been delivered from Amazon Prime and a bucket full of attitude, does it really matter what they say, more that they are saying it and doing it for themselves?


iceland airwaves