This past Saturday Icelandic six-piece indie pop outfit Of Monsters and Men graced Philthy with an epically-received, sold out, post-Thanksgiving show at the Tower Theater. I’ll admit, I was hesitant to get on board with their supposed “brilliance”… and the fact that their audience resembled the next-generation of Rusted Root fans (1.8 GPA university students who have a penchant for cargo shorts and whose dance moves would make Snooki look like James Brown.), but by the end of their 70-minute set, I did have to admit that not only was their music both quite catchy and quite poignant, but that they have quickly learned a thing or two about putting on a show (Most notably rhythm section Kristjan Pall Kristjansson and Arnar Rosenkranz Hilmarsson, who seemed to conduct the band like speechless MCs of a classic cabaret.)
However, the highlight of the evening was a thirty-minute set from immediate support, Soley. Soley is a fellow-Icelander and has been with OMAM for the duration of the tour, which wraps Friday in Orlando. Soley is a multi-instrumentalist and former member of Seabear and just recently ventured out onto her own and into the territory of a vocalist. Her solo debut, We Sink, was released stateside this September. The album is whimsical in an otherworldly and delicately scary manner. Her performance (albeit made for much more intimate settings), seemed to entrance the three thousand in attendance… I’m guessing most of them haven’t experienced something so minimalistically powerful before. I actually got a chance to chat with Soley about her own personal view of herself as a musician and when you can get a chance to catch up with her.
Izzy Cihak: It’s been said that you didn’t always consider yourself to have a “proper” singing voice. What or who was it that inspired you to pursue your vocal talent? I remember hearing Iggy Pop describe the first time he heard the Velvet Underground, saying something like, “I was like, ‘They can’t play, they can’t sing. I can’t sing! Let’s all sing,’” which I find to be very moving, when considering the beauty in postmodern art.
Soley: I still don’t wanna be called a singer and I don’t know why. I guess I feel shy for saying that and then fucking up on stage! But on my to-do list is taking technical singing lessons. When I heard Joanna Newsom for the first time I was surprised by her way of using her voice and I really liked her unique style. But it’s true what you say about Iggy Pop: “Let’s all sing, it’s just too much fun!’
IC: You’re from Iceland, which seems to have quite a cool and interesting music scene (at least from an American perspective). How would you describe the musical climate in Iceland? I’m quite a big fan of Olof Arnalds and FM Belfast.
S: It’s nice and cozy, the Icelandic music scene. It’s small, positive competition and everyone wants to help each other!
IC: You released your debut solo LP, We Sink, earlier this year in the states. What have been your favorite reactions to it thus far? Does it seem to be garnering a fanbase of a particular type of person?
S: Any reaction is good, so I guess I’m just surprised that so many people are following this album and listening to it. I have no idea about what people are listening to it. I’ve heard that teenage girls like the album, but at shows there are all types of people, all from young to old.
IC: How would you describe the sound of the album to those who may be yet to hear it?
S: I’d say a lot of piano and layers of voice. Some say dreamy, surreal, and a tiny bit dark, but all with humor!
IC: You’re currently finishing a short tour with Of Monsters and Men. How have the pair of you gotten on so far?
S: I think I might try to sooth everyone to sleep with my music and then Of Monsters And Men all sing in choir and have a lot of parties! We are a bit different, musically but, hopefully, I’ll gain a few people who’d like to come back to a Soley show, preferably in a small church or something!
IC: What are you planning for 2013, whether relating to your work or your leisure?
S: My plan is to start making a new album as soon as I get back from this tour. We are also going to tour a bit, coming back to America in February/March!