Positively prolific and pulsating, the single-minded BJARKI and his childhood friend set up their own outlet in 2017, bbbbbb , to introduce Icelandic dance music to an international audience.
Bjarki is an electronic music composer whose tracks range from straightforward bangers to ambient and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music).
BRS began his precocious electronic tinkering at an early age. Isolated in the north of Iceland (Blonduos to be exact), he first surfaced under the name Kid Mistik near the end of 2000’s. Bjarki has kept a low profile in releasing his music, until he met the Russian disc jockey Nina Kraviz in 2014 who became a fan of Bjarki’s tracks, and began releasing his archive on her label трип (Trip).
With his releases Bjarki has placed himself firmly leading the pack of international artists who in the past few years have taken a hauntoloical approach to re-moulding the scents of breakbeat, rave, jungle and IDM into sounds that are entirely their own.
Can you introduce yourself to our readership who may not have heard of you?
Bjarki came from a typical Icelandic environment that shaped him into the artist he is today. He had a father and mother who did not live together. Nevertheless, he enjoyed the best of both, in addition to his grandfather and grandmother. He went to school, got to know many good people, some of which became his friends and close associates who follow his music adventures. For a while, he lived in a small village called Blönduós, where he became acquainted with two brothers who made music on computers. It fascinated and captivated him so he began to make his own. Later at the age of eighteen years, he went to study audio engineering. It taught him a lot. He learned about the structure of sound, which helped him to control and manipulate sound waves in his productions. In short that’s the beginning of the musician, Bjarki.
Shaped by the environment, the family, the study and much more. Today, Bjarki is a musician who disappears daily into his studio, wishing to get discreet thoughts and express them through the tones in his music. Sometimes he wants to tell those stories, then he travels around the world and expresses his thoughts, feelings, and experiences through music.
You have released on labels such as Trip but then set up bbbbbb, what inspired you to set up the label?
We felt that there was a lot missing in the dance music industry. More and more labels are concentrating on the global market, we want to focus on the
domestic market. We want to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Icelandic dance music can be entirely original; Help feed the underground,
providing quality music sometimes ‘’techno’’ or ‘’electro’’ for dancing, but also highlighting electronic music just for listening. We aim to disregard and resist the rules of techno music. We want to show that you can make music without expensive tools or the classic equipment (RIP 909). Reintroduce the concept of thoughtful design in our releases. Today, labels and sleeve layouts are often sub-standard, we definitely put a lot of effort into artwork and design. It’s just as important to have good music as it is to have good artwork.
Your live shows are something special. How did you come up with the concept and when are you bringing it to the UK?
The TV mannequins were something that I came up with for Sonar Reykjavik. Three mannequins on stage; a female, a kid and a male. We took their heads off and replaced them with analog tube TV’s. The original head of the mannequins were put into visuals for the TV’s. I wanted to have the
mannequins staring at the audience because they can really creep you out.
Hopefully in 2019 I bring it to the UK.
Your forthcoming album is based on the concept of human/consumption/waste can you explain this in more detail to us?
For me, nature is everywhere, so of course, it has an enormous impact on my music. Nature is inspiring whether I know it or not and of course we have to conserve nature, not for you and me, but for our children. The fundamental rule is that we have borrowed nature from the past and we must deliver it to the future as we do with all things we borrow, in perfectly good shape. Look at the oceans and the plastic waste which is polluting the tiniest creatures.
Deforestation is depriving living creatures of their homes and has adverse impacts on the bio sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
For my upcoming music, I want it to serve a purpose other than just standing as a music release. If I can do something to improve the environment then I always will, it is my priority as a human to take action where I can. I can let my audience know about my interests. Making an agenda and trying to convince others. Selecting my gigs more carefully and accepting promoters who favour my politics. Talk to others in the entertainment business and try to get them onboard. I am also trying to work with promoters who have a ‘green’ agenda when running their events.
This is our planet, we are damaging it not only for ourselves but for the animals, all living things, and the next generations on earth to come. There is no way around it. We have to act now.
Cucumber or Pickle?
What is your A&R process like for bbbbbb having signed the likes of EOD?
When me and my friend decided to create the label, it was only meant for my own productions. I started to get a lot of demos and music from my friends and friends of a friend of mine from Iceland and 90% of it was good. I decided to put the focus on Icelandic dance music and see where it will go. Then EOD came along, he’s from Norway but he’s cool.
90% of the music we receive on Soundcloud is good actually, so It’s really difficult but we are still figuring things out. A lot of music is on the way.
Do you feel that the landscape around you and scene in Iceland helped define your music?
I can’t say that it defined my music, but for sure it has made an impact on me as a person. I definitely would not be doing what I am doing if I had sunshine and beaches all year around.
What would you say to any young producers starting to make music right now?
What’s next for Bjarki & bbbbbb?
Overload of madness and plastic free parties.