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Interviews : “We are going to the other side of the world” – Aðalbjörn Tryggvason (Sólstafir)

By on August 28, 2018

Sólstafir- Aðalbjörn Tryggvason

Sólstafir vocalist and guitarist, Aðalbjörn ‘Addi’ Tryggvason visited Australia as a tourist in 1999, recalling fond memories of a country that might just be as far away as one can possibly travel from Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport.

For the first time in Australia, Sólstafir joins Norway’s Enslaved on a tremendous bill, performing for fans of folk-inspired blackened Viking metal this month. The two bands share a musical heritage extending to a feeling of mutual camaraderie.

“Yeah, (we) get along with (Enslaved) great. We’ve been meeting them on the road for years, and we were hanging with them at Wacken last weekend. We went to Brazil with them last year. They’re good friends of ours. Musically, we come from the same origin. They had an influence on us back in ’95 when we were starting the band and we saw this Norwegian band singing in Icelandic… so we said, ‘Oh well, I guess we can do that as well’.”

The Australian audience has certainly been keen in expressing enthusiasm for Sólstafir. The band’s first release, the brutal Í Norðri demo (’95), is a collection of six cuts that share little with the emotion-heavy, intensely mood driven albums in the band’s canon of work since the revered Köld (’09). Tryggvason recalls that fans from the antipodes were among the first to embrace the band, it is a point he is keen to impress.

“Ever since we started the band, I would be writing letters with Australians. And of course, the last years through Facebook and all that, we’ve had lots of interest in coming down under, or we’ve met Australians at festivals, been to Europe in the summers and finally (we are) going! We are going to the other side of the world, finally.”

Iceland is historically referred to as a land of fire and ice. A stunning vista of volcanoes and glaciers between the impossibly harsh terrain of Greenland and the many fjords of beautiful Norway. It may go without saying that a life spent in any landscape will contribute in some way to an artist’s collective work, however, Iceland is indeed a unique environment. Could Sólstafir have evolved in any location but Iceland?

“I think surroundings shape you greatly. More than you realise I guess. I’ve said this before, I don’t think The Beatles would sound like The Beatles if they would’ve come from Italy. Sólstafir (doesn’t) sound like a Japanese band or Russian band. It’s, it has, yeah it has great influence on you, where you’re from, your mentality, your parents’ mentality, your backstories, past, the DNA, and all that stuff. It has a great effect on you. And we come from a place, well an island, well you’re more like a continent, but the isolation has had a lot of…  influence.

…There were no metal clubs, no rap, country, hip-hop, rock and roll. It’s just one fucking music place that everybody played. And so, it’s been like that. We’ve been playing with indie bands, pop bands, hardcore bands, black metal bands, everything. (Iceland) is a very small place and there’s no space for musical boundaries really. It’s different today maybe, but when we were starting it certainly wasn’t.”

Catch Sólstafir on their Australian tour with Enslaved across Australia.


Tickets via DRW Entertainment.


Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith