It’s 06:00 GMT. I finally set foot off of the IcelandAir flight that took me and seven fellow students five hours from NYC all the way to Keflavík International Airport. I take a deep breath, feel instantly healthier as the cool, pure air enters my lungs, but then start to cough uncontrollably as a lack of all my years of inactivity. From the moment we arrive in Reykjavík, we’re off to work. Seeing the sites, trying the food and drink (more to come on that later) and of course listening to as much music as our brains can handle after two hours of sleep. We all made our way to see our new friends at 90.3 FM KEXP Seattle, at Kex Hostel, which used to be a biscuit factory. The place is packed to the brim with sweaty, buzzed natives, as well as tourists, like us, here to see some of Iceland’s most promising musical talent. My luck would have it, we walked in at just the right time. The first artist of the day had just closed his set, and this new group begins to set their gear up for their performance at 15:00. At first, the name Mammút doesn’t mean much to me. I have no idea what to expect from this five piece that call Reykjavik their home.
With Katrína Mogensen on vocals and Synth, Ása Dýradóttir on bass, Alexandra Baldursdóttir on guitar, Arnar Pétursson on Guitar, and Andri Bjartur Jakobsson on percussion, this band has perfected a sound that some strive their entire careers to achieve. The perfect blend of melodic and heavy, Mammút does it all with sparkling delay, ambient reverb, clever bass lines and drums that would make Sigur Rós’ Orri Páll Dýrason fear their power.
The band played a variety of new songs for the packed, stale beer-soaked hostel. All with an intensity and passion that stirred emotions and locked your eyes to their presence and your ears to the beautiful sounds coming out of the speakers.
Mogensen has a very hypnotic way of drawing you into the music and not letting you go. The way she blends the synth and deep haunting reverb of her Icelandic vocals, is something of pure beauty. My first day of Airwaves was a stellar one. I got my ass rocked off by a band called Mammút in a small hostel in Reykjavík. What more could a music dork need? Only in Iceland will you hear a band so amazing and so true to themselves, as Mammút.
Take a listen and like them at facebook.com/mammutmusic