The student Iceland Airwaves music festival radio doc debuts tonight, Tuesday, January 29, at 7 p.m. Tune into WCRX 88.1 FM in Chicago or live worldwide via stream. It will also rebroadcast this Saturday, February 2nd, 2013, at 11am.
Listen to music and chats with FM Belfast, Árstidír, Myrra Rós, Intro Beats, Endless Dark, and Apparat Organ Quartet, as well as stories on Icelandic culture: from the music biz, to politics and even tattooing. Big thanks to Iceland Airwaves, IcelandAir, Reykjavík Excursions, Reykjavík Grapevine, KEXP, and everyone who took the time to participate in the doc.
Here’s a blog post Topher Svymbersky wrote about a month after the fest that reflects on some of his experiences, which included the opportunity to be published in Reykjavík Grapevine, who ran his interview with Low Roar:
It’s officially been a month since 10 students led by Althea Legaspi took a trip through Reykjavík, Iceland, to cover the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival 2012 and to experience the unique culture that the nightlife of the north had to offer. It’s easy to be caught up in the entire trip right after jumping off the plane home, but what seems to have more impact is what resonates with us after the travel rush has subsided. What were the most interesting highlights? What songs are still stuck in our heads? More importantly, what did we take from the whole trip and how will we apply it to our lives?
Certainly one of the first things that stood out to all of us was how friendly everyone was at the festival. All 10 of us managed to make friends with people from Iceland, Canada, the U.K. and plenty of other parts of the world. This is what made the atmosphere so inviting. Walking into one of the venues at Airwaves with the intention of covering a performance would turn into a long in depth conversation with a new friend.
The makeup of our group allowed for there to be even more diversity as well, whether it was an interest in drinking culture, fashion, food, dating culture and even tattoos, every student brought a different angle to the table, which made the experience that much more enlightening. While we were all there for the reason of covering an amazing music festival, we were still rushing to tell each other about our own different experiences we had.
The most unique experience within exploring the drinking culture I found, aside from what’s to be revealed in our radio documentary, was the notion of “Malt Extract,” or what I’ve come to call Icelandic near beer. During the prohibition era in the United States, there was beer brewed at a very, very low alcohol percentage called near beer. Being that the prohibition of alcohol in Iceland lasted even longer (until 1989), their alternative was malt extract: A super sweet malt beverage that basically tasted like a thin beer milk shake; just picture beer without alcohol or hops. Being that hops can’t grow in Iceland’s climate, the Icelanders would use the resources they had to make the closest thing to beer that they could and they still produce it today.
And while it’s a month later, we all still have specific musical moments that resonate with us more so than any other performance we saw. For me, it’s the U.K. crooner Kwes. Seeing him play at The Reykjavík Art Museum was a great beginning to our last night in Reykjavík. The way his song “Igoyh” managed to seamlessly score the dancing green and blue lights through the halls of art was vivid and unforgettable.
Keep in mind though; all of these amazing moments were amidst the motivation of work to be done. It was only on the plane home that I really realized how incredible the experience was that we just had. It all came down like a ton of bricks with Icelandic act Sigur Rós flowing through my headphones.
What better way could 10 students ask for to begin their lives as audio professionals, music journalists, radio industry gurus and music business workaholics? If there’s anything to be taken away from our experience, it’s that we were students among professionals doing what we loved and have always dreamed of doing. For us, Iceland Airwaves 2012 is the beginning of an amazing adventure known as a career. I think I can speak for all of my classmates when I say, I couldn’t even imagine a better beginning.