The Ice(land) man cometh
Did you know there was more to Iceland’s music scene than Björk?
If you answered no to that question, Sindri Mar Sigfusson forgives you.
“I sort of understand that no one really thinks about what’s going on (in Iceland),” the singer admits. “But at the same time, there’s a lot of great things happening here that is worth listening to and exploring.”
As he talks about his homeland, one can hear the slight sting of homesickness in his voice. Sigfusson is embarking on his first tour of North America in support of his new solo album, Clangour, under the name Sin Fang Bous. The name, according to his press material, is “a shortened version of the singer’s name, his teeth, and his conception of how his new music sounds,” which begs the question: what does “bous” mean, and how does this describe his music?
“The last part is pronounced ‘booze,’ like wine,” says Sigfusson, with a slight chuckle. “It doesn’t really mean anything, I just needed another word to finish the name. But I guess you could say that this music is a little woozy, a little strange and tipsy, especially compared to what I normally play.”
As for the inclusion of “fang” in his stage name, the singer remains equally aloof, almost bashful about a moniker that is seeming more and more like something thought up in a (slightly, at least) inebriated state.
“This music has a little more edge to it, and yes, a little more teeth I suppose you could say,” he says. “I wanted to push myself and see what I could do in a different vein.”
While his day job consists of fronting the pop-folk outfit Seabear, Sigfusson says his solo work is an entirely different entity.
“It is more experimental than what I do with Seabear,” he says. “I’m always doing stuff on my own, and I started going into the studio in the mornings to try things out, and it was immediately different from what I normally do with the band. I wasn’t thinking of making a solo record, but I was happy enough with the songs that I decided they should be released. I’m more happy with this than Seabears; it’s more like music I listen to.
“I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy being in a band,” continues Sigfusson. “But sometimes it’s just fun to be alone and try things out by yourself.”
Indeed, Clangour nearly defies categorization. A mix of melancholy folk jangles and wry sing-alongs, the album recalls the more contemplative moments of Kid A-era Radiohead, while carving out a path all its own in the indie-folk landscape.
The record has already received kudos from such established critics circles as Pitchfork, and excitement is building up for his arrival on our shores. Sigfusson is undoubtedly more excited about his visit and the experiences he’ll have here.
“I think the people in Canada and the U.S. are more open than people in Iceland,” he says enthusiastically. “So I can’t wait to meet those people, and see the landscapes, and just go exploring. It will be good to see how it feels to play here, but mainly I just want to walk around, make friends, see the sights, hear sounds, smell things…it could lead to some good inspiration, maybe.
“Especially when you’re travelling on a bus for hours and watching things pass by the window, you get inspired by that, absolutely you do.”
Calgarians can look forward to Sin Fang Bous’ performance at the Marquee Room on Sunday, Nov. 1 with fellow Icelanders Múm, whose similar folk leanings should result in an eclectic yet mellow night out. Sigfusson hopes people will visit him at the merch table after the show, where he will be selling copies of Clangour and other goodies.
“Please, come and talk to me, we’ll have a beer,” he laughs. “I’m actually a little drunk now, so you know I’ll be fun to drink with!”