Death metal stars Angist have never been busier - having just signed a record deal with US label Abyss, they are currently working on their first full-length album, and are heading over to the UK to appear in a star-studded line-up at Camden's Desertfest in April. We managed to grab some time with them to find out more...
Hello Angist! Please introduce yourselves to the IMX-reading public.
We are a four-piece death metal band from Reykjavík. We started out in 2009 and have been very busy since then. We have released a demo, EP and we are currently working on our first full-length which will be released this year. We signed a record deal last fall with the U.S. based Abyss Records and it will be released through them. The band consists of Gyða Hrund, guitars, Edda Tegeder, guitars and vocals, her brother Haraldur Ingi masters the bass and Tumi Snær keeps us on track with his drum skills.
We're excited - as is everybody else - about your new LP. Tell us about how the songwriting process has been going for that?
We are excited too! It’s going well. We’ve taken a break from playing shows (except from few selected shows) so we can concentrate on writing the album. We have few songs written already and few more to go. We have progressed a lot in our song writing, we have a clearer sense of direction where we are going with our songs. Fredrik Rheindal, who recorded Sólstafir’s Svartir Sandar will be recording our album and we are really looking forward to that process.
You were recently featured in the Telegraph in a feature about female heavy metal artists - go Angist! What did you think about that, and what are your thoughts also on the general onus on 'female' metal artists?
Yeah, we were pretty stoked about that, especially since we didn’t know about it until it came out! Metal shouldn’t be about gender, it’s an open party for everyone so the more the merrier! Gyða and Edda are the only girls playing in the metal scene in Iceland and there haven’t been many but we hope to inspire one or two. But there are a lot of girls that go to gigs in Iceland, support the bands, take amazing photographs and are just big fans in general so that’s also important. Any involvement is great, whether it’s playing or any other participation.
What first attracted you to metal?
Edda and Gyða both share the story of having parents listening to classic and progressive rock. So from an early age it was natural for them to listening to harder styles of music. That interest later developed into wanting to hear something more extreme and aggressive so it evolved into loving metal from an early age. Haraldur was fortunate enough to have a cool sister like that (hehe) so he got into metal with Edda and Tumi being younger than the rest had the Internet as a resource of harder music.
But we see so much beauty in this music: the leads, harmonizing, outlet of playing it and most importantly the sincerity of this kind of music. This music takes on the whole emotional scale, from anger, ugliness, anguish to being a salvation in tough times.
What are some of the preconceptions of heavy metal, do you think?
Well we find Icelandic people in general to be very open minded about metal music but of course there’s the cliché of devil worshipping drug abuser. But I think over the years, bands and their members have become more visible and people see that we are just normal people making music.
Who are some of your favourite Nordic metal bands? And why do you think the Nordic territories do metal so damn well?!
The list is endless! Norway has the great black metal scene with amazing bands like Satyricon, Emperor, Taake, Zyklon, Ved Buens Ende and more. Then Sweden has great death metal bands like Bloodbath, In Flames, Opeth, At the Gates, Dissection, Spawn of Possession and the list goes on! And Iceland has of course great bands as well, Sólstafir, Skálmöld, Svarti Dauði, Beneath, Blood Feud, Atrum and more. I think it’s all the darkness and maybe the landscape inspires us too. Maybe also that we are remote and some places are a bit isolated so there’s nothing better to do than make music. It’s an outlet.
You're heading to London in April for Desertfest - tell us about that!
Yeah we are really excited to play at Desertfest. It sells out every year and we’ve gotten a lot of attention in the UK since our announcement there. We, for example, had a pretty big interview with Iron Fist magazine which is a great honour so we are expecting a great show.
There are many cool bands playing there like Unida, Ufo-Mammut, Bong Ripper, Dozer and the almighty Pentagram. It’s a great opportunity for a band like us to be able to attend festivals like this with a lot of media coverage and big sponsors (Metal Hammer magazine, Orange Amps, Classic Rock Magazine) so we are very thankful for them giving us a chance.
The Loftbrú grant is also important for us to be able to attend these events that we get offered so we are lucky to have them. This year we have also been selected to do the Ferðin til Heljar tour, which is a collaboration project between the metal scene in Iceland and Faeroe Islands. This tour started in 2011 when Bibbi from Skálmöld joined forces with Hamferð (FO) and the main goal is to create a link between the two islands and introduce great music to each country. Momentum (IS) and Synarchy (FO) went last year and this year it’s Angist and Earth Divide from Faeroe Islands.
There will be gigs in each country but the obvious highlights are Eistnaflug festival here in Iceland and G!Festival in Faroe Islands. Playing G!Fest will be awesome!
What are you most looking forward to doing when you come to London?
Of course playing the show and meeting all the incredible people who helped us getting there! We love playing for a new crowd, we went on a tour in France fall 2011 and we’ve been dying to get back on the road.
Any last words before we conclude?
As always we just want to thank all our fans that are supporting us and we are very grateful for the opportunities we are getting. We hope to see some friendly faces either here in Iceland, at Desertfest or G! Festival!
If people are interested in checking us out then please check our facebook and our Bandcamp site to listen to our EP, Circle of Suffering, and there it’s also available for sale. Thank you!