Icelandic “atmopheric / dreamy ghost pop” band Bang Gang will perform first time in Istanbul, at Salon IKSV on 19th February. We made an interview with Bardi Johannsson and talked about his music career –that’s now more than 20 years-, new projects and upcoming Istanbul concert: (Röportajı Türkçe okumak için buraya tıklayın)
It's been almost 20 years since the Bang Gang is formed. I heard that you wanted to be a lawyer as a child, so how did you first decide to make music?
In fact I have never taken a real decision to only make music. At a certain time, around 23-24 years old, I was accepted in textile design at the art school in Iceland. Only 8 people made it each year, so then I had to choose dedicating my life to clothing design or continue to do music and have everything open for other projects. Since then I have worked at as a radio host, TV host and many other projects along with music.
We know that Iceland has an enormous affect on music scene..sigur ros, bjork, mum, gusgus, olafur arnalds are the first ones came to my mind. Is that beacuse water or weather of iceland ? :) How does it feel to make music there?
In Iceland we are only 200.000 people so there is not much else to do them music.
Your music is defined as "atmospheric and dreamy ghost pop" by many music writers. How can you define it?
- I think this is a very good description. I agree on that!
"The Wolves Are Whispering" came out 7 years later from the last album "Ghosts From The Past" How did you spend the time between two albums?
I made a “Best of Bang Gang” album, performed and released a concert with a symphony orchestra, wrote a few scores, wrote an opera, released film and theatre work of Bardi Johannsson and formed a new band Starwalker with JB Dunckel (Air, Darkel). Also produced a few artists and wrote for theatre, not much time to chill.
Can you tell us the writing process? What inspires you on that process?
When I write songs for Bang Gang, it is most of the time when I have some strong feelings that I want to project into a song. Kind of like a therapy process. I work myself out of feelings though the music. Most of the time I start with making the musical ambience and the essential melody with some key words. Sometimes I see images or a story in my head of combined experiences that I have had and put someone else in the situation.
You have also side projects like Lady & Bird and Starwalker. How did these projects come up?
Lady & Bird started around 15 years ago. It was not planned as a band in the beginning, just a collaboration between me and Keren Ann, then it evolved into a strong friendship and lots of musical project together under the name Lady & Bird. For Starwalker, I had met JB Dunckel briefly a few years ago, then a common friend told us that it could be a good idea to meet for coffee. That we did and started making music. Then little by little it evolved to a band. Now we have an EP out and our first LP is out on the 1st of April 2016!
You will perform at Salon with Bang Gang on 19th February. It's the first time in istanbul right? What kind of audience you expect?
Yes it is the first time in Istanbul and I cannot wait. I am not expecting anything, just hope people will have a good time and I can bring out some emotions.
Do you know anything about Turkey and Turkish music?
- To be honest I don’t know anything about it. But I am very curios and cannot wait to be there.
Which bands/musicians do you listen on these days?
I listen a lot to my old Granddaddy records and Lana Del Rey now. Sorry.
We know that you are also a producer, designer and film director. What is on your agenda for near future?
Writing music and doing something that people wouldn’t expect from me, have a few options, going to decide soon.
What was the most shocking thing that you heard in recent years?
That people get brain strokes without any specific reason, at any age sometimes without any notice.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear these words:
Love - Daughter
Hate - War
Peace - Yes
Music - More music
Colour - Black
Family - Yes
Marriage - Not yet, maybe in the future
Food - Tomato, Mozzarella & Parma Ham.
Movie - Wild at Heart - David Lynch
Book - Donald Duck
Thanks for your answers. Anything you want to add for your awaiting Turkish listeners?
I cannot wait to come and play. Been wanting to go to Turkey for a very long time!