THOSE who truly love their music…
like to go deeper and seek out artists who do things differently. Hildur talks about her home of Iceland and her latest track, Water (FAMILY_TIME Remix). I ask her whether there is more music; the artists who have inspired her – and, whether the talented songwriter is coming over to the U.K. to perform.
I was curious to learn about Hildur’s path into music and how her career has developed; what she does away from music; what she hopes to get out of the rest of this year; a new artist we need to keep our eyes open for – completing the interview with a rather good song choice...
Hi, Hildur. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey there! I'm super. I'm actually sitting on a plane back to Iceland. I just spent the last five days in Norway writing and recording new music - so life feels good right now.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Yeah, so. I'm Hildur. I’m a songwriter, singer and a producer from Iceland. I started out as a cellist doing Classical stuff, but singing and songwriting have always been a big part of me - and I am fascinated with Pop music in general and what makes a melody catchy, so, I started making pop a few years ago. I do Electronic-Pop with quirky vibes. I have a bit of an Icelandic accent, maybe; I don't know. But; my songs are, mostly, pure fun or sad.
Because; that's how life is.
Water (FAMILY_TIME Remix) is your latest track. What can you tell me about the song? How did that remix come about?
Yeah. So. I have a special connection to this song. It's one of my favorite songs (that I have written) so I thought it deserved a little special something. So, I teamed up with this cool Swedish producer, FAMILY_TIME, and got him to do his spin on it. It's a totally different vibe: more upbeat but it's like double the fun now. So, you can basically listen to either a happy version of this song or the melancholic original. No need to change your mood!
Is there going to be a video or promotional event for the song?
Yes. I'm releasing an acoustic, live version for Water that we filmed for this. It's a special and emotional performance and it's got a cello. Everyone loves cellos.
The original version if from the E.P., Heart to Heart. What was the reason for singling the song for treatment? Have you been pleased by the album’s reception?
I feel like it was like a hidden gem on the E.P. - as it was the last song and I thought it deserved something extra. People really react to that song when I perform it live. I've often had people shed tears and come tell me how this song touched them. That's the most powerful feedback a musician can get. It makes you humble to know your art can affect people in that way.
I'm very happy with the E.P. as a whole and the feedback has been great - so, that makes me even more eager to release new songs.
What have you got planned in terms of future material? Are you working on other stuff at the moment?
Yeah. The last few weeks have been all about new stuff. I'm still figuring out if there will be an E.P. or an L.P. or bunch of singles - but they are coming soon, no matter which form it will be.
Which musicians influenced you to take up music? Who are your childhood heroes?
My fellow Icelander, Björk, has to be the biggest one.
She is such a great role model as a powerful female force that is ‘everything’ in her own music and artistic direction. She was the musical hero in our country and I just remember being so intrigued by her songs. I think I was around eight when I heard Homogenic - and Jóga was a song that immediately grabbed me.
I remember being so struck with how many feelings music could have - and, then, I tried to create my own emotional dance to it. It involved a lot of rolling around on the floor. Must have been a sight!
You are an Icelandic artist. Is there a big music scene in Iceland right now?! What is the country like in terms of styles and promising artists?
I absolutely love the Icelandic music scene. It's unreal how much amazing music we've got coming out of our small country. Right now, Icelandic Hip-Hop is all the rage there and, though I do love it, I think we also have a lot of great artists in many different genres. People are not afraid to stand out. If you are an Icelandic person, you are used to standing out because we are so few and everywhere we go people are interested in our country and think we are ‘different’.
Also, to some extent, it's fairly easier to get heard in Iceland and get chances to play and share your music. I guess that gives more people the confidence to just try. So: do an hour of listening to Icelandic music on Spotify.
You will be surprised.
Can we see you tour soon? What gigs do you have coming up?
I haven't planned a tour yet as I'm pretty busy with writing these days, but next gig is in Tallinn Music Week in Estonia and then Secret Solstice Festival in Iceland.
Do you get to play in the U.K. at all? Are you a fan of the artists over here?
It's still on my bucket list! I have a huge crush on Brighton, so I want to play there!
Yeah. James Blake and London Grammar are two of my favorite artists. I do love strong Pop ladies like Dua Lipa and Anne-Marie and I'm also really into Stormzy and Years & Years. I do love some of the Pop prince songs from Ed Sheeran.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Release some of my new songs that I'm dying to share with the world. Music is already taking me to so many cool places and I hope there will be more of them in 2018. I hope for some good surprises. I love surprises.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I have a lot, but one thing that always sticks to me is when I met a couple (from Germany, I think) who told me they had decided to listen to my music when she was giving birth to their baby. That was a surreal compliment.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Be yourself, like – really yourself! Trust your gut feeling. It took me quite some time to figure out what kind of music I wanted to make, but I'm happy I waited with releasing stuff until I had found my sound and knew how to portray it. Then, have fun. This experience is too precious to spend on stressing and worrying…
IN THIS PHOTO: Lxandra/PHOTO CREDIT: Iiris Heikka/COVER ART: Fredrika Lindeberg
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Yeah. Powerhouse and cool-cat Lxandra from Finland. We met in Hamburg at a writing camp and I was amazed by her voice. She just released a bangin’ single called Dig Deep.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Depends on the days. I'm trying to have at least one ‘music-free’ day a week just to keep my head straight. I go to the swimming pools. Icelandic swimming pools are something else - and a long soak in the hot tub, sauna and cold bath just regenerates you.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Jon Hopkins' new song, Emerald Rush. Recommend blasting this. Feels heavenly