When 'Airy Met Fairy
MY curiosity for international music of the highest quality…
takes me to the shores of When 'Airy Met Fairy. The duo tells me about their new single, Until Your Season Dries, and what its story is. I ask how they got together and whether there are any gigs coming up in the U.K. this year; what the music scene is like in Iceland (where they are based now); what we can expect from their album, Glow (out on 22nd June) – they choose highlights from the record.
I ask Mike and Thorunn if they have prizes memories from music; what advice they would give to new artists of the moment; if there is a new musician we should watch out for; how they unwind away from music – the duo select a track each to end the interview.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Mike: We’ve had a terrible week. Our computer is driving us nuts! We’re currently working on a new live set - and this week our MacBook is on strike.
Thorunn: We thought the digital world was meant to make life easier?!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are When 'Airy Met Fairy. We make music for music lovers.
Mike: We write melancholic Pop for the longing.
What is the story behind the new single, Until Your Season Dries? How did the song come to mind?
Thorunn: Until Your Season Dries is an attempt to turn the end of a relationship into a poetic death. It’s a song about the beauty and the calm after the storm. Two warships sink; one saves himself in a lifeboat to shore, while the other starts looking for dropped off treasures beneath the ocean concrete…
Mike: …Either way, you’ll be fine.
Glow, your debut album, is out on 22nd June. What sort of themes and stories go into the songs?
Thorunn: On this album, we’re trying to catch emotions like apples in a tree. We poured our hearts out while writing these songs and then, in the studio, we stripped it all down to almost nothing.
Mike: The overproduced music environment made us feel like we had to...
PHOTO CREDIT: Tania Feller
Is there a track from the album you both would select as highlights?
Thorunn: I personally love Penniless; Mike’s favourite is Girl. Two completely different songs, but I guess that’s cause I’m female.
Mike: We do keep Sanctify You as the last song when we perform live. So, if we had to agree on a common song, Sanctify You would definitely be our choice. We’ve played it hundreds of times and still like it.
How did When 'Airy Met Fairy get together? What was it that attracted you to one another?
We met at a festival. I was there with another band. I asked myself: ‘Who is that girl who is playing after us?’ When I heard her sing I thought to myself: ‘Wow, that has got to be the most beautiful voice I have ever heard’.
Thorunn: When 'Airy Met Fairy took such a long time to start off because we’ve had so many band members… and now we’ve ended up here, just the two of us…now more electronic than ever, hence the MacBook problems...
You are a Nordic duo. How does the music scene where you are differ to that of, say, the U.K. or U.S.?
Most connoisseurs can hear that I’m Icelandic. What most don’t know is that I live in Luxembourg. I miss my home country so much that I feel I have to sing to my people in order to fill that geographic gap in between us; a bit like whales do underwater.
Mike: She’s a killer whale for sure! But, music is not a country to me: it’s a universal form of expressing yourself. Nothing more or less.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
We’ve just come back from Portugal and we’re planning a ‘behind the session’ gig at Rockhal in Luxembourg. After that, we’ll be playing at The Finsbury in London.
Thorunn: We’re super-excited about that as we had such a great experience at The Great Escape two years ago. A wonderful audience that can only be matched by the Japanese.
Will you come and see us in the U.K.?
Mike: Yes! At The Finsbury, 7th June. Come see us!
Thorunn: We’re Great Britain lovers. I always dreamed of buying a cottage in the North of England, getting some sheep and selling wool. English people are the friendliest, most polite and helpful in Europe. They’re the only ones apologizing when you bump into them.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Mike: Tour the U.K., perform on KEXP in Seattle; sell millions of records, business as usual.
Thorunn: …I’m in!
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music - the one that sticks in the mind?
The first time I performed, I covered an old Elton John song at a cinema in Reykjavik. I was so nervous-bad but the crowd cheered and gave me a standing ovation. It was out of pity but, in a weird way, I felt warmth and respect.
Mike: The first time I played at a birthday in a pizzeria. We performed in the bowling area, Big Lebowski-style. It was amazing. We ended up not getting paid: the bill at the bar was bigger than the fee we got.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Thorunn: Radiohead! Huge Thom Yorke fan.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Mike: Never give up. It’s not over till it’s over…
Thorunn: …The wisdom of Lenny Kravitz.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Mike: My head is blank…
Thorunn: GOSTO from Amsterdam! Such a talented guy.
IN THIS PHOTO: GOSTO
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Mike: We play tennis and ride our bicycles.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Mike: My Lady's on Fire by Ty Segall. Thank you!
Thorunn: Please play Heart It Races by Architecture in Helsinki
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