NME.COM REPORTS / ICELAND – Having a breakout period in 2020 as an emerging artist is tricky, but not impossible. With housebound audiences, minimal live shows and shift in the way music are consumed and promoted, right now a song has to be really great to get on people’s radar.
Daði Freyr’s ‘Think About Things’ is one of them. A funk-laden electro-pop banger by way of Breakbot and Hot Chip, the song was originally set to be Freyr’s and Iceland’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest back in May. Cancellation of the event meant there was no big performance from Freyr in Rotterdam, but the song still travelled. It’s since been streamed over 75 million times, spawned TikTok crazes and been lauded as the defacto winner by Eurovision fans. It’s proof that a brilliant song remains pretty much unstoppable.
Freyr’s rise to fame has been a recent one, but he’s keen to make sure he’s no one-hit-wonder. Freyr is planning a worldwide tour for next year and has been selected to compete again at next year’s Eurovision Song Contest for Iceland. He’s also preparing to perform at Iceland Airwaves’ upcoming live-streamed ‘Live From Reykjavík’ festival, taking place this weekend (November 13-14). He’ll be joining artists like Of Monsters and Men, Ólafur Arnalds, Ásgeir, Hatari, Júníus Meyvant and more in what’s billed as “one of the biggest ever celebrations of Icelandic talent”. Get full details on how to tune in here.
In preparation for his performance, Freyr took NME.COM through the impact of Iceland Airwaves on the local scene, recruiting Hot Chip for a banging remix and what comes next.
ABOUT THE ICELAND AIRWAVES
“Iceland Airwaves is my favourite music festival. If people tell me that they want to go to Iceland, I tell them to either go in the summer when it’s super nice or go for Iceland Airwaves. It always feels like a celebration for Icelandic musicians. You meet everybody because they’re all playing and it’s an amazing place to network and meet people and socialise. If you hear about a new Icelandic band or artist, you’re probably going to get a chance to see them play at Iceland Airwaves. Everyone goes through Iceland Airwaves. I don’t know of any band that’s gone to become successful without them also. I first went in 2008 as a spectator and in 2012 was the first chance I got to play with my band. It was the first time I felt like we were a part of the community and in the scene, and not just on the outside looking in.”
THE PANDEMIC IMPACT
“It’s tough everywhere. There are so many artists that rely on the income from live music who are having a really tough time right now. I was super lucky with ‘Think About Things’ because I would be kind of fucked if that wouldn’t have gone through. In general, I think that Reykjavik has lost a lot of venues that made the scene what it was. There were so many tourists, so every venue had to be replaced by a hotel. We now have about three decent venues where everyone can get a chance to play, and then we just have big concert halls that you have to have a huge following to be able to play. There’s such a rich history and music community in Iceland – there’s a different sound coming from Iceland and a huge variety of interesting artists. I wish that there was more focus on that when Iceland is being promoted and to get people interested and involved with the scene, not just ‘look at this amazing waterfall’.”
ABOUT EUROVISION PREP
“Right now, I’m trying to get the Eurovision track done. I’m making around 11 rough demos and ideas, then I’ll pick one and focus on that. I want to release an EP somewhere around Eurovision, but I’m not going to promise anything because I have to go on tour and do a bunch of stuff for Eurovision. Competing in Eurovision is so much more than just writing the song and doing the performance […] It’s weird to think at this point how big a part Eurovision has played in my life because that very much wasn’t where I was going. In 2017 I wrote a song and sent it to the Icelandic committee but with no real intention to sing it. I was on the demo and didn’t really want to sing it, but they said I should stick with it and then it kind of went from there. After 2017, that was the moment where music became my first job. It went way further than I ever thought. In the past few years, people are starting to see Eurovision as a different thing. To me, it’s the biggest platform in Europe to promote a song. You have three minutes, a song, a whole production team around you to make a condensed thing, I just see it as an opportunity to make a really cool performance which I would never have done if it wasn’t for Eurovision.”