Interview with Amiina's Solrun Sumarlidadottir

Once upon a time there was a band of Icelandic of music makers who went by the name of Sigur Ros. They created and recorded ambient sounds that were almost incomparably majestic and mystical. Upon their many travels they attracted more and more admirers who began to mob together in order to hear Sigur Ros play their music. Along with their fellow assisting maestros, they entertained these crowds and still, to this very day, they are known to entertain. However, the aforementioned assisting maestros had dreams and aspirations of their very own and so, those very same dreams and aspirations gave birth to Amiina. Whilst their early career didn’t stir so much of a fuss, their latter day career did deservedly indeed gain them the reverence and respect of all ear sporting folk who witnessed first or second hand, the auspicious Amiina. Some even went on to speak with members of the new Amiina force, leaving behind a record of their existence, meaning and intention. And so presents to you such a document, an interview with Solrun Sumarlidadottir of Amiina.

AS: Who came up with the name and why has it subtly changed so much?

SS: Basically we go back to the late 1990s, at which time we were studying and mostly doing classical string quartet stuff. We did this concert in an old sports-hall that actually also used to be a church and a hospital in the past, and needed a name for our string quartet. We tried and tried to find a good name, but time went by and we couldn’t figure it out, so at some point one of us grabbed a Latin dictionary and we picked the word Anima (spirit / soul). Later we felt that name didn’t suit us anymore as we were doing different kind of work and moving away from the classical to more open forms of music making, but again we had trouble finding a name so we decided to just mirror the name, making it Amine. Then we found out that there are like a million women named Amine out there, among those musicians, so in order to avoid iTunes confusion we had to change again. Again the naming function-station in our brains didn’t work properly, so we decided to add a letter. And Amiina just seemed a lot nicer than Aamina or Ammine or Amine. Uhm, a very long and kind of boring story…

AS: What inspired the 2004 music and munchies road trip that got you gals on your way to today?

SS: Well, we had been talking about making our own music for ages and ages, but as we lived in several different countries at the time we didn’t get a chance to make it happen until late spring 2004. So, as soon as we got the opportunity, we jumped at it. And we love cooking together.

AS: Why the departure from Blaskjar records, your first label?

SS: A lot of it has to do with the fact that when you have a label with a bit of cash-flow, it makes touring a lot easier. Touring is really expensive, but it’s something we need to do and love, so we decided to go ahead and try.

AS: When you released Kurr (2007 LP), did it attract the kind of attention you expected it to?

SS: I don’t think we had a lot of preconceived ideas of how Kurr would be received. But we’re happy when people like it!

AS: Can you comment on your collaboration with Lee Hazlewood (released Dec 10th) on what would be his last recording?

SS: We’re just very honoured to have had the chance to collaborate with him. We’ve all listened to his music quite it bit in the past, so being able to do this with him was pretty amazing to us.

AS: Did/do you get tired of being in the massive Sigur Ros shadow?

SS: We’ve never looked at it that way. We collaborated with them for years before we started making our own stuff and it’s a project we care about a lot and we learned so much from it. A ‘shadow’ is just way too negative a word to use about our relationship with Sigur Rós.

AS: Where do you go when it all gets too much?

SS: Personally I swim. And go to my family’s place in the north-west of Iceland.

AS: What time is bedtime, more half 9 with a half read book or half 4 with fully red eyes?

SS: Somewhere right in-between.

AS: When you aim your peashooter/pellet gun/sniper rifle, you’re aiming at?

SS: My Christmas meal…

AS: Do you seemingly lovely gals always play nice or can it get nasty on the tour bus?

SS: We’re always nice to each other, except maybe when we play gin-rummy!

AS: What is it that makes the world go round?

SS: Love

AS: Was it a joint decision to go with Telepathic Workshop (TW) for your artwork?

SS: Well, there is a personal connection with the designer at TW, so in the beginning it just made sense to go to him, and then he’s just doing such a brilliant job that we’ve found it difficult to go anywhere else.

AS: Out of the 18 or so instruments you play between you, what’s your favourite?

SS: Personally, I think I would have to say Metallophone (after my cello, of course). It’s just got such an amazing sound coming out of it; it hits the body in such a nice way. It's always beautiful.

AS: Did the Screaming Masterpiece DVD you featured on open any avenues of opportunity?

SS: Possibly. It’s actually funny that one ‘cause it documents the very first gig we ever did on our own. We’re all so self-conscious about that period of Amiina that I think none of us have watched it…

AS: How much involvement have you had with the widely revered Johann Johannsson/Kitchen Motors?

SS: Not so much. We did one-gig collaboration a long time ago and had a track on the family album compilation. And we know them well those lovely people!

AS: What has 2008 got in store for Amiina?

SS: Lots! We’ll try and develop our show further, tour as much as we can and make a new album hopefully! And we have some exciting ‘special projects’ we want to do. Those are a secret though.

For full information on a fantastic band please visit: link

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