Turn on any new rock station. I will wait as you fiddle with the knob. Crank it. Don’t be shy…crank it up! Teach your neighbours what good music sounds like. You are bound to hear the sounds of the up-and-coming Icelandic band, “Of Monsters and Men.” Their song “Little Talks” is a growing sensation across the airwaves. Taking a break from festivals and tours, guitarist Brynjar Leifsson answered some questions for Orange Country Reverb.
OCR: Where did your band name come from? Was the name at all influenced by John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men?
BL: The name came from Raggi. One day when we needed a name to enter a music contest. We needed something really fast, and I think that was just sitting in the back of his mind somehow. Some of us have read “Of Mice and Men” and some haven’t so it doesn’t really have anything to do with the book.
OCR: As a child, what was the most revered fictitious monster you would check under your bed for? Canada is known for the folklore monsters like Ogopogo and Sasquatch. Are there any notable monstrous legends in Iceland?
BL: We have more stories about trolls and elves in Iceland. There’s one story about a farmer’s son who goes to find his cow, but a troll takes it. The cow is also magical. It’s kind of weird to explain in English, but believe me it’s a very popular story in Iceland!
OCR: Your massive fame in North America seemed to happen overnight. Is this fast sky-rocketing fame overwhelming? How do you stay humble under an International spotlight?
BL: Are we that famous? We haven’t had any fans chasing us yet, ours are much more chilled out. It’s been great, but we’re too busy playing shows and touring to really let it go to our heads.
OCR: What was your first reaction when you first heard your song on the radio?
BL: We were in Austin, TX when we walked into a taco place during SXSW and it was playing on the radio in the restaurant. We all looked around and were like “Wait! Is that us!?!”
OCR: You have described yourselves as an “amiable group of day dreamers.” Did you guys visualize the concept for the animated video for your smash hit Little Talks? Or did you hand over creative control to video masterteers WeWereMonkeys?
BL: We had an idea of what we wanted to do, and they brought it to life.
OCR: Who are some of your musical influences?
BL: Growing up it was probably the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Muse, but today it’s more like The Ravonettes, Radiohead, and A Place to Bury Strangers.
OCR: You guys rocked out Iceland’s Airwaves Festival with memorable performances. If you were to plan your own music festival, who would your dream line-up consist of?
BL: Interpol, Feist, The Ravonettes, The Kills, Bon Iver, Gayngs, Jay-Z, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, and Pink Floyd. It would be really expensive!
OCR: What advice do you have for up-and-coming Indie talent?
BL: Keep on practicing!
OCR: What’s next for Of Monsters and Men?
BL: More touring and one day another album
Go to http://ofmonstersandmen.is/index.html to check out their music and add them on ALL of your social networking sites!