Iceland. Population: 332 529. Average temperature during the year: 6 degree Celsius. Home of Bjork and one dead swan. Other fact about Iceland: It got some serious soul and it’s warming up the house music scene.
Some of Iceland’s best got better known on the techno scene, with the likes of Thor, Exos and more recently Bjarki. This artist, however, choose to whoop our derrieres on the dancefloor by pushing some of the best house music out there. Producer Davíð Sveinn Bjarnason, aka Felix Leifur, is delivering so much heat, he’s single handledly making nearby Greenland’s ice sheet melt. Ok, this one doesn’t come from Statistics Iceland.
Davíð had his first release in 2015, collaborating with Hjalti Karl Hafsteinsson (as Davíð & Hjalti) on the track “Freebase” signed on Iceland’s own Lagaffe Tales label. The two were at it again, releasing the RVK Moods EP in 2016. Still in 2016, David went on to work solo on some productions, using the moniker Felix Leifur (soundcloud), under which he released two monster EP’s with the hit releasing German label Dirt Crew Recordings. The first one, titled “The Sunday Club”, continues in the direction he had undertaken with Hjalti, with funky bass heavy grooves, a sound that has come to be a sort of signature for the Dirt Crew label. Signature sound doesn’t mean redundancy and predictability. Davíð’s ability to deliver smooth addictive looped 16’s is one of his main strengths, one that make us huge fans of his productions. Davíð’s 2nd EP, “In General”, showcases productions with crisper bass lines, more complexity in the sample use while providing a more jazzy feel to the whole EP. “Classy” is a bomb of a track. Dancefloor proper funky beat smoothed out by a distorted jazz sample. Davíð kindly accepted that we rob him of a few minutes.
Hey Davíð! Thanks for kindly accepting this little impromptu interview. Now, there are a few other Icelandic artists that are exploring the different shades of deep house, heavy with jazz, disco and hip hop influences ( Jònbjörn and Viktor Birgiss for example, who founded Lagaffe Tales). According to you, how did this kind of sound came to generate some hype and find a home in Iceland?
Thanks! It’s hard to say really, Jónbjörn and Viktor started Lagaffe tales in 2012-ish I think, and I guess it just kinda snowballed from there. I always loved what they were doing and it fit perfectly with what I was doing. I didn’t intentionally set out to make this type of music. I just wanted to make music that I love and could listen to.
We all live in Iceland except Magnús ( Moff & Tarkin ),it’s a very small scene so it was quite easy to get in touch and be noticed and stuff. But we had no idea that it would go so well.
As for you, how did it all start? Were you initially more interested in jazz and hip hop and eventually got attracted to house music? Or was it a simultaneous and organic process where you experimented with styles you like?
I started playing around with production in 2008-ish, and I didn’t really listen to house that much back then. I started to love it when I moved to Manchester in 2013 to study audio engineering, house was so big there that I couldn’t miss it. What drew me to house was the hip hop and jazz side of it (of course). I used to listen to hip hop and jazz from young age (as most people my age did) and when I discovered it in it’s house form, I just loved it. I Guess it just happened kind of naturally , I don’t really intend to make a specific type of house, my only requirement is that I have to impress myself, whatever comes out comes out. I’m also just lucky that people like it.
Can you drop a few artist names who influence your work?
Everybody that is any good really!
What are your favorite “weapons” (i.e. equipment) for your productions?
“It’s not what you have, its how you use it.” This quote is so good, can’t stress it enough. All I use is my mac, ableton with bunch of plugins, juno 106 for this n’ that, and dave smith mopho sometimes for bass and bleeps, and loads of records to sample. I love pushing myself with limited amounts of stuff, it helps with creativity and makes me try out stuff that I would never think of otherwise.
Why “Felix Leifur”?
Haha, well. Originally I was just going to stick with Davíð, but I got reminded by Peter at Dirt crew that no one can really write “Davíð” outside of Iceland, and “David” is not going to work either because if you search for David in any online store, you will get tons of search results of random guys and it would be a headache to find me. So I had to find something else, all I was certain of is that I wanted it to be a persons name, so me and my mate from Manchester brainstormed for a while and came up with Felix Leifur. It works well for me because Felix is an international name and Leifur is Icelandic, so it works both ways.
Craziest/Wildest gig you ever had?(Details please!)
I once got asked in mid live-set with Hjalti if I could play some hiphop……And few minutes after that, a girl came and asked if she could charge her phone by the decks, then my friend came and shut down the soundsystem somehow accidentally…….. So I guess the crazy/wild stories are yet to come…..
What’s next for Felix Leifur?
I have one track on a various artists Ep on Lagaffe tales that’s out in April that I’m really excited for. And I’m just working on some music for another Ep that will be out later this year, and also finishing this year at the university while I’m at it. Time will tell.
Lagaffe tales of course, they have some great stuff coming up in april! And of course Dirt Crew, BORG, Moff & Tarkin, Intr0beats and my man Tommy as well!
Thanks again Davíð for your time, truly appreciated.
Thank you ! Gaddem dream
- Grab your Felix Leifur on Dirt Crew Recordings : http://tinyurl.com/DIRT103-Shop
Interview by Jon