Diskoteket is back October 18th, this time with upcoming Icelandic DJ and producer Viktor Birgiss. Icelandic house music profiles are not often seen in Uppsala, so of course we were very curious to find out more about this mystery man. Catch him at Diskoteket this Saturday, 22.30-04.00!
Hello Viktor! Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Viktor Birgisson and I grew up in a couple of places as a kid but for the most part in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. I was born in October, 1988. I’m currently renting an apartment with my girlfriend in downtown Reykjavik and I’m about to finish my BA in Leisure Studies at the University of Iceland. I work at a local youth center with kids from the age of 10 to 16. I DJ at local bars with my good friend Jonbjorn. We also run a local digital label called Lagaffe Tales. We’ve released 12 EP’s so far, mostly with Icelandic artists. This summer we had our own radio show but when university started again in the fall we put it on hold.
Would you care to describe your musical roots and influences? How long have you been doing what you do?
Well there was really no musical backround at home besides my mom playing the guitar from time to time and my older sister playing Michael Jackson over and over again. My stepdad got hold of a music collection from a co-worker and I got the whole collection on my computer as a teenager. In the collection I heard music ranging from Metallica to Autechre and got to pretty much “taste” a whole lot of different musical genres. At the time I got a lot into Prodigy and a bit of breakbeat and drum and bass. I knew from an early age I that I didn‘t like cheesy pop music. I did like alot of different music though. I got to DJ for the first time at my school at the age of 14 and it turned out to be so much fun. After that I knew that this was something I wanted to pursue. Eventually I got comfortable enough to start mixing at home on my pc with Traktor 3, and when I started to go to bars I first got into the whole house music thing. I loved to just go and dance by myself. I started to listen to local electronic radio shows and started mixing more at home. I slowly but surely discovered all the different electronic genres ranging from dubstep to progressive house and finally found my shelf in the house department. I think it’s important to go through a lot of music and find your own genre, something that reflects yourself. My biggest influences at the time were probably the simplistic groove of Sebo K, Gel Abril, Shlomi Aber and more atmospheric producers like Jimpster and Milton Jackson. It‘s funny – the more you get into the music and production you tend to go back in time and just re-discover gems from the 90’s. Around 2008 I started to learn how to produce in Ableton Live and I purchased my first cdj’s and a mixer. It took a while to save up the money and to get good at all that. It took even longer to break into the scene and get to know the other DJ’s downtown. It was all about knowing the right people to get gigs. I got my first real house gig in 2010 if I remember correctly and since then it‘s been nothing but uphill, getting to play at Kaffibarinn, off-venue Airwaves, Sonar Reykjavik and Secret Solstice Festival. Not to mention getting to travel abroad just to play music.
During the years that we’ve been following you, you’ve turned more and more into a central figure in the Icelandic house scene. Could you tell me a little bit about the state of the Icelandic house scene?
The Icelandic house scene is wide but still small, in a sense. Everyone knows everyone and the communication between different type of groups like the Möller Records, BORG and local producers and DJ’s is great. There’s been some enlightenment about electronic music all around Reykjavik for the past two years resulting in two new yearly festivals (Sonar Reykjavik and Secret Solstice Festival). I thought it was just a bubble that would eventually burst but it’s shown to be consistent. The presence is maybe not as much as last year but the quality of DJ’s and producers out here is on a top notch level. The scene is divided into a couple of different groups that specialize in different types of music. Some might argue that it needs more cooperation instead of everyone doing their own thing in different corners. Sometimes there’s a lot of competition about crowds during the weekends.
I happen to know that you’re using both digital and analog equipment when you make your music, like your MBR drum machine or your 707. What’s your take on the whole digital versus analog battle that’s always being fought?
I’ve been down that road but what eventually matters is the music that comes out. I’ve been doing all my music on the computer for example and I understand why someone would want an all analog setup, but it takes a lot of money and time. For me it’s just about the fact that it does not really matter what you use, analog or digital. Once you get comfortable with what you have and you get a good workflow going, you will make good music.
You also speak a bit of Swedish. Could you explain why? What’s your whole relation to Sweden anyway?
Yeah as a kid I moved to a town outside of Stockholm called Vallentuna. I was around 10 years old and my stepdad got a good job in Stockholm. I lived in Vallentuna for two and a half years and it was at a time when you just absorb stuff, so I’ve never really forgotten the language. I speak fluent Swedish for the most part except from lack of practice I have a limited vocabulary but I understand it 100%. Growing up in Sweden was just so different and really great for a kid. The scenery is just so different from the Icelandic city life and the Icelandic tundra. And the snails when it rained man, it blew my mind the snails were so big in Sweden. But the potatismos was salty.
Is there any one track that you are sure that we will hear at Diskoteket – if so, which one?
Hehe, tough question. I’ll make sure I play something unreleased from both the new Swedish label Love Potion and Lagaffe Tales.
Listen to Viktor’s special guest mix for Diskoteket below!