Buggy beats, ambient electronics, melodramatic vocals, all summed up with classical and rock instrumentation - yup, that's the Icelandic experimental pop cast Múm. Kristin, Gyða, Örvar, and Gunnar came together in 1997, just a few years after their predecessors Sigur Rós rocked us with the ultimate Icelandic coolness. The crew is mastering the recipe of mixing inventive and orthodox electronica with some acoustic instruments, which makes their music peculiarly unique. Their latest album, Smilewound, should be put on a music repertoire by anybody who wants to capture some electro-pop chords, fierce vocals, and refreshing phrases. Wanna see what Örvar and I were going on about? You know the drill: read on!


Hi there, how is everybody doing? What is on your schedule right now?

I have just spent a couple of months staying at home with my 9 month old daughter and we have had a very good time, but I'm back in the studio on Monday, making music. Which is a great thing, can't wait! I'm bursting!

How did Múm start? Was your music from back then any different to what you're producing now?

Me and Gunnar had been playing together in an indie rock band for a few years (in 1997) and we knew that both of us had been making electronic music since we were kids, so we decided to pool our creative spirits and pick up some samplers and synths. I guess in some way we are still making the same kind of music we were back then, but our idea of music is so wide that it can take us in endless directions.

How long did it take from the point you started working together to the release of your first album "Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today Is OK"?

I'm not a 100% sure, but I would guess it's been between two and three years before "Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today Is OK" came out. But by then we had made quite a few releases, singles and collaborations. We collected a lot of that early music together on a compilation a couple of years ago called "Early Birds".

You were using very different sets of instruments for each of your albums. Was there any particular purpose for these different arrangements or were these changes more spontaneous in nature?

Our music revolves around exploration. We need to explore new things all the time, it's what keeps us interested and it sparks on much of the creation. So collecting and playing with different instruments, just like playing with different musicians, has quite an effect on what we do.

Kirstin and Gyða are classically trained musicians. Does this have any influence on the production and work of the band?

Most of the people we work with are very educated in music and others aren't, but it doesn't really matter. The most important thing is that we all share a similar mind set and an approach to music, at least when we are making music together. And of course everyone makes all kinds of music on their own or with other groups or people.

Is there anything particular that affected your approach to writing and recording the latest album "Smilewound"? What was the biggest inspiration behind it?

The only real conscious thing we did in terms of approach was to try and keep it simple, which is something we try and do all the time. On the other hand it is really hard to pick out what inspires each piece of music. I can at least say that I have been studying cinema for three years while making the album and that definitely rubbed off in a good way. Being immersed in classic films every day is like taking a bath in inspiration.

Do you think you've entered another era of creativity with "Smilewound"? What are from your point of view the main differences between the newest album and the previous one?

As I said before it's probably simpler, in some ways very laid back, but still keeps the exploring nature of our previous records. To tell the truth I very rarely listen back to our records, so I'm not a great person to talk about that.

Kylie Minogue is appearing on the bonus track "Whistle" with her strong, lucid vocal line. It received tons of favourable reviews from music critics - how do you feel about it? What was the trigger for this collaboration?

I think it was a great collaboration and she did it in a way that really fits with our approach, her vocals are great and they are really laid back. The collaboration came about while we were scoring a film she was acting in and so it happened in a very natural way.

You have been touring like crazy ever since you started working together as a band. Do you maybe know how many concerts have you done over the last 12 years?

Wow I am not sure I can count that ... Probably a few hundred I guess and I guess they will be close to a thousand before we know it, because we will probably be doing this for 17 more years. I really wish we had kept count, that's a great question you ask there, because I haven't really thought of it before. But of course all of those shows have been a unique experience, the band has gone through so much different music and different people.

Apart from Björk, Sigur Rós and The Sugarcubes, can you name any other Icelandic musicians that we should definitely check out?

FM Belfast, Prins Póló, Samaris, Nolo, Retro Stefson, Mammút, Borkó, Rúnk, Nolo, Skakkamanage, Sin Fang, Vök, Highlands, DJ Flugvél & Geimskip, Grísalappalísa, Ólöf Arnalds, Berndsen, Hjaltalín and Hildur Guðnadóttir ... Just to name a few :)!

Thanks so much for your time and answers, I appreciate it!

My Slovenian readers can listen to Múm on 2nd of April at Kino Šiška, where they'll show us what Smilewound is really all about. I have a feeling it's gonna be amazicool!



  1. This was a great read. Thank you for this!!!

  2. Never heard of them before, but I'd love to hear their collaboration with Kylie Minogue :)

  3. I want to hear that collaboration too!!!

      Here is it, yo :)!


  4. cool read.. thanks for sharing. love the concert photographs

  5. very nice!!!!!

  6. You always find the most interesting people to interview! Such a fun read :)