I believe that acoustic music is one of the most powerful forms of expression, it carries the depth and emotion of its writer at its heart, pulling its listener into their world and submerging them in a beautiful kind of honesty. This is a power that Icelandic-born Axel Flóvent wields, with striking intensity, the subtle caress of his warm, hypnotic vocals are backed by gentle building acoustica. It’s as magnificent to listen to, as the landscape in which he dwells.
We caught up with the singer/songwriter after his recent trip to the UK to talk about his new EP ‘Forest Fires’, playing to UK crowds and songwriting.
You were recently in the UK, playing some shows. How was the experience?
It has been really nice! We have met some wonderful people on our journey.
Are the crowds considerably different to your home town crowds?
Yes, way different. I don’t know why, but people at home seem to be more interested in the performance rather then the music itself so it’s pretty nice playing for people that connect with your music, which is something I have not experienced often at home.
For live shows, you have a band on-stage with you, how long did the process take to get the band together? What were the criteria when it came to actually choosing the musicians who would form your band?
I’ve been slowly building my band throughout this summer, I’ve been playing with my backing vocalist for a year now and she also plays the violin with me when it’s only two of us. When I moved to Reykjavik last May, my uncle started playing guitar with us and in late May this summer, we were playing at a festival where my drummer was working as a sound engineer. He told me that he played drums, so I asked him if he was keen to play one song with us at the festival, which he did and then he duly became a part of the band! It has been a hard mission to find a proper bass player for this project, so everybody in the band has played the bass at some point but just before our September tour, my uncle started his semester in school, so he had to quit the band at short notice so I had to call my friend who handled the situation perfectly, learned all the songs and rehearsed them with us in those two weeks before the tour, and he is my current guitar player. So I can safely say that I have a strong team with me that I am so grateful for.
You were born and raised in Iceland, a place of serene beauty and majestic landscapes. Have the surroundings and atmosphere fed into your music in any way?
Yes, surely in many ways. I think about nature a lot and it has helped me a lot with writing my lyrics. so it has definitely fed into my music a lot.
Your debut EP ‘Forest Fires’ was released earlier this year, it has since received many plaudits from influential music websites such as Clash and The Line of Best Fit. How does it feel to receive such praise?
Feels really great!
Can you tell us more about each of the tracks on ‘Forest Fires’?
I really don’t want to say too much, I want the listener to have their own experience when listening to my songs, but what I can say is that the influences behind the Forest Fires EP vary due to the songs being written in different time periods. All of the songs are written over the span of about two years and are all tied to people I have met over the last few years.
Of all the songs on ‘Forest Fires’, which lyric resonates with you the most at this time?
None of them do actually, they are all kinda songs that only resonated with me in the time period that I wrote them in.
How do you approach writing music? Do you regiment periods of time away for it or do you just write when an idea comes?
I mostly follow the crave, most of my songs have come with a natural crave for picking up my guitar, often when I’m listening to something that gives me ideas for my music so it’s a mixture of many things.
What do you enjoy most about the songwriting process?
When I can write something that feels right to me and it doesn’t sound too much like something I have done too many times before, so basically when I feel some kind of evolution in my writing habits.
For many writers, songwriting is a way to express themselves. Their thoughts, feelings, beliefs. What is it for you?
I can only write about something that matters to me so I guess my way is also pure expression of what I’m thinking, feeling and what I believe.
What are your top tips for aspiring musicians and singer/songwriters?
Do whatever feels right to you and not just what sounds right.
What’s next for Axel Flóvent?
We’re playing a few shows at Iceland airwaves in November and then Eurosonic Noorderslag in January so we’re working on a little European tour around Eurosonic in January!
Axel’s ‘Forest Fires’ EP is out now. Buy it on iTunes.