With their unique amalgamation of Folk and Americana Blues capturing the imagination of both the public and the press, we took the time to pin down the Icelandic powerhouse known as Kaleo for a chat, and asked them about their European Tour, their outlandish videos, and just what makes their music tick.
With the Icelandic football team getting into Euro 2016, and now your music making ripples abroad, how does it feel to be the second most talked about thing from Iceland?
“Haha it is an honour. It was a dream come true watching our nation’s team play on the Euro tournament this summer and they made us all very proud.”
Despite your origins, there’s a distinctly old-school blues and americana feel to your music, what drew you to that style?
“I think it might be because growing up I listened to a lot of roots and blues music from the US and I am certainly inspired by it in many ways.”
Do you often find people are surprised by the band’s capability to play both delicate folk and furiously energetic blues?
“I think it does come as a surprise to some people that maybe have only heard a song or two and then come out to a show. However most people enjoy the diversity, such as myself.”
I gather you’re operating out of Texas at the moment, is the rich musical heritage of America enriching your music?
“I don’t think it has changed my songwriting but it is a great place to perform and record music.”
Your cover of Vor í vaglaskógi was your first breakthrough performance, given that it’s a traditional Icelandic ballad, can you tell us a little bit about the meaning behind the song? What inspired you to cover it?
“It is originally an old love poem. I always loved the song and made my own version of it that is much slower and darker than the original. Luckily enough people really responded to it and it helped us getting recognition back home early on.”
What do you feel is the greatest strength within your music, and how does that strength appeal to your fans?
“I think the diversity and the dynamics are a big factor and the fans seem to respond to that.”
I have to ask about the video for ‘Way Down We Go’ in the volcano, who’s idea was that, was it an attempt to create a metaphor?
“We thought it would be an interesting idea and said why not? It was more of a challange than we predicted, getting all of the gear down there and up again. I think we spent 26 hours doing that but in the end it was worth it. It was beautiful down there and the acoustics were incredible.”
So you’re on tour at the moment, where in the world are you most excited to play of all the dates?
“We love touring in the US and now we will be going to Europe for the first time which is very exciting. Some of the places we are touring – like Paris – will be my first visit personally as well.”
Finally, can you sum up in a few words why people should check you out and what they can expect from the tour?
“Hopefully people relate to the music and it makes them feel something. The live show really shows the different sides of the band and the dynamics so it’s worth going in my opinion.”
Kaleo’s debut album A/B is out now. The band will be touring the UK throughout November.