After cementing herself with a broad and immersive array of gems these last few months, Icelandic artist Inki returns once again to deliver her dynamic new single 'This One For Me'.
Capturing more of that bold and inventive approach to the alt-pop aesthetic she is known for, 'This One For Me' makes for a wonderfully vivid listen. With her warm and spellbinding voice layered across a kinetic and progressive production from start to finish, she is returning to the fold with one of her most distinctive offerings to date here.
So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with her to find out more about her background and what has been inspiring her most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
My musical education began with the violin at age 5, which I studied for 10 years. But before that, the accordion had captivated my heart. When I was growing up my cousin Einar lived with my family. He is a gifted accordionist, so as a toddler, I would be pressing the buttons on the instrument as he played.
I am using the organ for my latest single, This One For Me, which has also been a favourite for a long time. Just like the accordion you can hear both instruments breathe when the air flows through them. I love that sound. That’s why, when recording This One For Me, I placed a microphone inside the organ, emphasising those sounds.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
My music taste has always been all over the place. I grew up hearing old jazz standards, classical music, and some old-fashioned Icelandic tracks. I have always enjoyed singing, so on family road trips, I would “entertain” my family by singing in the car. I can’t learn lyrics so I would just circle a couple of songs repeatedly. That would drive my sister crazy.
I have always been drawn to vocalists that have character and soul, I think that matters more than being a technical genius, people performing with all their heart. Nina Simon, Cesária Evora, and Corey Taylor are all examples of that. Then I saw Miriam Makeba perform when I was younger, seeing her on stage performing Pata Pata is to this day the most memorable performance that I have ever seen.
What was the first album you remember owning?
To be honest, I think the first album that I bought was Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park. Other CDs that I can remember living in my CD holster were Homogenic (Björk), Nirvana (Nirvana), Music (Madonna), Showbiz (Muse), some by both Scott and Janis Joplin, obviously … Baby One More Time (Britney), and then one I would fall asleep to, The Brandenburg Concert, on a green CD that looked like a four leaf clover and was a Christmas gift from one of the banks in Iceland.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
Love Me Or Leave Me by Nina Simon. It is such a good song. It is also a break-up song, just like This One For You.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
I usually find a concept and then try to translate that concept into music. I used to never be able to speak to anyone about what I was working on, but I have found that it helps me if I talk about it. So now I brainstorm those ideas with friends and family, and their ideas have an impact. I like to think of it like my idea is in 2D and then after their input, it has turned the idea into this 3D thing that you can explore from many different sides.
Then in songwriting, I think it is important to translate that idea into feelings, and then those feelings into sounds. The whole process is vulnerable and hard, but that is also why I love it. When you finally manage to puzzle the piece together and hear it become something that you can be proud of, that is a feeling like no other.
Who are your favorite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
Nicolas Jaar released a great album during covid times called Cenizas. Like me, he mixes sound art with popular music, so I enjoy his stuff. Sevdaliza, PALMR, and Labrinth have great music production skills. Jamie Woon & Emiliana Torrini for a cozy Sunday vibe.
Then I have been wanting to do an Avant-Pop cover of an old classic, so lately I have been going The Smiths catalogue searching for diamonds.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Thom Yorke or James Blake, I think they are brilliant, and I think they were curious and open-minded music fans, so a good crowd to play music for.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
Music is something that you can’t see but if it is done well, it can move you in a way that nothing else can. Up to a certain degree, you can teach it and practice to get better, but then some part of it is just instinct and taste – stuff that you can’t teach. When you are playing a show and you can feel everyone tuning into one another and that magic happens, that is worth all the hassle.
And what is the most frustrating part?
It is extremely difficult to make a living from writing your own music.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
It is a cliché to quote your mom, but my mom was simply the wisest person, so bear with me. She always told me to never wait for other people to do stuff for me that I can do myself. Work hard and you will find your path.
This is life advice, not music advice, but it applies to music too. But regarding some music advice, I hear everyone is saying TikTok is the place to be. I am still having an inner battle if I dare to go down that path.
Inki's new single 'This One For Me' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.