After a flurry of enticing offerings over the last few years, Icelandic singer and songwriter Svavar Knútur has now returned with his shimmering new release 'November'.
Capturing more of the same lovelorn direction her is known for, 'November' makes for a wonderfully transportive listen from start to finish. With his ethereal vocal riding a bed of sweeping and calming production, this one will wash over you and leave you feeling rejuvenated throughout.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and what has inspired him most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
I guess, the piano was the first piano I got to know, but I’ve had a pretty polyamorous relationship with musical instruments since then.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
There were so many different kinds, but I actually grew up with the Muppet Album, Elton John, David Bowie, The Beatles and Jeff Wayne’s “War of the worlds,” blasting on my father’s stereo. Eurythmics, Prefab Sprout, Alphaville and Ultravox playing on the radio. It was a generous time. In my teenage years, I really got into Tom Waits, Beck, Soundgarden, Suede, Blur and more. A bit of a mixture of Britpop and Grunge. Then I graduated to Brian wilson, Gomez, Chavez, Komeda, Pavement, Nick Drake and lots of other super sweet late 90’s stuff, as well as Basement Jaxx and more. I guess, I just love a lot of different kinds of music.
What was the first album you remember owning?
Ah, that would be the ever classic Muppet Album. The first album I bought as a music lover however, was probably a nice little Tom Waits compilation album, followed by a landslide of more music.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
I really wouldn’t want to have written any song except those that have chosen me as their vessel. Every song is a part of its artist’s journey, and I just love that each of our journeys is unique.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
Not really. I guess the only thing I feel is a load of anxiety when I start writing, because I feel an overwhelming need to do the subject matter justice, to find the truth, the melody, the story and the shape. It’s kind of like working with a very delicate sculpture. To carve out the shape that is contained within the wood or the rock.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
I rotate through a lot of good stuff, but I’m listening to a couple of albums by the legendary New York band Chavez right now.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would absolutely be thrilled to support the wonderful Annie Lennox in concert. She is one of my all time idols and a total star.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
When I find that my songs resonate with someone, or that they gave them comfort or grace in a difficult time, I feel such gratitude. I also love it when I’m singing at an intimate concert and I find myself in a bubble of total trust, confidence and unity with the audience. It’s indescribable. Also, just getting to create, work at what I love, to work with other creative people on making something beautiful, meaningful, exploring and discovering. It’s the best.
And what is the most frustrating part?
Songwriting can be super frustrating, the ever creeping anxiety of not doing the song justice. Also, the struggle to try to make contact with an audience in a world where algorithms and weird “engagement, like and subscribe, provide regular cool content” garbage trumps just making music, singing, performing, being human. And the way social media like Facebook actually throttles our communication with our already established community can be infuriating. It seems the more we’re connected, the harder it is to reach each other.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
Just keep at it. Stay faithful to music, and the world will provide. You’re already a success if you can provide for your basic needs. Just manage your expectations.
Svavar Knútur's new single 'November' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.