Interview by our guest writer: Johanna Prior
Need a little time to escape, just a little time to switch off? Well, we have just what you need: let us introduce to you, Axel Flovent.
Maybe its Axels’ Icelandic roots that make his music so calm and idyllic but this indie-rock really transports you into a time and space that’s that extra bit magical. Slowly but surely, he’s been secretly been making his way into our hearts playing on numerous festivals such as The Great Escape, Secret Solstice, and Iceland Airwaves.
So before he becomes too big, we’re glad Axel made a little time for us while on the road supporting Ásgeir on his European Tour, to chat all things regarding his homeland, Iceland, change and how he actually managed to be supporting Ásgeir. (Hint: family business).
WLT: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Axel. So here goes:
I know that you are from Húsavík — do you miss the loneliness of the village or do you like the bustle of the cities and towns you visit in the world?
Sometimes I miss it. If I had the opportunity, I would like to jump back and forth. I like the mixture of the loneliness and the bustle of cities.
But I live in Amsterdam now, in the north in a suburb. I don’t experience much of the city vibe, which is good, so I feel kind of isolated like in Iceland. I wouldn’t like living in New York for example, because it’s too busy. I need a mixture of calm and city life
So how much do you like living in Amsterdam then?
I love it there. It’s really nice to live abroad. I lived in Denmark when I was younger and I get a similar sense from Amsterdam. There are lots of bikes — I like that. *grins sheepishly*
I saw you play on The Great Escape last year – this is also where I got to hear about you for the first time – did anyone approach you after playing there and wanted to sign you?
I already had a label and a team who wanted to work with me and we just started working together on my career then. I got to know some people at The Great Escape, but nothing official happened.
Are there any festivals you really want to play on?
Oh yes, of course. I would really like to play at Coachella, Leeds and Glastonbury. I want to be at a certain point of my career, when I play there though. I don’t want to be a small artist. I want the first time to be very nice. It’s like a dream, but it takes time to get there.
Let’s talk about your album, shall we? Album process: How do you decide what songs should appear on your album/EP?
I work my albums as projects. So for example my new one Quiet Eyes, (released: 12.05.17), we weren’t sure if it should be another EP or a full length album. Last summer when the first song was released, I realised what I wanted to do. I placed demo pieces together and then knew which songs to put on next. Originally it was just supposed to be four songs, but we wanted a fifth one. So we recorded it on the last studio day. It took only took two takes to record — it was me with my acoustic guitar and two backing vocals. The purity makes it really interesting for me. When that song was recorded, I knew the EP was ready.
When you say we: how many people are involved in recording and producing your music?
My producer and his brother do the mixing. Then my band, which are three. And then we had two session players for this EP.
Where do you record? Is it always the same place?
I always record my demos at home. My first EP was recorded in Iceland. And for this EP we recorded in three different studios in and around Belgium.
Now to this tour. How did mange to get an opening spot for Ásgeir?
I approached him. He is my cousin by the way. When he announced the tour, I asked if he wanted me to support him and it happened.
Oh wow! That’s really cool! How has the tour been so far? Is it like you anticipated it would be?
It’s been amazing! The crowds have been perfect to present my music to. We (Ásgeir and myself) are similar in style, so if you like his music then its a gateway to mine.
Did you see each other a lot back home in Iceland?
No. We are hanging out more on tour than ever before. We met on family reunions, every three years or so.
What have you learnt from Ásgeir so far? Has he given you any tips?
Yeah, we talk about all sorts. Also being in this position, musicians from Iceland, we don’t need to explain to each other how we feel or what happened in details, because the other knows what goes on on tour and what is involved around it.
Sometimes you need to explain it very much what you’re going through, but with Ásgeir, he gets it. I don’t need to explain myself. We talk about all sorts of things and give tips to each other.
One last thing, “Wait, Listen To…” would mean for you?
So, who I’d want you to listen to? Then I’d have to say Anna of the North. She’s really good. I especially like the song ‘Someone’. I have that on constant repeat. Also the new album by Phoenix is on repeat as well. And maybe one more… Big fan of Mac Demarco. He’s awesome!
Thank you so much for this chat Axel. And if you are intrigued to hear more, we’re even including Axel’s new album below. And if enjoyed that, well another little something to get excited over: Axel will be working on a full length album after this summer. We can’t wait!
Photos: Google Video: YouTube