Interview: Sin Fang

Sin Fang - Photo by Sigfús Már Pétursson & Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir

Sin Fang - Photo by Sigfús Már Pétursson & Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir

Sometimes Sindri Már Sigfússon can’t believe how lucky he is.

“It’s probably the best job ever,” said the Icelandic musician, referring to writing and performing music as a career. This is because in addition to fronting six-person indie-folk band Seabear, his solo project, Sin Fang, is successful enough to function as his full-time job.

And when Sigfússon considers a lot of people he knows who dislike their jobs, even the more difficult aspects such as being away from his family don’t seem so bad to him, because he loves what he’s doing.

When he’s not on the road, Sigfússon spends the majority of his day working on various musical projects. After waking up early and enjoying the morning with his daughter and girlfriend, he then heads to his studio located in the basement of a book company in Reykjavík, Iceland.

“It’s pretty small but it’s nice for one person working,” he said. “It’s like a normal job.”

There, he concentrates on music for the entire day, adhering to a mostly strict regimen. But it’s always his solo music that is the focus in his studio – and even sometimes in the evenings at home – whereas anything pertaining to Seabear is done elsewhere and on a much more collaborative level.

“When I’m alone I’m just working on the Sin Fang,” he said. “I think, like, when I’m recording, it’s really like, cozy…I do it on my own time, and I drink lots of coffee and sit in front of the computer and write down stuff and ideas, and it’s really, it’s like, this is the best job I could ever have.”

Although Sigfússon’s second full-length as Sin Fang, “Summer Echoes,” was released earlier this year, he is already hard at work on a follow-up. However, this time around he is working with a producer, something he hasn’t done with either his solo project or with Seabear.

“I guess I just want to try something new,” he said of the process. “I could have finished the new album…a pretty long time ago if I just did it my way, but I [wanted] to try it and I really like it.”

There are a handful of reasons why Sigfússon enjoys working with a producer. In addition to having someone to give him raw, honest feedback on the music, it also forces him to approach music in a new light and consider different ways of arranging the songs. Not only that, but he admitted that it makes the process much more fun for him.

“It’s so nice to have someone, like, worry about all the technical details where I just worry about, like, playing and singing and stuff,” Sigfússon said. “I don’t know if I can go back to self-producing after this.”

Working so closely with someone throughout every step of the process can also be intimidating, but Sigfússon admitted he doesn’t worry as much as a younger version of himself might have.

“When I was starting out, I was, I guess, showing and wanting some – maybe not advice – but [wanting] to hear what people thought about the stuff before I maybe released it,” he said, highlighting his previously uncertain nature.

“I don’t really do that anymore,” he said, explaining that time and practice are what have helped him become more self-assured in his art. “I think over the last few years I’ve been pretty confident.”

Additionally, two or three years ago, he made what he described as a manifesto for himself, a promise to be fearless and not rely on validation from others, and just trust that what he was doing was good.

Still, he said he does share some of his work with his girlfriend for her feedback, citing her as “a very hard critic.”

And with the combination of her and the producer, Sigfússon said he is already anticipating finishing his third solo album.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing the end result of it,” he said. “It’s going to be my best stuff yet.”

Interesting to note about Sigfússon is the fact that he is also a visual artist, and holds a degree in art school, an interest which predates his musical career. However, it is the music which takes up the majority of his time and also which pays the bills. And ultimately, if he had to choose one or the other, Sigfússon said he would pick music.

“I’m…just more into music as an art medium than visual art,” he said, sharing how, creation of art aside, he listens to music more than he takes time to go see art.

Additionally, the feedback for making music is, often times, instantaneous, an aspect which Sigfússon appreciates.

“I think the most, like, emotions you get in this job is when you play live…everyone is in a good mood and you get all this energy from the crowd,” he said. “I thought that I would never ever play live, because I was very shy to go on stage at first, but I guess now I have done it a few hundred times, I just really enjoy it now.”

Sin Fang plays tomorrow night with fellow Icelandic artist Sóley at Kantine am Berghain in Berlin. The show begins at 21.00.

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