Sólstafir – Original Rockers
Sólstafir were formed by three friends, Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, Halldór Einarsson and Guðmundur Óli Pálmason in January 1995. In 1999 Sólstafir entered the studio to record it’s debut full length album. By that time Halldór had left the band and in 1997 and 1998 Sólstafir had released two promos as a two-piece. For the recording of the debud full length Sólstafir recruited Svavar Austmann as Halldór’s replacement. Although the recording of “Í Blóði og Anda” had started in 1999 the album wasn’t released until 2002, due to endless delays and mishaps. In the meantime Sólstafir started playing live shows in Iceland, and for that had added a second guitar player, one Sæþór Maríus Sæþórsson. For the first time as a four piece Sólstafir recorded a new demo in 2002, eventually releasing 3 songs as Black Death.
In 2004 the band began working on the follow up to “Í Blóði og Anda” on their own with the help of a good friend. Sólstafir released “Masterpiece of Bitterness” through Spinefarm in 2005, an album that got exeptionally good reviews almost everywhere and the band kept on making a really good name for themselves with really powerful live performances. In December 2007 the band traveled to Göteborg, Sweden to record their third full length, “Köld”, which was released in early 2009. By now descriptions like “sounds like The Hellacopters if they went to art school and did a lot of valium”, “Imagine if Nachtmystium, Alice In Chains and Neurosis got hammered while listening to Entombed’s DCLXVI – To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak The Truth – it would sound something like this” and “Sigur Rós goes metal!” were becoming common. Most recently the band signed to Mist records and are working on a brand new album – their fifth – for October 2011…
Interview with Aðalbjörn Tryggvason
You just signed to Mist – how does that feel?
It feels great to have finally landed this deal after nearly going into a legal battle with the last label. Things were looking bad a year ago. We were stuck with that label, not wanting to carry on with them, and we were having other cool ones showing us interest. A&R people showed up at festivals we were playing telling us how much they liked us and so on. So this feels like you divorced your old wife and now have a hot girlfriend.
You’re in pretty good company there huh? Which of their artists are you most fond of?
Atheist, Morbid Angel…even though their new stuff is not dominating my ipod thease days…
You’ve actually released records with a few labels over the years…who else have you released through?
The first album was in ’96 on a the Czech label View Beyond, then in ’00 we signed to a German label called ARS Metalli (a year later we got bank robbed due to a label manager who had a sex operation and left the business, we’ll write a book about those years some day), then we signed to Spinefarm from Finland in ’05 and stayed with them till ’10. And we are now on a French/USA label.
How many albums have you released now, and where does the latest album fit into that lineage?
The new one will be our 5th album. Should be out in October.
You’ve been together longer than most bands and you’ve been through a few changes in that time; how long has the current line up been in place?
We’ve been active now for 16 years. This line up has been together since around ’00. We only changed bass player in ’98 and then added a second guitar player.
What’s the secret to your longevity? Does it have anything to do with Cod Liver Oil?
Hrútspungar and Brennivín. Stubborness and not giving a fuck if you are the flavour of the week or not. Make that flavour of the decade or not.
You must have had a great many touring highlights over the years? What’s the most rock n roll anecdote you got (nb: if it doesn’t include copious sex and drugs we will be disappointed)
Without trying to sound cool, so much shit has happened on these tours, I wouldn’t even know where to start. From having a military escort into Finland and being arrested in our underwear in hardcore winter on the streets of Warsaw, there is just too much to take one anecdote from.
People have a hard time pigeonholing your sound. How do you describe it to people who haven’t heard you?
I really don’t. But i guess you could call us epic rock ‘n roll.
What are your current plans – touring, videos, singles etc?
Album out in October, 1-2 videos in progress, no singles please, European and USA tours coming up, hopefully all winter and then head into a massive festival summer in the summer of ’12.
Which bands have you not toured with yet that you’d like to, Icelandic or International?
Ham, Stafrænn Hákon, XIII, Sigurrós, Saktmóðigur, Duran Duran, Metallica, Thin Lizzy, Devil’s Blood…
What do you all do when you’re not rehearsing, recording, touring and writing?