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A Dirty Dozen with DAGUR from VOLCANOVA – February 2022

| 24 February 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “VOLCANOVA turns Icelandic isolation into an explosive fuzz-rock fest on their new single ”Desolation.” With gritty riffs, multi-layered vocal arrangements, and gut-punching grooves, the power-trio reveals a dynamic piece of energized stoner rock. ”Desolation” is the second and final single from Volcanova’s upcoming EP Cosmic Bullshit.” We get Dagur to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our upcoming release Cosmic Bullshit is a bit different from our debut album Radical Waves from 2020. Not totally different, we still focus on heavy riffs and doing the best we can. But we are still a young band finding our voice and becoming more comfortable with what we write. As long as we enjoy it, and like playing it, we play it! So we are a bit more dynamic for instance on this album, allowing ourselves to go a bit softer but still bringing out our heaviest, and also stretching out of the ‘’stoner rock’’ genre in a way. Not completely, but ever so slightly. Regarding hidden nuggets, only diehard fans that know some of the previous projects some of the members have been in, might notice lyrical references… I won’t say anything more!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I have been playing instruments since I was 5 years old. Started of playing the recorder, which then moved on with me playing the accordion for seven years. I can tell you, it wasn’t cool playing the accordion (I disagree today), so I tried out a bunch of different sports. Football, basketball, golf. I sucked at all of those. But damn it, I could play the accordion well. I started getting more into listening to classic bands such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and all that which made me switch over to guitar, but after a while I got hypnotized by the drums. And ever since I started playing instruments, I’ve always enjoyed playing along with other people rather than playing by myself. So when I started to play drums, I knew I wanted to be in a band. That was when I was 14 years old and there has been no turning back since then.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Honestly, the song that made me want to play guitar was the guitar solo in “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. I listened to him heavily when I was a kid. Long story short, I never even tried to learn it and switched over to drums. With drums I was mainly influenced by live concerts I watched as a teenager. I can name two live performances that influenced me the most as a teen. “Spinning in Daffodils” by Them Crooked Vultures live at Roskilde festival for the first. As cliché as it might sound Dave Grohl has always been my biggest influence and his performance at Roskilde really floored me and made me want to be able to do the things he does. Second is “Moby Dick” by Led Zeppelin at Royal Albert Hall. What can I say? It’s John Bonham doing the drum solo of Moby Dick. What 14-year-old drummer wouldn’t shit their pants seeing that for the first time?

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Compared to the rest of the interview you’d think I would say Clutch or Josh Homme or Tony Iommi or something. But to be honest if I could call anyone, I would seek in a different direction from the things Volcanova does. MC Ride and Zack Hill of Death Grips would be one for sure. But I think I would rather do a song with Charli XCX, and also Agnetha from ABBA would be a dream. Björk hasn’t returned my calls regarding a feature on our next album. To tighten the circle, the Icelandic band Flott I would love to collaborate with. The music industry can often be sadly male dominant and I would like to collaborate with female artists, especially in this beardy stoner rock scene!

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

We all like traveling and exploring new places (which to be fair we also do on tour of course). Living in Iceland, you really can’t travel that far, but still you can drive for an hour and feel like you are a thousand kilometers from all civilization. So going camping, going on road trips, hiking and more is something that all of us have in common of enjoying. And even though we are not in the studio or touring, music is always on our minds. So shopping for and listening to vinyl is something that we have spent way too much money on! We often go together to various record shops and make a day out of it.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

The genre that we usually go to when describing our music is Stoner rock. And not all people know what stoner rock is, so we try to compare it to other well-known stoner rock bands. Like when Icelandic people ask us what stoner rock is we say it’s similar to the Icelandic band Brain Police. We are definitely inspired by many stoner/doom rock artists such as Lowrider, Yob, Clutch, Kyuss and the godfathers Black Sabbath of course, but we are  also influenced by all kinds of artists from different genres that we draw influence from and use that in our writing. Luckily, we haven’t had a review that says something like ‘’These guys sound like Creed and Lil Wayne’s guitar playing combined!’’ so we haven’t cringed so far!

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Sam is the one who is always the first to offer to cook for the rest. Even though it’s mid-February and the sun hasn’t shone in months and it’s -4°c, Sam has the grill turned up to 300 and the steak is ready for consumption! I luckily work at a brewery and takes out most of my salary in beer. Steini had enough with beer a couple of years back, so he is always the first one to crack out the acoustic guitar and he knows all of the Kiss songs!

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

For example Sam was really lucky running into Brent Hinds from Mastodon in 2015. He was on his way with his girlfriend to have dinner in downtown Reykjavik. He told her earlier that night, “Hey! Maybe we will run into some members from Mastodon!” Because they were playing the next day at an Icelandic rock festival called Rokkjötnar. A little later when they were on their way to the restaurant, Brent Hinds walked right past him with two of his friends. He thought to himself “I have to have a little chat with him.” He approached him and they had a little chat and got a picture together. Sam saw Mastodon the next day, they were brilliant! He hadn’t listened to Mastodon a lot that time, but after their show they became one of his favorite bands and Brent has been a huge influence on his guitar playing.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

To be a musician is an endless road of discovery and evolving. We as a band write really well together, everyone gets their ideas and compositions to the table and every idea is tried out. You get to express emotions that can’t quite be expressed in another way except through music. And not necessarily through lyrics, but just through the general feel and emotion of the song. Also one of the best things about being a musician is to get together very regularly with your friends and do something together. I don’t care if the practice wasn’t that great, or the ideas didn’t work out as well as we expected. Just meeting up with my best friends, having a chat, very regularly, is the best thing.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

An interviewer has never asked me “What is your favorite food?” but still I’ve thought deeply about that question but never been asked. Because the answer is super basic, but still beautiful. It is pizza. Pizza is the best thing to ever happen on this planet. Just flour, water, yeast, and a bunch of fuckin cheese. So simple. And still the best thing ever. Haven’t yet reached a question that I’m tired of answering. The more people know about us, the better!

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

To be completely honest, we are such a young band, and the majority of our lifespan has been in the pandemic so there are not many things we could have done better (without sounding cocky)! And without literally all of the decisions we have made, we wouldn’t be at the place we are now. For better or for worse really. Maybe we should have added more cowbell to our debut album but that’s about it.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I think being a part of the early Dessert Session compilations would have suited us quite well. Showing up at Rancho de la Luna in the Californian desert along with other long haired dudes and fuckin PJ Harvey, jamming on songs inspired by the landscape and current mood is something that all of us would fit into. We seek inspiration in the Joshua Tree / Palm Springs / California stoner scene more than we are aware of I think. Kyuss / QOTSA and Fu Manchu and all of that. So the early to mid-90’s in California would be great for us!




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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