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Just for fun

By Iceland Review

Tomorrow night, the Sugarcubes will reunite for an anniversary concert in Iceland. IR Web Editor Eygló S. Arnarsdóttir talked to Björk and other band members about the event.

The air smells of cigarette smoke and spicy incense. The small space is lit with candles and Christmas lights. The bar is crowded with journalists, photographers and camera crews, casually seated on plastic chairs around the round wooden tables, cheerfully chatting and enjoying a glass of beer.

Sirkus, a hole-in-the-wall bar in downtown Reykjavík, where Björk filmed one of her videos, seems an unlikely place for a press conference, but then again, typical for the Sugarcubes. Since the band was founded in 1986 it has never been on the beaten track.

Or, as keyboardist Margrét Örnólfsdóttir puts it: “We didn’t take ourselves too seriously. Our music is not to everyone’s liking; it varies from sweet melodies to punk and mere noise. I’m sure we irritated a lot of people.”

In 1988 the single “Birthday” was released in the UK and the band was covered in British music magazine Melody Maker. Shortly afterwards, the Sugarcubes caught the attention of the world.

After the split-up in 1992 each band member went his own way and vocalist Björk went on to international stardom. Now they are reuniting for one concert only to mark the 20-year anniversary of the Sugarcubes and their record label Smekkleysa, one of the major Icelandic labels signing young bands today.

“The record label was founded out of urgent need – we needed a company to publish our music,” guitarist Thór Eldon says. “The goal with the label is to make profit like any other company, but we have often published material that is not easy to sell.”

Björk adds: “We have always found it important to support the grass roots; bands that are starting out and we believe in, until they can manage on their own. We’re not necessarily thinking of making money.”

People have wondered whether the Sugarcubes will reunite permanently after tomorrow’s concert, but Björk says there is no hope. “We look at this concert as a singular event. It is first and foremost a birthday celebration, to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the Sugarcubes and Smekkleysa.”

Björk and Thór Eldon said they are both looking forward to tomorrow’s concert. “We are just going to have fun,” Björk says. “If the audience has fun as well, that’s an extra bonus,” she adds.

About 5,000 guests are expected to come to the concert, thereof 1,000 foreigners.

“We’re closing in on Airwaves,” Einar Örn Benediktsson, vocalist and trumpet player, says. Around 4,000 guests came to the Iceland Airwaves festival in October, and almost half were tourists.

The Sugarcubes anniversary concert will be held tomorrow at 7pm in Laugardalshöll in Reykjavík. Indie band MÚM will be the opening act, and now two more musicians have been added to the program: RASS and Dj@mundo.

There are still a few tickets available, which can be bought on www.midi.is.

The inset photograph was taken by Einar Falur.

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