’The Legend of The Curse Continues!’
Hailing from Rejkyavik, Iceland, the mysterious, elusive Singapore Sling at once celebrate and cross-pollinate the diverse, ambitious artistic vision
of the best of the early Creation Records roster, running the gamut from the Jesus and Mary Chain to Primal Scream to My Bloody Valentine to Swervedriver. Their music is at once renegade and retrospective, a bristling, anarchic sonic attack, mounted atop classic, hook-laden psychedelic pop.
Their debut album, The Curse Of Singapore Sling, was released in the US on Stinky in June, and is a dark and dangerous aural cocktail mixed from three alternately squalling/furiously riffing guitars, thrusting bass, hypnotically wailing keyboards, primal drums and strategic percussion.
Chatting recently with singer-songwriter-guitarist Henrik Björnsson, I first wondered if he knew that a ’Singapore Sling’ was a drink made famous at The Long Bar in the Raffles Hotel, and if he’d ever been there or perhaps had the drink himself?! ”Erm, if I have I don’t remember.”
So, was the band named after that drink? ”It was actually a film I was looking for. I read about it somewhere and I was going to go and rent the film, but I couldn’t find it. And, so when we needed a name for this gig, that name sounded good so that was it.”
What was the music scene like back growing up in Reykjavik (Iceland) and what is it like these days? ”The indie scene is pretty good at the moment, but back when I was growing up there was punk, and the Sugarcubes – who were the first Icelandic band to make it in some ways. So, after the Sugarcubes probably a lot of bands realized they could take their music somewhere else and kinda put Iceland on the map musically”
With the name of the new CD being The Curse of Singapore Sing, I’m wondering if the band are actually cursed in any way?! ”It was kinda like a joke, but on the very first day when we were recording the album, the tape machine broke down! And we had a lot of these unfortunate accidents during the recording! But, it all went well in the end so we kinda still called it ‘The Curse.’ But, we thought coming here we would lose this ongoing curse, but on our tour bus one of the rear wheels just flew off while we were driving in the middle of the night! The whole wheel and also we’ve had slight minor accidents with the gear, but hopefully it’s not a curse! I hope to be able to call the next album, The Blessing of Singapore Sling or The Wonderful World of Singapore Sling!”
What makes the band any different from all the other bands out there trying the same kind of music? ”I think it’s honest. It’s like when the band started things were honest, but now there’s a scene and it’s called Garage Rock, or whatever. I don’t know, but we don’t think we’re part of any scene, you know, because when we started nobody was doing this kind of stuff. I mean, it wasn’t as popular as it is right now. I can’t really say what it specifically is, but we’re just making music that we like to make. That’s it.”
Explain what was going through your head when these three tracks were being recorded:
’Overdriver’ - ”I just wanted to make a really dumb, kick-ass rock ‘n’ roll song with basically one chord! I just wanted to make some classic, rock ‘n’ roll madness!”
’Summer Garden’ - ”That song’s just another dumb-ass song, but played on a keyboard,” he gently laughs. ”That song was just easy to make as the melody kinda came right away.”
’Chantiissity’ - ”Yeah, that’s actually a song that was a recording I did by myself in the middle of the night about two and a half years ago on an 8-track,” he laughs ”After a long night of drinking.”
And what does the name mean?! ”If I only knew,” he laughs again.
What’s the most surprising thing to know about the band? ”That we are really just homebodies and really nice people!”
Finally, describe the band’s music in 3 words ”Very, very cool.”
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
Stinky Records / Singapore Sling
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