Sigur Rós

January 24, 2013

IAm Sigur Rós, an icelandic band consisting of Jónsi, Goggi and Orri, AMA

on january 24th starting at 3pm est (noon pst, 8pm gmt) we'll answer as many questions as we can in an hour about the band, touring, the music or ourselves.

we'd like to share with you a video teaser for our upcoming tour, featuring a music snippet from our forthcoming release:

we are touring the world in 2013 and hope to see you somewhere:


ask us anything!

** back to mixing the new album. thank you all for the q&a, we had fun! -sr

Kjartan has left the band, is that true?

Yes he has left the band. He said he spent half his life in the band and it was time to do something different.

Will Heima ever be released on Blu-ray format? It is a beautiful release that must see the light of day in hi-def.

Yes hopefully. We talked to Dean the director and he is working on it.

What's your favorite song to perform live?

Poppsong... After a long show it´s good to end on something energetic like that.

What actually happened at Bestival?

I know you said was a bad gig for you, but my friends, my brother, and I were right at the front after waiting six years to see you live (and having waited all day at the front - and it was my birthday (you seem to have made a nice coincidence of playing on my birthday... on my 22nd I saw Jónsi live at Leeds O2 Academy!), and we were in awe. Sigur Rós was the sole reason we travelled all the way from Northern England to the Isle of Wight! We realised the issues with the bass and sound crew, but you blew us away completely with your set and presence up there - and the man in the crowd to my left who got Jónsi's bow actually started crying with happiness!

I can't wait to see you live on your first Brixton date in the UK, you must hear it often, but you create, by far, the best music, art, and imagery of any band I have ever listened to and witnessed.

There were a lot of issues, mainly technical problems... things not working on stage.

How do you deal with the boredom of touring?

Get drunk :)

To Jonsi: Are you considering releasing another solo album? Go is one of my favourite albums.

Can't wait to see you guys in March!!!

Yes, maybe, would be fun ... just going to plough through this crazy year of touring with signor rossi

What's up Sigur Ros! Been a listener for a while, great to have you on reddit.

Couple questions, what was it like finding out Starálfur would be used in the Life Aquatic? This might not have been the first use of your music in film and I know it wasn't your last, but I really love that scene and would be curious to know your initial reaction seeing it.

Your music is definitely cinematic by nature. Do you have any scoring / soundtrack projects in the works?

It did really fit well in there yes. We were very happy with the result. No scoring projects at the moment since we are very busy working on a new album and touring at the same time.

The language that your songs are sung is not icelandic, but rather a vocal language with no special meaning. Is there any rules for that language or is it what comes in mind at the time?

in the past i used to sing with just sounds that fitted best to the song and melody and it is probably the most natural way of singing, but maybe too repetitive ... and also lazyness of writing lyrics ... hehehe ...

The language that your songs are sung is not icelandic, but rather a vocal language with no special meaning. Is there any rules for that language or is it what comes in mind at the time?

No, It´s in Icelandic.

Hey there! My name is Austin, and I'm a huge fan. You guys are my favorite band and have been for about 4 years now. If you care to hear my story then you can keep reading this paragraph, if not then my questions are below. My first time hearing Sigur Rós was in my sophomore year of high school. I was in a bit of a depression and was exploring some new music when someone recommended I listen to Ágætis byrjun. From the first listen I was amazed, and I must have listened to the album at least once a day for about two months. It's not a stretch to say the album helped me out of the depression. Sigur Rós have been my favorite band ever since then, and I love everything you guys have put out. I unfortunately missed the chance to see Jónsi on his tour for the Go album, but I have my ticket for the San Francisco show in April and I'm the most excited I've ever been for a concert. Now, for a few questions:

  1. Along with being a huge Sigur Rós fan, I'm also a big fan of record collecting. I own all of Sigur Rós' albums on vinyl with the exception of one, Takk. I'm not sure if you are aware, but Takk is pretty rare to find these days and frequently sells for over $100 online. Would it be possible for you guys to re-release the album on vinyl? I would gladly pay whatever I needed to buy it directly from the band rather than pay a collector. If I'm going to spend money on music, I prefer it benefit the artist. On a related note, back in 1998 you guys released an EP called Von Brigði. While I own a CD copy of the album, only 100 vinyl copies were pressed and they go for absurd amounts (I saw one sell for around $600 on eBay). That is an EP that I would love to see get a re-release on vinyl, as I hope to one day be able to own everything you guys have released.
  2. I remember reading an interview a while back and the interviewer mentioned that his favorite song was from the Von album, and the response was that you guys didn't even remember how the song went. I understand that album wasn't very popular and maybe it's in the past now, but have you considered maybe doing modern versions of the songs? The updated version of the song Von for the live Hvarf/Heim album is fantastic, I would love to hear updated versions of some other songs like Myrkur or Hún Jörð.
  3. Valtari was one of my favorite albums of 2012, and I really liked the sound of it. That being said, I wouldn't want another album to just sound like it's more of the same. I really enjoyed the new song you guys performed live, “Brennisteinn”, it was a great style for the band. Will the new material be more in that direction?
  4. I'm not a big concert attender so I don't know much of the way things go at them, but if I were to bring my vinyl copy of Ágætis byrjun to the San Francisco show in April, would it be possible for you to sign it after the show? It would make my night unbelieveable (all though I'm already sure the concert will be).
  5. One more thing related to the San Francisco show. I would absolutely LOVE it if you could play Untitled 3/Samskeyti. I'll be attending with my girlfriend and it's “Our song”.

we are going to fix the lack of vinyl thing.

First of all: Thank you, really, from the bottom of my heart thank you for the music you've made. It has gotten me through some real dark periods and is one of the biggest influences on my own songwriting.

My question is this:

Now that Kjartan has decided to spend time with his family, and since he was (what i've understood) the one with the most experience of composing, will there be any major changes to the sound of Sigur Rós?


Jonsi, Please make more cooking-specials with Alex! I loved those episodes!

*edit a bit of formatting

There will be changes yes, but not only because Kjartan has left. We always try to evolve and make things interesting.

If you could go back to the very beginning of the band's existence, would you do anything differently?


Hey guys! Just wanted to start by saying that your show at Benaroya Hall in Seattle was the best show I've ever been to! My friends and I were sitting front row center, and I managed to shoot this Polaroid during the encore of Gobbledigook! So thank you for that!

A couple of questions for you:

Jonsi, as someone with certain dietary choices, how do you find being on tour and also being a raw vegan?

Are there any plans for another Jonsi & Alex record?

I'm thinking about spending some time in Iceland: what time of the year would be the best to visit?

What are some of your favourite books?


i used to be raw food vegan but stopped it when i started touring. i found it to be so antisocial in my hotel room with my blender making a green soup when everybody else was out eating somewhere ... but im mos def gonna go back on raw food diet someday ... makes you lighter and more creative ...

yeah it would be fun to do another jonsi and alex album ... we are throwing around some ideas in the kitchen between courses ...

all year around, different experiences ...

Any chance of coming back to new Zealand one day? The show in 2006 was amazing

That would be amazing. We really do hope we can go back there.

what do you think about milan ?

Well... we wrote a song called Milanó... :)

Where do you guys see yourselves in 10 years?

Ten years older.

Hi! I would first like to thank you for being such an inspiration to me. I've enjoyed your music for years now, and it has compelled me to write some of my own music.

I write my music almost entirely by ear and I'll experiment with different harmonic structures before deciding what I like. What does the song creation process look like for you? Does it require a lot of experimenting with the band before putting it down to paper?

it happens quite naturally and effortlessly ... we just jam in the rehearsal space and come up with something we all like ... we do everything by ear and don't even know what these black and white keyes on the piano are called? and we never put anything down on paper ... just keep it in our small brains before it shrinks any further ...

Hi! I would first like to thank you for being such an inspiration to me. I've enjoyed your music for years now, and it has compelled me to write some of my own music.

I write my music almost entirely by ear and I'll experiment with different harmonic structures before deciding what I like. What does the song creation process look like for you? Does it require a lot of experimenting with the band before putting it down to paper?

There is a lot of experimenting yes but nothing goes down on paper... just tape.

I know practice makes perfect, and i'm really inspired by your work, but how did you become such successful musicians?

Sticking to it and a lot of luck.

Sticking to it and a lot of luck.

and a lot of work

What really happened in the last show in México?

Hello! Orri here. I had been getting these weird headaches for a few days before the show and i just managed to get through the show in Guadalajara with the help of painkillers. In Tepoztlan it was too much for me and everything went black and i passed out. My head was checked and I was and am fine. I guess it had something to do with stress or altitude. I felt really bad about having to leave the stage.

How come there is not a South American Leg of the tour? Don't you have plans to come to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico???

we are trying to make it work in december this year

How come there is not a South American Leg of the tour? Don't you have plans to come to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico???

We are working on that. We will most certainly come to South America later this year.

First of all, thank you so much for doing this! I waited for 5 hours at Lollapalooza this year to be in the 3rd row for you guys, and it was such an breathtaking experience. Your music is so powerful and has helped me through a lot.

Second, what is your process for writing your music? Any plans of doing more film competitions?

Thank you very much. We really enjoyed that show.

The process varies almost with every record.

No film competitions at the moment but it was very interesting.

Hi Sigur Rós! Really enjoy your guys' music. I've heard the lyrics are your own sort of made up language + some Icelandic. Can you shed some light on this?

It´s almost all in Icelandic.

Jonsi et al, Will you marry me?

Photo please.


hoping to come this year.


We are working on getting back to Mexico. Yes I do remember Orri getting sick, it was pretty scary.

why do you guys hate florida

watch this space!

why do you guys hate florida

too many mosquitos! just kidding. we are coming later this year.

why do you guys hate florida

We don´t.

I host a radio show in Vancouver and I have seen a lot of concerts over the years and Sigur Ros in Vancouver both times has by far been the best. Why no Vancouver dates on both of Sigur Ros' last visits to North America? We love you here...

We are coming to Vancouver this year. Just has not been announced.

At the end of Ekki Mukk, the piano recording is the most beautiful, delicately recorded sound I've ever heard. I noticed a few changes in where notes appear in the stereo field, and these change between two different stereo images of the piano. Would it be possible to explain how you recorded it so delicately, and the stereo image changes of the piano, what that was for?

It's a beautiful album, and I'm seeing you Manchester at the beginning of March. Really hoping to meet you. Apologies for the technical question!

we recorded that song individually. so everybody had to play their piano part in the studio while the other ones waited outside in the car and smoking cigarettes and couldn't hear what the other ones where doing ... then we listen back to the mess and sort out the nice things ... we like to play with accidents in music ... something that happens accidentally and is not planned ... is sometimes the best thing ..

Wait, Sigur Ros, aren't you describing the process of recording Fjogur Piano? OP was asking about Ekki Mukk.

oh shit, yess you are right ... sorry about that ... hahaha ...

I've just heard Kjartan left the band.Is it true? Could you tell us why he left, if you are sad about it, if you had an argument with him, if you have made sugery on yourselves to add extra hands to play the keyboards on stage??

Kjartan has left yes but all on a good note. He wanted to leave for some time. We have added some extra hands but thats also because we use a lot of instruments on the albums and we can´t play them all at the same time live. We want the live experience to be as good as possible.

Just wanted to thank you for making some fine music.

thank you for listening

How did you find the inspiration for Ara Batur, Hoppipola and Samskeyti?

Also....Why is Mexico not planned for the upcomming tour? :(

Thank you for doing this. Your music changed my life that i cant even describe it. But i know everyone else feels the same way!

  1. I don´t know
  2. We are coming to Mexico. We are just trying to make it work out logistically.
  3. Thank you too :)

Latin America are waiting for you guys! When you guys will come to Brazil?

We are also waiting... it will be this year.

Hello boys! thank you for give us the chance to talk with you c: I'm from Chile and my question is: When will you come? LOL We've been expecting you from ages. Greetings and love, Danae.

We are trying our best. It won´t be long.

Hello from Canada!

Hello Canada.

Sæll! Many musicians choose to forsake their native language and sing in English to make it “big”. You (thankfully) didn’t make that choice. What would you say to folks that believe that you must sing in English to make it internationally? (Takk fyrir tónlist!)

Just stick to what you feel most comfortable with, and be true to yourself.

Who are 2 or 3 Icelandic bands or musicians you like right now and would recommend?

sin fang

What was the biggest influence on your musical career?

When I was a kid I wanted to learn how to play the vibraphone and I went to the music school in Seltjarnarnes. The teacher told me that I had to start by playing the drums for one year before touching the vibes. I agreed to that and really got into drumming. Later i found out that the school didn´t have a vibraphone and the teacher was just trying to get me into the school. So I was tricked into playing drums.

When can we expect your next album to be released?

this year. we are writing these answers from the studio in los angeles right now!

Why didn't you refuse to play Bestival in the daylight?

That would have been rude. We always try to do the best we can during every show, but we did have a lot of technical problems on stage.

Did you ever see Bobby Fischer around Reykjavik? What did you think of him?

Yes. Genius chess player.

Do you plan to tour with a choir and full orchestra one day ?

Haha probably not.

Will you guys come to Mexico someday??? pleasee!!!

Yes we will

Will you guys come to Mexico someday??? pleasee!!!


Are you playing Coachella this year?


What is your favourite place in the world and why?

Iceland, because it´s home.

I've seen you twice this summer and I was a little sad that Valtari was not really present in the pacing of the show. Can we expect more songs of Valtari for the 2013 tour?!

You guys are awesome, I love you sooooo much! I will be there for both Montreal and Toronto shows in march, I can not wait! xx

It´s almost impossible to re-create live most of those songs. But there will be more new songs surfacing this year.

As one who has been listening to your music for about seven going onto eight years now, I definitely see a progression in your music. With your latest album, Valtari, it was definitely more minimalistic and quiet more so than any of your other albums, which I really enjoyed and announced it as my Album of the Year 2012. Was this a direction you guys wanted to go towards? As in back to experimental/ambient since your previous albums were a bit more pop-y and cheerful in it's own ways? Or has it just been a collective progression you all felt came naturally to you guys as a group?

All our albums get created in a very natural way. Valtari was a strange one because it was material from many different sessions. The stuff we are working on now is very different again...more aggressive.

  1. If you had been Eden Hazard last night would you have kicked the ball boy?
  2. Why has there been a lack of info on whether Kjartan had left the group or not?
  3. Ronaldo or Messi?
  1. That was very dumb of him but I think he and the ball boy should have gotten the red card.
  2. He has left the band.
  3. Messi of course.

Really enjoyed all the VALTARI shorts - brilliant collaborative concept with both established filmmakers and fans. Any future ideas and plans for other such interesting projects? P.S wouldn't expect you guys to simply repeat anything!

I enjoyed that too. No plans at the moment but it would be fun to do something like that again.

I traversed some of the most dangeroius ghettos to go see you guys at the opening concert in Philedelphia and was blown away (by the permormance and not a mugger).

Needless to say it was worth the trip. Will you guys be in Miami any time soon? Quite frankly, the travel risk will be about the same. :)


I think we might be coming to Miami this year.

Is Kjartan planning to compose/record on his own? We will miss him.

He is planing to compose on his own yes.

Any plans for a tour around Brazil or anywhere else around South America? I've been waiting for you for a long time and I can guarantee you won't regret if you come here.

We are working on that.

First of, thanks for the many great albums so far! I always feel very dreamy when listening to your music.. What was the thinking process behind using Vonlenska/Hopelandic as something on the albums? See you in Amsterdam in February!

There was no thinking process :) But there is a big misconception that all our music is in a made up language, most of our music is in Icelandic.

whos idea was it to put Shia LeBoeuf's wang in the video?

I think it was probably his idea.

I love the song Sæglópur. I want you to acknowledge my existence!

You have been acknowledged.

Do you care about music reviews, like ones from Pitchfork or Spin?

Not really... but they are fun to read sometimes.

Hello, I'm a teenage fan of you, Daniela, from Portugal. I'm trying my best to go to your concert here in February. Are you excited?

We are very excited yes.

Who's running the website, twitter, facebook accounts, ...? Can we say hi and thank you to him/her/them?

Darren and Bjossi are at the helm. They don't sleep.

Will you be playing a handful of your old albums tracks on this up coming tour? I love your new album, but you have so many on the older albums that I would LOVE to hear!

of course

How do you guys choose which questions to respond to on Reddit?

i think its pretty many questions coming in.

What is the best Icelandic drinking game?

Stick a bottle of brennivín up your behind and stand on your hands.

Will you tell us about your most recent elf sighting?

Björk on the main street.

I've see you guys once, years ago when you were touring after your first album. It was at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC. I was really moved by the music and the pairing of it with a background video showing some out-of-focus birds perched on wires silhouetted against an orange sky. At a climax during the show, the camera focused and the birds took flight. It's a long shot, but do you know who made this video? I'd just like to check out more of their stuff.

we did it ourselves

Why do you always have to go to Campo Pequeno when you come to Lisbon??? Don't you know it's the place where bulls are slaughtered in medieval bull fighting "shows"?!? While your concerts take place there, I will never go and I WOULD LOVE TO GO!!!

Think of it this way. While we are playing a show in there, there are no bulls getting slaughtered. That is the way we look at it. We think of it as our way of helping to stop bullfighting.

Is jonsi's les paul modded all to hell? looks like a PRS neck or something?

its a homemade guitar that one of our guitar tech did ... its a mixture of les paul and an old ibanez guitar and the shape is easier to play with a bow ...

What was it like working with Radiohead on the Split Sides collaboration and can we expect to see any upcoming collaborations from the both of you?

There was not much collaboration, in fact that was the whole idea of split sides. No was to know what the other person was doing... not even the dancers. No collaboration has been planned.

Tell us please when new album will see the daylight

it will be later this year

The best concert experience I've ever been to was 2008 in Berkeley at the Greek. Rain had been predicted for the evening, but none started until the encore. As the song started mist began to form and it all led to the climax of the song. The heavens opened up and it POURED, the crowd lost it.

Sigur Ros is magical. Thank you for all of your music!

one of our all time favorite moment also ...

Thank you so much for creating such magical and wonderful music!

My question is: Are you planning on touring in Vancouver, Canada any time in the future? We love you out here, and the closest you're coming on this tour so far is San Francisco! Thanks!

We are coming to Vancouver this year yes.

Life long fan here. I've introduced your music to everyone that I know! Back in 2006 I did study abroad in Ferarra, Italy. My flight left the day before you had a show there and have been regretting not changing my flight since. It is one of my few regrets in life. How awesome was that show?

That was a great show :)

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring musicians?

follow your instincts and keep at it

Do you like sushi?

oh yes

I don't expect your new album to come out next month so how is it with touring? Are you going to play any new songs other than Brennistein?

yes, there will be more new songs.

Hey Guys, I'm going to be in Iceland the week of February 4-11, right before you embark on your European tour. Any chance you guys are playing any secret or hometown shows that I could see when I visit your Country?

Nothing like that planed no.

The show at Airwaves was visually amazing! Any chance of bring that incredible and massive back screen on the north american tour??

something very similar is coming with us on tour this year...

Are you planning to come back to México near in the future? there's lots of fans, like me, that want to see you here!!


Hi guys. I was in Villafranca gig, Italy and that was AWESOME. You don't know how much your music has made me dream. Some quick questions:

Keep up with your great music

  1. His name is Óli Björn.
  2. Anywhere is good... the west fjords are amazing.
  3. Von has been remastered and is coming out soon.

[No question]

okay....we have to go back to work now. its been fun talking to you.

[No question]

Georg is staying on for a while longer. Bye.

Your interview with NPR's Bryant Park Project in 2007 is still tossed around as one of the worst interviews of all time (here, for those who haven't seen). I'd love to hear your side of what happened here. Were you tired? Just a language thing? Something else entirely?

Well... the interview wasn´t as bad as most people seem to think...but...we just got off a 14hour flight with little sleep and jet lagged to hell :)

hey guys! are you going to play some old songs "never-played-live" on this tour? (I mean: hjartað hamast or ara batur and other stuff). it would be great! greetings from Poland (can't wait to see u live in Warsaw - my ticket is waiting in my chest since Christmas!)

Yes we are playing some never played live songs but in the form of new music rather than old.

Hello, i am a huge fan, and me and a lot of my friends are anxious to see you guys in Brazil. I wonder if you plan to bring the tour here...

We plan to yes, but nothing confirmed yet.

Why are you guys so cool? And why do you make such cool music?

Must be in the water.

Hi, and thanks for doing the AMA! You are truly great!

Do you prefer doing festival gigs, or either smaller or larger arenas?

They are all very different and have they´re own pros and cons. Festivals are all the about the fun and energy. Small shows have the intimacy and large arenas have the "big event" feel to them.

Will you ever come to india?

That would be amazing. No plans at the moment though.

What did you think of playing Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado? In my opinion there are few better places in the world to see you.

That was a very memorable show.

First of all, thank you so much for your music and for Heima, which made me fall in love with your country.

I have just one question, will you ever perform Ara Batur live in any of your concerts? Also, that song is the most beautiful song of all time.

I doubt very much we will perform that song live. It was recorded with a full orchestra and choir.

Will you be appearing at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, England this June? It's been 10 years since your last appearance there and we sorely miss you guys!


Hi guys, looking forward to seeing my 8th! Sigur Ros show when you're in San Francisco this April. Hypothetically, if I were to organize a post-show fan meetup at a bar, would you & the crew consider stopping by?

You never know :)

First off, having the opportunity to ask my favorite band a question on my birthday is the greatest birthday gift ever. My question for you is: Do you have any plans to reprint “Takk...” on vinyl? It is my favorite album of all time and I wasn't able to get a hold of one of the 1,000 copies made.

i'm sure there were more than 1000 copies made but we do plan to make it available on vinyl again at some point in the future....

First of all, immensely love your music.

Q: I assume big part of your audience and fans does not understand Icelandic/hopelandic, how do you feel about that?

I think people understand the music and the lyrics are only expressing what is already there.

This is the question most people want to know, Why is Kjartan Sveinsson no longer in the band ?

He wanted to do other kinds of music. He just wanted to move in a different direction. Good for him.

What was it like to support and later work with Radiohead?

Supporting Radiohead was a great experience. They really gave us a fantastic opportunity to reach a lot of people.

Wwwwwwwwhhhheeerrreee do yyyyyouuuuuuuu ffinddddd yourr inspirRRRAAATTiiionnnn?


Could you please answer all questions in Vonlenska?


Will the setlists on the upcoming tour be much different from the setlists on the 2012 tour? For what it's worth, I thought your setlists this past summer were absolutely PERFECT. The Valtari songs sound amazing live -- please keep playing them. I was at the Toronto show, and it was one of the most beautiful nights of my life. Thank you for that. See you in Ottawa and Toronto in March.

We will be adding some new material to the setlist. This year will be a different live show than last year.

Are there any plans for an album with Steindór Andersen?

No. No plans.

First of all, I just want to say thank you so incredibly much for what you do. Your music is so deep and meaningful, and there is honestly no other way to describe it than genius. I discovered you when I was at an incredibly low point in my life. Vaka was the first song I ever heard, and I was moved in a way words can’t describe. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to create such amazing music, and I sincerely hope you continue to do so for a long time.

As for my question, Varúð is my favorite song of yours. I was wondering what the story was behind that song, and what it means to you?

(P.S. I can’t wait to see you in New York City in March!)

We wrote Varúð originally for a film but it was not used in the end. We re-worked it a bit and found that it fitted rather nicely on the album.

Has Kjartan left the band now officially?

Yes he has.

Will Óðinn's Raven Magic ever be released?

I hope so... don´t really know why it hasn´t already.

Did the goldfish from the Ég anda video survive?

I actually don´t know. I hope so.

Why do you never play se lest in concerts ?

We used to. We try to change things up every once in a while. Otherwise it would become boring. I guess we are just a bit bored of Se lest at the moment.

When are you coming to Mexico? You have no idea how many mexican fans you have. We would be more than pleased to have you here.

You're my favorite band and one of my biggest inspirations. Thank you for your music!

We are trying to make it this year. It´s been on our agenda for a long time and I´m sure we will make it.

I was introduced to your music from watching 127 Hours, starring the always-delicious James Franco.

Do any of you think you would be able to cut off your own arm? Also which band member would you eat first if you had to resort to cannibalism?

It´s hard to imagine a situation where you would have to cut off your own hand, but people do incredible things in desperate situations. I think I would eat Jónsi first... he´s raised on the healthiest diet.

This interview was transcribed from an "ask me anything" question and answer session with Sigur Rós conducted on Reddit on 2013-01-24. The Reddit AMA can be found here.