Nico Muhly and Jónsi Video

The Reykjavík Grapevine caught Nico Muhly and Jónsi after the Icelandic Music Awards for a last-minute interview, and the resulting conversation between the two musicians is giddy and drunk (likely because the two were giddy and drunk). Despite the late hour, Muhly and Jónsi had many lucid things to say about their process of working together. While they seemed to have a special bond, I’m guessing that Muhly functions in a similar way with other artists he’s arranged for, like Bonnie Prince Billy and Grizzly Bear. Muhly and Jónsi’s language is very visual, which makes the interview more entertaining.

Nico Muhly: I won’t do anything without a click track; working without one is a disaster. The first song I arranged was “Boy Lilikoi.” I listened to the demo and thought, “I want to try something so outrageous for this, and I am just going to completely skeet all over its face!”

Jónsi: And this is why I wanted Nico to work with me the first place! I had heard one album with his arrangements, Sam Amidon’s album [All Is Well], and I was like, “Whoa! This is perfect for my music!” It was like this painting, a splash of colors that goes in and out – not like a constant carpet over the music. So I was really excited about this collaboration, to get this crazy vibe, this color and texture all over the songs.

And even more on “Boy Lilikoi” later on:

NM: This music wanted to be ecstatic; it wanted to feel like a magic thing erupting from below. So the best way to do all the arrangements was to at first shit them out and vomit them out, make it be all messy and let there be gut reactions. They’re your songs, and I kept telling you “I see brass band, a Mexican funeral,” I basically kept throwing these images out…

J: I think that’s really good, how we would visualize things. For example on “Boy Lilikoi,” we were talking about Saint Francis of Assisi and how he was preaching to the birds, all these images and layers and colors. I really like that, it’s a good way to describe how music should be.

Read more at The Reykjavík Grapevine.

For reference:

Go is out now via XL.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2