I am, quite frankly, moved by the enthusiasm people show for Iceland. I suppose it is a big reason why I devote so much time to this magazine. One story of a man who demonstrated this kind of incredible passion for Iceland is Australian musician Steve Kopandy. He traveled to Iceland in 2018 from London just to create a Iceland music video for his song Avalanche. Steve did more, he created a map of the locations featured in the video with short stories about how each place is featured in the video. The song is nice and catchy so check it out.
Hello Steve and thank you for taking the time for this interview. I can see from your website that you travel all over the world singing on cruise ships. Can you give my readers more background information on you?
The cruise ships are with my tribute band – The Take That Experience. I play Howard. It’s a busy job but we get to see some beautiful parts of the world, and get paid to do it. It also sharpens me as a performer. It’s a high energy show with a lot of vocals so it’s not a walk in the park.
My passion though is song writing. I find being creative is good for the soul. There are a lot of moving parts to a song so bringing it all together is a very satisfying experience.
So why did you come to Iceland to make a video?
Why have a set, costumes and actors when you can create a story in some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth? It’s in some ways minimalism, it’s just me and nature, but the landscapes are so beautiful and detailed. There is so much to appreciate in the video, especially for people who have never visited Iceland and wonder if it’s all as beautiful as people say it is.
Your video is fun to watch and I imagine you were terribly cold the whole time filming it. Am I correct in assuming so?
The only times I was cold were when I was in the water, and that was freezing. The rest of the time I was sprinting so I wasn’t feeling the cold. It was July and we had no rain or wind, just good cloud cover which is great for filming.
You travel a lot and you have some 64 music videos on your Youtube channel. What made filming the Iceland music video different from your previous experiences?
Shooting the video in Iceland gave me all the benefits of exploring as a tourist, but also being creative with the musical purpose. Music is my passion so if I can overlay that into any situation, it’s going to enhance my experience. I couldn’t have been happier in Iceland, in such a beautiful environment, but also being creative, and using up all my energy. I ran for 2 days straight. It was pure pain, but the sense of accomplishment at the end of it was worth every moment.
Can you talk about the creative process, both for the song and the Iceland music video? What were the inspirations for it?
The song was written when I was in a difficult time. The cliche is that you should always push through and never give up, but sometimes, you have to know when you are fighting a losing battle. In the video, nature is the perfect antagonist. I wanted to show desperation, loneliness and futility.
I explained the basic concept of the Iceland music video to the Director (Frank Niewenhuis) when I met him in Reykjavik, and he seemed to understand it straight away. On the shoot he brought more ideas and creativity and I saw that he had a grand vision for how it would all come together in the final cut. I completely trusted him to deliver the finished product and I was so happy with the result.
What was your favorite location to film in and why?
Just outside of Reykjavik there is a road, Nesjavallavegur. It’s not a main road, but still it was so quiet and empty, even for high summer. Some of the second chorus is shot here. But my favourite shot is at the start of verse 2 around 1.35. The straight road eventually curves up a winding ridge, and we saw this valley which seemed to go forever into the distance. I would have travelled to Iceland just for that one shot.
What advice would you give to those who are visiting Iceland for the first time?
Get off the ring road. The most beautiful places Frank took me were isolated, and really not that far from Reykjavik either. And when in Reykjavik, take a guided bike tour around the city. My friend Stefan runs them, and he gave me a bike to borrow as well while I was there! It’s a great way to get around.
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