Looking for immersion? A way to relax? To feel inspired? The music of the Flemish composer Kevin Imbrechts, who is at the helm of the band Illuminine, creates this unique soundscape which I find myself retreating into more and more.

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Iceland and Illuminine

I was curious to learn that Kevin and Illuminine have an Icelandic connection. When Kevin was recording songs for his first album he sent his recording to Sigur Rós. A day later he got an invitation to finish the album at Sigur Rós´studio at Sundlaugin in Mosfellsbaer in Iceland. The second album, #2, was also produced at Sundlaugin studio.

The Third Album by Illuminine is Coming

Kevin and Illuminine are preparing the release of the band´s third album, simply called #3 which will be released in November. The first single is out and it is called ´Dear, Utopia´ It is accompanied by a beautiful video created here in Iceland  and is directed by Francesco Fabri – please see below.

The Healing Power of Icelandic Nature

On the Illuminine website Kevin is quoted as saying that the album is a sound diary which he started to write when he was struggling with anxiety and panic attacks.

“The only way to deal with those times back then was by putting my emotions into something like a musical diary. Every song of the upcoming album will also be supported by visuals, which will all together form an album movie. We decided to show this with the strength and beauty of Icelandic nature, which became something I got very attached to during my visits to Iceland in the last years – same as the music, the nature can be healing, helpful and comforting.”

Hello Kevin and thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you tell me more about the new album from Illuminine and the film that is accompanying it?

3 is a trip, a journey through space and time. The whole album is a sound diary, it’s the result of the journey of the last two years, a darker chapter in my life where I was diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder (GAS) and the Asperger syndrome. It’s a reminder of who I was and who I am now. When I’m listening to the songs, I can feel the emotions and anxieties of that given moment. Now I can look back at it; at the time of writing and recording the songs, I couldn’t, I was in the middle of my journey. I’m happy that these dark times are behind me, that I can start a new chapter in my life. I became a different person because of the album

Nature plays them main role

The film accompanying the whole album represents a day, it starts and ends at dawn. The main character is not a person, but nature. I love nature, the only place where I can find some rest and think about life in a healthy way. The movie is directed by Francesco Fabris, a visual and sound artist hailing from Italy and currently working at the Bedroom Community / Greenhouse Studio, located in Reykjavik.

I am curious to hear more about your working at the Sigur Rós studio. It must have been a pretty gratifying to be invited to work there?

Indeed, it’s an honour to work in the Sundlaugin Studio. It’s a magical place, a twenty minute drive from Reykjavik and next to the Álafoss waterfall. It’s an old swimming pool, converted in a studio. Back in 2015, when I was looking for a mixing engineer for the very first Illuminine album, I decided to collect my all-time top-5 records and checked who did the production. It turned out Birgir Jón Birgisson, worked on three of them. He’s the co-owner of the studio and Sigur Ros’ sound engineer. I really like working in the Sundlaugin. It has a cosy atmosphere and its history is mindblowing. A lot of my favourite records are produced there.

You state on your website that nature has had positive impact on your condition. Are there any places here in Iceland that you have found to most positively affect you or to be especially inspiring?

Mount Kirkjufell illuminated by northern lights - photo by Martin Schulz
Mount Kirkjufell on fire. Green fire. Photo by Martin Schulz.

Yes of course, last trip I visited Grundarfjörður. The town is located next to Kirkjufell, one of the most famous mountains in Iceland. It’s a peaceful place surrounded by beautiful mountains and the sea. Also, there’s one particular place in Reykjavik that was really inspiring, Seltjarnarnesbær and its Grotta lighthouse. If you’re lucky you can sit in the small hot pot and enjoy sunrise or sunset. You also have a magnificent view over the Reykjavik bay and the Snæfellsjökull glacier.

What are your favorite Icelandic Musicians?

There are so many artists I can name here, to name a few, besides Sigur Rós I’m a great fan of Jófríður Ákadóttir and all her projects, such as JFDR, Samaris and Gangly. I once saw a band called ‘asdfgh.’ in the harbour of Reykjavik, I really liked that. I also remember a gig of ‘Muck’, an Icelandic hardcore/punk band, in a very small room above a pita bar in the center of Reykjavik, awesome. I don’t know if they still exist? I’m also a fan of aYia, deep cold electronics, really looking forward hearing their first album. They’re signed on the Bedroom Community label. My favourite Icelandic record label.

What advice would you give to someone visiting Iceland for the first time? 

I always recommend to first spend a few days in Reykjavik to acclimatize to the Iceland culture and habits. After that you can rent a car and explore the magnificent Icelandic nature. Try to forget all your daily life worries and become one with the landscape and the peacefulness it radiates. I also recommend visiting the South coast, while driving the Route One, you’ll see a very diverse landscape, lava fields, waterfalls, flatlands, sea, mountains, … .

Great advice! Thank you Kevin!