Iceland punches way above its weight in music and the arts. The pioneers that brought Iceland to the global music map were the brilliant and irreverent members of The Sugarcubes, which had its heyday in the late eighties and early nineties. Most Iceland enthusiasts have heard about the band’s singer, Björk. She, of course, continues to create superb music and art. All of the band members continue to flourish in their respective careers. One of these is the producer, T.V. presenter, music promoter, percussionist, and singer Sigtryggur Baldursson.

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Sigtryggur Baldursson was drummer of the notorious band Þeyr

It is, of course, pretty neat to have been in The Sugarcubes, but I am most impressed that Sigtryggur was the drummer in the legendary and mysterious new-wave band Þeyr. I am a little too young (a decade younger than Sigtryggur) to have seen them live, but I was mesmerized by their dangerous and forbidden music as a kid. Just consider bangers such as ‘Killer Boogie‘ and ‘Rúdolf‘ (NSFW). Hear those drums in the intro to ‘Rúdolf.’

But I digress. To recount Sigtryggur’s musical and artistic exploits would take a more significant book than I have the time to write right now! Currently, Sigtryggur is the Managing Director of ÚTÓN or Iceland Music. This organization promotes Icelandic music abroad, and I suppose few people are more suited for the job than Sigtryggur.

Great selection of Icelandic music wherever you go

The Iceland Music website has a great selection of playlists of Iceland music for streaming services such as Deezer, Spotify, and Apple Music. And I love their relaunch of the page with the tour dates for all Icelandic musicians and bands touring abroad. Moreover, each musician or band page has a playlist with their songs. It is a hopeful sign that things are getting back to normal after the pandemic. So if you see an Icelandic music act head to your town, you can familiarize yourself with their music.

Hey Sigtryggur, you just returned from South By Southwest. I assume you were promoting Icelandic music. How did that go?

I was at SXSW as a part of a delegation sent by Business Iceland, Islandsstofa. We took a look at the festival and evaluated it regarding whether B.I. should be partaking in some way in the future with Icelandic music, film, and tech.

Do you use your experience from your time with the Sugarcubes when you help Icelandic musicians and bands seeking attention internationally?

I think it is inevitable that I do that because not only do people know me as a sugar cube, but I also have contacts from that time that still make sense, and of course, the experience can be a valuable thing when it comes to networking. But having said that, every project needs to create its contacts and networking that fit that particular music, so even though I can always use my experience, I have to stress that what fit’s one project does not fit another.:-)

The page with the tour dates of music acts is just brilliant. How did you get the idea for that?

That is an old idea that was part of our website from 2011 until 2020 when live music had to take a break. I think the idea initially came from Anna Hildur, my predecessor at Iceland Music. It used to be called gig’s abroad, but we have now relaunched it as Iceland Music Live.

What Icelandic bands or musicians are you listening to these days?

I listened to Anna Gréta Sigurðardóttir and Laufey in Washington DC on Thursday. Still, I have vast music taste but regularly check our playlists at Iceland Music, which I recommend to anyone interested in new Icelandic music.

What up-and-coming new Icelandic musical acts should we be watching for now?

It depends on what kind of music you like; the funny thing is that there are music projects in almost any conceivable genre these days that are gaining an international audience; Laufey is a jazz singer, for crying out loud (pun intended), and so is Anna Gréta, but Kaleo is a bluesy indie band, and Vikingur Heiðar is a concert pianist, so go ahead, pick your genre and check what Icelandic artists are making waves:-)

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

Go to the swimming pool, any swimming pool:-). Then, go for a walk and create your soundtrack by going to our playlists.