Transcript – Sölvi in Kastljós

Sölvi did an interview with Icelandic newsprogram “Kastljós” on the eve of the announcement of Quarashi’s return.

here to watch the interview at


The show begins with clips of Quarashi being shown.

Interviewer: Well, we went through Quarashi’s career pretty fast there, Sölvi, welcome.

Sölvi: Yeah, thank you.

Interviewer: So how did it feel to watch that?

Sölvi: A bit like meeting an old girlfriend at the movies.

Interviewer: (Laughs) Yeah, exactly. Well lets start at the beginning. Why are you guys coming back together? You are going to play one concert this summer the first or second weekend of July, the 9th of july it is I think?

Sölvi: Yes, the second weekend.

Interviewer: Why then and what is the story behind that?

Sölvi: There are many reasons, this is the 15th anniversary of Quarashi, we started the band in ’96 that’s when we released the first EP that aside the mood is just right, I mean there’s financial reasons of course…nah, but yes this is the 15th anniversary and so we felt it was the right time.

Interviewer: So, is this the last time you will be playing together?

Sölvi: Yes this will be the first, last and only time. We wanted to do this in style because really, it’s now or never, in five years’ time Steini will be using a walker and I’ll be doing…well God only knows where I’ll be. I’ll probably be speaking Icelandic with an accent. So we just wanted to do this now.

Interviewer: One of the things that characterized Quarashi was that there were a lot of changes within the band and people came and left. Is everyone coming back for this concert or is someone missing?

Sölvi: This is the original Quarashi line-up with me, Höskuldur and Steini and the later line-up with me, Ómar, Tiny and Steini. So those line-ups will come together in this concert. That’s why we wanted to do this. We’ve all spent a lot of time trying to forget this time and remove ourselves from it a bit but now we want to do this again and if we’re going to do this then we’ll do this together and we just decided that together. It wasn’t a hard choice to make.

Interviewer: No, but you guys did a whole lot of things, went touring around the world and played a lot of gigs, sold an amazing amount of records for Icelandic standards, about 500.000 copies or thereabouts.

Yes something like that.

Interviewer: How was the interaction between you, because there have been a lot of drama-stories about you.

Sölvi: (laughs) Drama-Stories…the drama-stories will be talked about in depth when the time comes. You know being in a band is like being in a marriage, everything rides on it, the finances, the respect, creativity…so it becomes a little bit crazy (laughs) but we can all laugh about it together now. It’s just…

Interviewer: A lot goes on…

Sölvi: I always say this, I would never advice my children to go into the music business. (laughs) I’d rather want them to practice football or something. But it’s a lot of fun but certainly quite crazy in between. A lot of mood swings.

Interviewer: But you guys became quite popular in Japan and there were a lot of people who knew about you in the USA as well. Why did that happen? How did you guys get to that place which so many Icelandic musicians are trying to get to but don’t seem to be able to reach?

Sölvi: Because we weren’t trying. We were just, we were having fun. We just decided that it was the five of us together, living in a little apartment in NY and we weren’t trying to do anything except have fun. We never tried anything other than just being a bunch of dudes having fun. And you know, we bullshitted more than we told the truth…and maybe we still do. We never took ourselves very seriously and certainly didn’t have any plans to take over the world.

Interviewer:It just happened.

Sölvi: Yeah it just happened. Then there’s also that this is very special music, Quarashi, it isn’t hip-hop and it isn’t rock it’s just some weird fusion that I can’t explain but that’s what’s beautiful about it.

Interviewer: Yes, you have everything from pure pop-songs up to punk.

Sölvi: Yeah, I have a certain addiction to pop which I find very hard to control (laughs) I just can’t control it, I really enjoy making catchy songs.

Interviewer: And you did make quite a lot of those, but are you going to use this opportunity and make any new material?

Sölvi: Nooo…


Sölvi: I don’t know…

(both laugh)

Interviewer: You haven’t planned this very well have you? Are you just going to get together and see what happens?

Sölvi: I can’t do it…no.

Interviewer: So that’s not going to happen?

Sölvi: No

Interviewer:But why did Quarashi quit? Why did you quit all of a sudden at that time?

Sölvi: Because it was time to call it a day. I think all bands have about a 10 year life-span in which they’re good. After that they should quit and if they don’t they’re not doing anyone any favours. It’s like an economy curve, it reaches a peak and after that it isn’t that interesting anymore.

Interviewer:So do you feel that you quit at the right time?

Sölvi: Yes.

Interviewer: So what are the guys doing now? You are an economist for a bank in Sweden, which must be very different from beating the drums for Quarashi.

Sölvi: Yes, I cannot deny that I am an economist. But I love poem-singing. That was part of the reason I went to Sweden. But Höskuldur studied literature and is in the Peace Corps in Lebanon amongst other things, he travelled there and was very impressed with both the country and its people. Steini is still just on his skateboard and the others are just pretty ordinary men. We’ve gone many places and are scattered around the world.

Interviewer: But you’re not worried, now that you’re getting back together after all this time that the dynamics of the group have somehow disintegrated and it just won’t be the same?

Sölvi: No I’m not worried at all.

Interviewer:You’re not worried at all.

Sölvi: We always had these tension filled-relationships, Quarashi, and I think all bands that are any good have a similar story to tell because without that tension nothing good can be created. That’s what I believe anyway.

Yes. Well the concert will be held on the 9th of July right?

Sölvi: Yes the 9th of July in God’s green nature in the south of the country.

Interviewer: Yes we’ll see what kind of dynamics will be created then. I thank you for dropping by Sölvi.

Sölvi: Yeah thanks for that.


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