Here is a transcript of Ómar’s appearance on the radio show “Vasadiskó” hosted by Birgir Örn Steinarsson from July 4th. 2011.
Listen to the show in Icelandic by clicking here.
Birgir: And here we have Ómar Hauksson… oooh that’s way too loud! Welcome.
Birgir: Ómar Swarez, where does the last name Swarez come from?
Ómar: It’s from Scarface
Birgir: Yes, of course!
Ómar: There’s a character named Omar Suarez , F. Murray Abraham plays him, he gets thrown out of a helicopter and hanged…
Birgir: He didn’t meet a good end…
Birgir: So you decided to freshen up your name
Birgir: Well, welcome to the show, you’re a brave man you’re here with your iPod and ready to put it on shuffle.
Ómar: Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens there’s a lot of different stuff on here from bubble-gum pop to death metal.
Birgir: Everything has happened here, people have come on this show and “Áhöfnin af Halastjörnunni” has popped up. Hemmi Gunn and stuff. You have nothing to worry about. But yes I was talking about it earlier in the show, everyone should know this by now, that Quarashi is having a comeback on Saturday.
Ómar: Yeah… shit… on Saturday?!
Birgir: It’s not even a week from now.
Birgir: So how’s the general feeling and how are rehearsals going?
Ómar: Rehearsals are going well and Höskuldur joined us last week, from England, it’s just as if he never left the band he took to it like a pro. It’s basically been smooth sailing, we’ve mainly been thinking about the arrangement. How we are going to mix everything and Galdur (DJ Magic) is very good at coming up with various ideas.
Birgir: Gísli Galdur
Ómar: Yes Gísli Galdur, he’s a total genius, he really livens up the show and it will most likely be very different from what we used to do back in the day.
Birgir: Yes this is going to be a fun reunion because you won’t just be doing a copy paste of your earlier work, not only will the music be different but you’ve also never been all together on stage before.
Ómar: No that’s never happened, it is quite interesting that that’s happening now, and of course Opee will be jumping on stage with us as well. So it will really be everyone who’s ever lent their voice to the band at any one point.
Birgir: But how well do people know each other? I mean like, Tiny came into the band some months after Hössi quit the band, do they know each other at all?
Ómar: No not at all, they met for the first time just last week.
Ómar: And of course it turned into a fist fight right away…
Birgir: Of course.
Ómar: Bottles flew and words were spoken… naw, it’s gone really well and everyone’s being a total sweet-heart. It’s just really funny to hear the difference in the music from Hössi’s days…or from the Jinx days until Guerilla Disco. It’s become harder and rocked-out. The older music was more hip-hop and electro. There’s quite a difference but hopefully it will blend well.
Birgir: You came into the band on Xeneizes, the second album right?
Ómar: I am on some song in almost all albums, except for Switchstance, I was a guest on the Egg it was I think Superwoman, then I’m in two songs on Xeneizes and then I was officially accepted into the band in 2000 and we went to New York and started working on Jinx.
Birgir: Had you been rapping before Quarashi?
Ómar: Yes, well it was of course a great event that happened back then in Músík Tilraunir when I performed with the first rap band to ever perform in that talent show. Tríó Óla Skans it was called, I was in it with my friends Kalli and Trausti.
Birgir: Yes Trausti.
Ómar: Kalli later joined Subterranean. And yes, we landed second place there and I was chosen best singer.
Birgir: What year was that 96?
Ómar: It was the year that “Soðin Fiðla” won…I don’t remember it was 96 or 7.
Ómar: We even recorded; it’s on my i-pod some songs from Tríó Óla Skans.
Birgir: In between 2000 songs it’s not very likely we’ll land on that
Ómar: No, but who knows! Well, we recorded some stuff and then I started messing around with Trausti and we met Erpur and Eyjó and were playing around with them a bit before the whole Rottweiler thing took off. And it was on the account of a Subterranean song in the movie Blossi that I got a call from Sölvi. When the soundtrack came out, he listened to it and contacted me and asked me to lay down some rhymes for a song.
Birgir: Right. So you didn’t know each other.
Birgir: That’s the way that is…. But should we see what your iPod does?
Birgir: There’s something weird going on here with the background music.
Birgir: It was meant to be the Orr with Little Fluffy Clouds but it seems it’s a weird copy… Anyways, I’m going to start up and see what happens… and the first song is… Mötorhead.
Ómar: Yes. Good choice.
Birgir: Are you a Mötorhead man?
Ómar: You could say that I dig the image of the band more than I do the band itself.
Birgir: Well, let’s listen to this.
– Mötorhead plays –
Birgir: It’s appropriate for the radio station, Mötorhead.
Ómar: Yes. Lemmy is a legend… great legend.
Birgir: What is it about Lemmy you like so much?
Ómar: I don’t know, he’s just a dude who doesn’t give a damn about anything. Does what he wants, and that’s something… he holds up well, he’s no idiot.
Birgir: Right, well what is this, Never go back – Expect the unexpected.
Ómar: Yeah… that’s YKZ, a Japanese group which Quarashi made a song with… off of that same album.
Birgir: Yes ok.
Ómar: Which we did because we were so incredibly famous in Japan…
Ómar: … the band requested a collaboration. The came to Iceland and we did a song for an album they were making. They’ve broken up though… they broke up shortly after the album came out. So it must not have done very good. But it was fun, they were nice guys.
Birgir: Did you rap over…
Ómar: Yes it was Opee and Steini and their singer and I howled in some chorus there.
Birgir: Aha. But that’s not this song?
Ómar: No it’s not this song. And… actually I do not care much for their music. There’s too much slap bass in it for my taste. I’m not a great fan of slap bass. That’s why I hate Seinfeld.
Ómar: They love the slap bass apparently. I don’t really know how big they were in Japan, way played with them in Toyko at some place and the atmosphere was pretty good. And I haven’t heard much from them since then.
Birgir: Did you tour Japan a lot?
Ómar: Yes, twice.
Birgir: Twice and played a few times.
Ómar: Yes we took part in the music festivals they have over there every year, Summer Sonic and umm… Winter Sonic? Summer sonic is during the summer and the other one in January/February in Tokyo and Osaka. These festivals are massive.
Birgir: Yes, we always get to see… Whenever someone mentions Quarashi on TV they show those clips.
Ómar: Exactly, Summer Sonic. There were 40.000 people jumping around there, it’s good for the ego… to see that.
Birgir: Last time I heard they had sold 6.000 tickets to Besta Útihátíðin so you will get a taste of that again.
Ómar: Yes a little taste, some percentage. But of course for Iceland this is awesome, and I hope more people will come, it’s always fun when more people come along. The band gets more powerful as a result.
Birgir: You… have you done anything musically since Quarashi broke up?
Ómar: No nothing at all, well the last time I was in a studio I recorded a song with Buff, just because they are my friends and they asked me to do it. It was a song called Amores Perros which was on the album Selfoss… and yes, that is the last time I recorded anything.
Ómar: Since then I’ve just been messing around with GarageBand.
Ómar: The missus got an iPad and I’ve been messing around with GarageBand. Clever gadget… limited.
Birgir: Right. Damon Albarn did a whole album on…
Ómar: Yes, i think it’s very cool to try it and I think a lot of music nerds have it and mess around with it. It can be fun. But I’ve never seen myself as a musician and I’ve never written a song in my life.
Birgir: Until now.
Ómar: Exactly, I’ve got a few 15 second hits on there.
Birgir: Yeah. You work as a graphic designer don’t you?
Ómar: Yes for Fíton.
Birgir: And i know you are a great movie enthusiast and a dabbler.
Ómar: Yes I am a big collector nerd and…
Ómar: Styx are in the house. This is a fantastic song! And is actually disgustingly long but it’s an awesome song none the less. It’s a song I’ve always wanted to karaoke but the pitch that singer reaches is insane.
Birgir: Isn’t that the best part, to try songs you’re not quite sure you can do?
Ómar: Yes that’s of course part of it. But this is just so devilishly long and karaoke is only funny for so long.
Ómar: But this song for instance I discovered… well I had heard it before… but I was watching either Freaks and geeks or undeclared, great shows which I recommend, and this song was in one of the episodes during a prom scene. There is a powerful rise there at the end, a very epic part which I just thought was hella amazing so I went and searched for the song.
Birgir: Did you get goose bumps?
Ómar: Yes. It’s about as epic as it gets.
Birgir: Let’s listen to it. Styx.
– Styx plays –
Birgir: That was an insane note right there.
Ómar: Yes, good stuff.
Birgir: Gome sail away, and we are listening to the iPod of Ómar from Quarashi. This is magnificent.
Ómar: The question is what comes up next.
Birgir: You never know. I’ve often wondered about how the shuffle works. Do you think there is some program working behind it?
Ómar: No, I think… but if you turn on Genius it will chose songs by genre.
Birgir: Yes and calculates… tries to find out… I find it very weird.
Ómar: Yes it’s…
Ómar: Hey, The Used! That’s a bit… well it’s also a band that’s linked to Quarashi. This is a band we toured with in America during the Warped tour. We’re good friends with these boys. They’re insane, especially their singer Bert, who’s probably best known for having dated Kelly Osbourne, he appeared on the Osbournes and stuff. He looked like a smaller and punier version of Kurt Cobain and was a completely insane junkie but he’d been to rehab to stop shooting up, so he didn’t shoot up anymore. I felt they were an OK band, they are a bit on the pop, punk, screaming side…
Birgir: Very American college rock.
Ómar: Yes. Very American. But there is something about it I like, and the album is well produced. And the boy is a good singer, and what he became best known for was that when he put a lot of strain on his voice and screamed a lot he would throw up on stage, which people found very interesting and they waited around for him to do it. So he would scream and bleurghhh… threw up on the stage.
Birgir: And people just applauded?
Ómar: Yes people were very excited by this, to see if he would throw up or not.
Birgir: Great set by The Used, he threw up twice!
Ómar: He came to watch us regularly. They were good guys.
Birgir: You didn’t meet Kelly Osbourne?
Ómar: Yes… well I didn’t shake her hand or anything but I was waiting for an elevator at a hotel we were staying in and she and the guy came out of the bathroom giggling. In memory I think I nodded at them, you know, something polite and she giggled some more. Shortly after that I saw the whole crew outside on the street, I was waiting at some lights and they were standing behind me, Mrs. Osbourne and everyone… not Ozzy though.
Birgir: Wasn’t it a bit of a weird and surreal time when everything was happening for Quarashi?
Ómar: Yeeesss… it’s a… not everyone gets a chance to do this. What do you have there?
Birgir: This is MGMT from the album Congratulations and is called Someone’s missing. This stuff is alright.
Ómar: It’s actually… one of those bands where I only like their hits, the rest is nothing special to me. But this is one of those bands that couldn’t handle fame so instead they released an experimental album.
Birgir: Strange move.
Ómar: Yes, they had to hold up some street credit they thought they had going for them.
Birgir: They were lined up to be a mega pop sensation and then this album came out…
Ómar: … and ruined it.
Birgir: Yeess… well at least it didn’t help.
Ómar: I think maybe they were avoiding… trying to not get people’s expectations up. That they could make anything other than hits
which they managed to do… they only made boring songs after that. I listen to their hits and that’s it.
Ómar: But yes, the Quarashi adventure was very surreal. We travelled everywhere and spent a whole summer just travelling the world and performing in places which if i hadn’t been in the band I never would have gone to.
Birgir: Exactly, and will maybe never return to.
Ómar: Who knows when I’ll be going to Australia again? It’s was rather sad to miss the Big Day Out which is a music festival in Australia that goes on for a long time and for the biggest part you just relax cause it takes so long to travel between places in Australia, sometimes days. I would have dug that… just chill around in Australia, play a few gigs and experience the place… but that didn’t happen.
Birgir: Did you play often in Australia?
Ómar: No, just once. And that was in… I want to say Sydney and Brisbane. It was quite special, we performed on a live pop show, outside somewhere in some town i think, close to Brisbane… and we weren’t really feeling it… Hey Elton is playing.
Birgir: He’s arrived.
Ómar: He’s always good. Elton’s a legend. But yes, everything was messed up without computer and we all felt a bit silly there on live tv and finally managed to finish Stick ‘Em Up and we sort of just trashed the stage. That was very fun. We broke the drum set which wasn’t ours and devastated everything out of pure frustration, it just wasn’t a good day for us… and this you can actually see on YouTube, this performance. I think even… no… it turned out quite interesting because of how irritated we were and it livened up the stage. And then we performed the next day in Sydney and I don’t remember what it was like, it can’t have been very interesting.
Birgir: Does it all blend together?
Ómar: Yes… it does. Especially the American tour, each day was pretty much the same.
Birgir: Yes, you were at the Lollapalooza festival.
Ómar: No it was Warped. The Warped tour.
Birgir: That’s some sort of program.
Ómar: Yes, it’s lots of bands travelling America and performing in parking lots outside stadiums and it’s a huge thing.
Birgir: Did you perform every day?
Ómar: Practically every day. And you really never know at which times you will be playing until the day of the performance, that’s when you go look at a time table and see how the bands have been arranged, who’s playing what stage. Some days we performed for thousands… I remember Las Vegas being the worst turnout on the tour and I think there were about 20 people watching us. But that was also right at the end of the day and the biggest band on the tour was performing at the same time, so smaller bands loose potential audiences their way.
Birgir: So it can just happen that you land on a time that is worse than another.
Ómar: Yes sometimes you are playing while nothing else is going on and then you get loads of people, like Good Charlotte which became famous after these tours so if you were performing at the same time as them you didn’t really stand a chance. Especially not on this tour since it revolves around that kind of music and it’s a genre that I find terribly boring and has no relation to punk… they always like to think they’re punk but there’s nothing punk about it. It’s some pop rock or something.
Birgir: It’s like cartoon punk?
Ómar: Yes, it’s an image like parents or middle aged people who design the clothes think punk looks like. So it was rockin’ at some points. Some days were good but some days were boring. But it was always very exciting… to see what would happen.
Birgir: So one day you may have been performing in front of a thousand people, then three thousand and then twenty?
Ómar: Yes, but the fun thing about the Las Vegas show is that we sold ten cd’s.
Birgir: That’s very well done.
Ómar: Yes, that’s 50% of the audience that bought the album after the show. We hooked some people. So yes… that’s how it was.
Birgir: Speaking of cd’s, I was looking for Quarashi cd’s the other day and they are all sold out. They are unavailable.
Ómar: Right, they were all pressed in limited supply and when they sold out they are just finished. And I don’t know, there has always been some demand… I don’t really know why people don’t just press new copies but I’m not good at the business part of all of this.
Birgir: You just show up…
Ómar: You just have to go on eBay and find it there.
Birgir: Or the torrent sites.
Ómar: Or the torrent sites…
Birgir: Not that we’re recommending that.
Ómar: I find it very irritating when that happens, even though I do it myself.
Birgir: Exactly, Beastie boys, that’s a band we have to… there is some Beastie boys influence in Quarashi.
Ómar: Yes, in a way. It’s a band we’ve always been compared to and they also have a connection to Quarashi.
Ómar: Because they were going to sue us because of Stick ‘Em Up.
Ómar: I don’t remember who it was, Ad Rock or someone, had rapped in a song for a movie called CB4.
Birgir: Great movie.
Ómar: And the song was called Stick ‘Em Up and they insisted that we had sampled a part of the song so they wanted to own the record and get all the revenue. But we just sent them a list of songs called Stick ‘Em Up where the chorus was also Stick ‘Em Up and then we just explained that we’d not been thinking about their song.
Birgir: Fun to be sued by a band you are a fan of.
Ómar: It’s very cheering. But after that they dropped it.
Birgir: There is many a Quarashi story popping up here.
Ómar: Yes, I only listen to music that is related to Quarashi.
Birgir: Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying, that there is some consciousness picking the songs. I feel like if I put on shuffle I will get a special Sunday blend if it’s a Sunday or if I ‘m talking about something there will come…
Ómar: I actually don’t use shuffle ever… I become attached to albums and listen to them repeatedly until I get sick of them and move on. So when I scroll down my list I’ll just think not in the mood, not in the mood etc. etc. I just want to listen to something specific and then I’m good. I’ve been listening to the Lonely Island a lot lately.
Birgir: Yes, they are good.
Ómar: They are very good. Before that I was listening to a death metal group called Dethklok which is actually a band from a animated series called Metalocalypse which is a fantastic series and is shown on Cartoon Network. The creators behind it have released two death metal albums with the band and they are ridiculously good. And I listened to that a lot.
Birgir: I hear you are all over the place.
Ómar: Yes, yes, totally.
Birgir: We have time for one more song and that is Sonic youth… like I was saying, music from all over the place.
Ómar: Yes, Sonic Youth is a refreshing band.
Birgir: Shouldn’t we just let them play… wow that was a surprise, completely by accident. Sonic youth, this is the song The Empty Page of the Murray Street album. So Ómar… time is up. It has been fantastic having you here and thank you for sharing the Quarashi stories, I will definitely be at Besta Útihátíðin watching you guys.
Ómar: Yeah, won’t you. (laughs) I hope a lot of people will show up. This will probably be loads of fun… and strange… it’s an historical event.