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Icelandic Artist Brynja Discusses Her Debut Album ‘Repeat’ and Memorable Career Moments

Icelandic artist Brynja discusses the writing process behind her album ‘Repeat,’ being an independent artist, and the most memorable moment of her career.

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Some artists’ creativity goes so far beyond just simply music that calling them a musician would be an oversimplification. Brynja is more of an artist of the multimedia variety, talented and capable in so many different art forms. The Icelandic singer-songwriter released her full-length debut album Repeat this past October, with 13 songs that emphasize her worldly, multi-genre approach to songwriting. What you hear on Repeat is a result of a combination of natural talent and many years of study and training in contemporary dance at Listaháskóli Íslands, known in English as the Iceland University of the Arts, and audio engineering at the SAE Institute in Amsterdam.

With such a varied musical upbringing, Brynja can draw on so many different outlets when it comes to writing songs and expressing herself musically. Although dark in some respects, her songs emit hope, covering a wide variety of themes and topics, such as love and the journey of life, as well as more contemporary global issues, like global warming and social inequality. Outside of music, Brynja also has a mixed art exhibition in the works, set to take place this year. She is also tentatively planning a panel that she will host on sustainability in the music industry.

We recently spoke with Brynja for a chat to get to know her better as an artist and a musician. We discussed the writing process behind Repeat, being an independent artist, the most memorable moment of her career, and more!

Your debut album, Repeat, was recently released. Now that it is out, how do you feel about it, and what has been the response so far?

Brynja: “I feel very good, proud of myself and everyone involved. In a way, it feels weird to let go of this project that has played such a big role in my life for the past four years. I was preparing myself for the release grief, but it hasn’t really hit me. Maybe because I still have things coming up for it, music videos, shows, and more. Or maybe because I’m excited to have a blank canvas in front of me, a new opportunity to create.”

When you write, do you do so with the live setting in mind, or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?

“I don’t. I try to not think too far ahead when I go into the studio because I feel like thinking of the outcome can interrupt the flow. I try to just follow where inspiration leads, be present and open to ideas that come in the moment. I can decide later if they are any good or not.”

What is the story behind the name of the new record?

“I wanted the album to take the listener on a journey through a scale of emotions; anger, fear, and confusion. Hope, joy and acceptance. You arrive at acceptance with the last song, ‘Aftur & Aftur.’ The title Repeat implies that you never fully arrive. It’s only temporarily before you start the cycle again.”

Artwork for the album ‘Repeat’ by Brynja

This album is self-released; tell us about your experience going it alone as an artist. How hard is it to get your music distributed, promoted, shared, etc.?

“I don’t feel like I’m going it alone. I have so many people working on this project with me. The album was largely created in a studio in Den Haag that I shared with a group of musicians that became some of my closest friends. This environment motivated me a lot, and I’ve never felt this kind of support for my music.

“Before, my music was more of a hobby. Around the time I started working on the album, I made the decision to give music more space and see at it as a career, which meant I had to start promoting it and promote myself. That wasn’t something I was interested in before, but now I kind of see it as a game. I think I can even go so far as to say that it’s a game I enjoy playing. Especially because I’ve got some of the best people playing it with me.”

Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?

“I recently moved back from the Netherlands to my home country of Iceland. There’s something very special about the music scene here, and I see it clearly after living abroad for a while. It’s insane how much good music is being made here. And living in a small society definitely has its perks, as people working in the music industry are quite accessible. And helpful.

“I do receive support from my fans which I’m very grateful for; I’ve got a small but loyal fanbase of people sharing and caring for my music.”

What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

“There are so many memorable moments. I’d say one of them is the first session I did with LUVR, who produced and wrote Repeat with me. In our first session, we wrote ‘Easy’ and created the production for ‘Aftur & Aftur.’ It’s memorable because it felt like the beginning of something special.

“Oh, if I can name two, another memorable moment is when one of my songs got featured on the Netflix series Katla. I remember having to read the email I got a few times and pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t mistaken.”

When recording your latest batch of tunes, did anything strange, wonderful, or terrible occur?

“So many strange, wonderful and terrible things occurred (the COVID pandemic being quite strange and terrible). The process brought me to highs and lows, some of my all-time favourite memories were made during that time, and other parts were quite challenging. There are things I’ve just wanted to keep for myself and not share publicly. Perhaps one day I’ll share some more stories.”

What are some of the newer artists that you are listening to or enjoying?

“I discovered Noname the other day, and I’ve been listening to her music obsessively.”

Do you have any rituals before you hit the stage? If so, what are they?

“I love going to the pool; it always calms me down, going to the hot tubs and the sauna. There’s no better way to clear my mind and get ready for big moments.”

Do you have any touring plans in support of the new recording?

“I’ve got a release concert scheduled on March 23rd. After that, I’d love to hit the road and play the album for you all, but at the moment, there are no concrete plans. Find me on socials to keep up to date.”

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take three CDs with you for eternity, assuming there was a solar-powered CD player, what would they be?

“Easy. Seat at the Table by Solange, Blond by Frank Ocean, and Fisherman’s Woman by Emiliana Torrini.”

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

Alternative/Rock

The V13 Fix #004 w/ Darkest Hour, Glitterer, LowLives and more

From pop to metalcore, experimental grindcore to indie, each week The V13 Fix will bring you a roundup of all the new music worth hearing…

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The V13 Fix

Welcome to the latest The V13 Fix our weekly round-up of some of the best albums, singles and EPs to drop in our laps/inboxes this week. From pop to black metal to experimental pop to punk rock, there is something for everyone in this mix of new music. Check out and support all the bands and labels if you like what you hear and if there is a particular album you like, make sure you head over to Spotify and check out one of our specially curated playlists where there is more great new music added daily.

Alternatively, if you’re in a band or want one of your bands considered for inclusion get in touch. While we can’t guarantee every album or EP we receive will be included, there are still plenty of other ways we can support you.

So, without further ado, sit back, plug in your headphones and get this week’s V13 Fix of new music…

Crossfaith
Zero’ [Single]

When Japanese genre-smashers Crossfaith exploded onto the scene with their brutal, electronic-laced metalcore, the world sat up and paid attention. Well, after twelve months regrouping, the band are back with this new single, a massive statement that they’re ready to pick up where they left off but with a new energy. This new slice of heaviness from the band is packed dangerously full of pulsating electronics and pummelling metalcore. Equally as explosive as it is anthemic, “Zero” heralds a new chapter from the band who, after hitting the reset button twelve months ago, have returned with a vengeance.

Pick up your copy of “Zero” from here.

Darkest Hour
Perpetual | Terminal
MNRK Heavy

It’s incredible when you realise that Perpetual | Termainal is the tenth album in the rollercoaster career of US metalcore/metallic hardcore mob Darkest Hour. Spirit and dogged determination has kept the band going to this point and it is a theme which provides the heartbeat of this savage collection. Guitarist Mike Schleibaum explains: “The record’s theme centers around the duality of survival while embracing rebirth,” and, hearing the band hurtle through each of the eleven tracks, Perpetual | Terminal certainly feels like the sound of a band who have been reborn. An uncompromising, unrelenting metal assault, Perpetual | Terminal highlights exactly why heavy music would be worse off without Darkest Hour in it.

Pick up your copy of Perpetual | Terminal from here.

Morta Skuld
Creation Undone
Peaceville Records

Now, even though the new wave of modern death metal bands is doing a sterling job in keeping the flag flying high for the genre, sometimes it’s nice just to take a trip back into some of the old-school bands. Having formed in Milwaukee in 1990, Morta Skuld are still battering away with their latest offering from the death metal stalwarts indicating no sign of slowing down. For fans of the likes of Obituary, Morbid Angel and Deicide, the band expertly combine groovy moshy sections, blastbeats with swamp born vocals. Creation Undone isn’t metalcore, it’s not deathcore, there are no symphonies, this is just straight between the eyes brutality.

Pick up your copy of Creation Undone from here.

M.U.T.T.
Dirty Deeds
Quiet Panic

M.U.T.T. are a trashy punk rock band straight from the gutters of the San Fransisco punk rock scene. There isn’t much you need to know about the kind of punk rock M.U.T.T. peddle except that it comes devoid of airs and graces. Taking a route one approach, M.U.T.T’s punk noise is covered in snot and packed with attitude. Formed from the ashes of Culture Abuse, the project has moved on from the more rock and roll stylings of their debut album, Bad To The Bone, into more trashy waters. Offerings like “Downtown Boy” come with a suitably unpleasant sneer plastered across their face and, while this EP might a fairly brief listen, M.U.T.T pack plenty of bite into those eighteen or so raucous minutes.

Pick up your copy of Dirty Deeds from here.

Gen & The Degenerates
ANTI-FUN Propaganda
Marshall Records

Alt-punk collective Gen & The Degenerates tattoo their principals proudly onto their debut album. Written to a backdrop of disaster, tragedy and misfortune, ANTI-FUN Propaganda comes from a world of late nights and early mornings, sexuality, gender politics and mortality. It’s a punk rock album at its beating heart but, as vocalist Gen puts it, comes with a humourous approach and a love of dirty disco pop. Lyrically, tracks like “Famous” may come from a dark, bleak place but, as the video for “Big Hit Single” highlights, there is a wry smile and a sense of sarcasm nipping away at the subject matter to make sure we don’t lose sight of the fact that, while a quick look outside your window will show a world imploding on itself, it’s important to enjoy what time we have while we’re here.

Pick up your copy of ANTI-FUN Propaganda from here.

Glitterer
Rationale
ANTI-

Following his previous band Title Fight ceased touring, lead singer and songwriter Ned Russin needed a creative outlet. The creative outlet soon manifested into what originally started out as solo project but, six years later, has blossomed into a fully-fledged band and the release of their fourth album, but debut as a full band, Rationale. An album with a sound deeply entrenched in the DC hardcore and indie rock scenes, Rationale is a rowdy listen packed with jarring indie guitars and slick pop melodies with the cohesiveness paying testament to the fact that Russin has found bandmates who share his creative vision.

Pick up your copy of Rationale from here.

Hands of Kalliach
Corryvreckan
Prosthetic Records

Spawned from the minds of Edinburgh, Scotland husband and wife duo have blended together melodic death metal melded with Scottish folk music to create an album that is a work of art. The title of the album is inspired by enormous whirlpool, Corryvreckan, which lies between some of the western isles of Scotland. As harsh yet as beautiful as the inspiration behind it, Corryvreckan is a jaw-dropping piece of work. Soaring passages of melancholic Scottish folk music crash into brutal death metal, like two perfectly matched components. Through the folk music, the pair capture a drama and the emotion that can only come from being truly living and breathing it. When matched up with the extremities of the death metal scene, the end result is utterly majestic.

Pick up your copy of Corryvreckan from here.

Job For A Cowboy
Moon Healer
Metal Blade

For fans of iconic progressive death metal outfit Job For A Cowboy, it’s been almost a decade since new music was last heard from the band. Having teased for a number of years, the band are now back with their follow-up to 2014’s Sun Eater pretty much picking up where the 2014 album dropped off. Unsurprisingly, Moon Healer is the kind of album you really need to invest your time and effort into to really appreciate. Skim over it and you’ll find another incredible album in the Glendale’s musical armoury. Dig under the surface and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world which thematically picks up the story from Sun Eater while musically delivers it in a tightly woven package of complex, experimental, progressive death metal.

Pick up your copy of Moon Healer from here.

Austrian Death Machine
Quad Brutal
Napalm Records

Ten years since their last outing, Austrian Death Machine are back with Quad Brutal, their first album for new home Napalm Records. Formed fifteen years ago by As I Lay Dying vocalist Tim Lambesis, the Arnie-inspired neck-wrecking death machine is back reinspired and reinvigorated. Joined by a bunch of friends from across the metalcore scene including members of Ov Sulfur and Wolves At The Gate, Lambesis is back with another full-throttle, adrenaline-fueled metal feast. With more muscle than your typical weights room, Quad Brutal is just pumped-to-fuck, beefed-up metal. There’s nothing fancy about this. No need to put your brain into gear, Quad Brutal is just here for when another couple of plates on the end of that bar just doesn’t seem enough.

Pick up your copy of Quad Brutal from here.

Royal Tusk
Altruistic
MNRK Heavy

To date, Alberta, Canada three-piece Royal Tusk have gigged with a veritable Who’s Who of Rock from Slash to Halestorm while, during the pandemic, frontman Daniel sang on viral at-home collabs with Stone Sour, In Flames, and Mastodon. Listening to the hard rockers third album and you can probably pinpoint all of those inspirations seeping through the thumping anthems. Full of hard rock bangers like “Fire In Your Veins” and “The Death of Common Sense” to “Hated”, Altruistic has the perfect blend of melody, singalong choruses and power. Of the album, bassist Sandy MacKinnon says “I really hope you want to blast it in your car and headbang” and we can’t think of a better way to enjoy Altruistic than that.

Pick up your copy of Altruistic from here.

Borkanagar
Fall
Century Media

Honouring commitments delayed by the pandemic means that it has been almost five years since we have heard a new full-length album from Norwegian progressive folk/black metal band Borknagar. Reading into the whole process the band go through to write an album though, you do get the feeling Fall would have taken as long pandemic or not. An unrushed, flawlessly-crafted peice of work, Fall sounds like Borknagar frontman Øystein G. Brun has worked tirelessly to ensure that every moment of this album plays out like a story. Blast of grim, violent black metal weave through epic passages of progressive rock and folk to tell a tale of survival. Heading towards their third decade, Fall feels like the Norwegians are still riding at the top of their game.

Pick up your copy of Fall from here.

Mother Mother
Grief Chapter
Warner Music / Parlophone

It’s fair to say that 2021’s album INSIDE catapulted Canadian indie rock troop Mother Mother to new heights. Piling up an incredible 300 million streams for said album Grief Chapter has some task ahead of it. The ninth album of their career finds the band at their most energized despite it focusing, lyrically at least, on themes of death and mourning. This is an album that transcends genres not only over the course of the twelve tracks but, as demonstrated on the brilliant opener “Nobody Escapes” or the stomping “Normalize”, many times within songs. An album which may come from a morbid place lyrically, by the end, will have you well and truly hooked.

Pick up your copy of Grief Chapter from here.

Lowlives
Loser’ [Single]
Spinefarm Records

It’s the year 2000 and Wheatus earworm “Teenage Dirtbag” is rapidly becoming one of the biggest hits of the year. An anthem for misfits, outcasts and losers, it’s a song we hold close to our hearts even 24 years later. Now, West Coast alt-rockers have gone and written their own version. A wonderfully hopeful slice of slacker rock, “Loser” has an almost pleading air to the chorus while the melody is lifted straight from the grunge/alt-rock 2000s. The track is taken from the band’s upcoming debut album, Freaking Out, so don’t worry if you’re going through that misfit phase because Lowlives have got your back.

Pick up your copy of Freaking Out from here.

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Indie

A Short Walk to Pluto Releases “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” Music Video

Indie rockers A Short Walk to Pluto have released the music video for their cover of Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

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A Short Walk to Pluto, photo by Ryan Brough
A Short Walk to Pluto, photo by Ryan Brough

Formed in 2018, A Short Walk to Pluto has developed a tremendous social media presence through TikTok and Instagram, where they regularly debut original music and covers of well-known classics. The band features Emma Armstrong (lead vocals), Max Kaiser (lead guitar, keys, synths), Danny Moriana (bass guitar, backing vocals, synths), and Jake Biggs (drums and percussion).

It was through that online presence that the band was discovered and recently endorsed by Howard Stern on his SiriusXM radio show. Though much of their success is owed to their social media engagement, it is their genre-defying original music and energetic live performances that have generated a loyal, consistent, and far-reaching following. This young and professional foursome is prepared to deliver a show that concertgoers will remember forever.

A Short Walk to Pluto have reimagined Tears For Fears’ classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” in their own style while highlighting the musical elements that make the sound special; powerful female pop vocals, rich guitars, dynamic bass, and driving drums. The original song continues to demand respect for its perennially relevant lyrics that encapsulate Gen Z’s attention-seeking mindset. A Short Walk to Pluto’s arrangement is inspired by the original’s ability to propel synth-pop to the forefront of pop culture in the mid-1980s, and they hope the same can be true of rock in the modern era.

Commenting on their remake, the band states:

“We wanted to reimagine this classic Tears For Fears song in our style while highlighting the musical elements that make our sound special: powerful female pop vocals, rich guitars, dynamic bass, and driving drums. The original song continues to demand respect for its perennially relevant lyrics that encapsulate our generation’s attention-seeking mindset. Our arrangement is inspired by the original’s ability to propel synth-pop to the forefront of pop culture in the mid-1980s, and we hope the same can be true of rock in the modern era.”

A Short Walk to Pluto “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” single artwork

A Short Walk to Pluto “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” single artwork

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Alternative/Rock

OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival Returns with Powerhouse 2024 Lineup

OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival dropped an unbelievably impressive lineup for their 2024 edition this week.

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OSHEAGA 2024

The OSHEAGA Music and Arts Festival dropped an unbelievably impressive lineup for their 2024 edition this week. The 17th edition of the festival will take place from August 2nd to 4th, at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Saint-Hélène, close to downtown Montréal. Headliners include SZA, Green Day, and Noah Kahan setting the tone for a diverse exhibition that is sure to appeal to the masses.

Representation is present for all genres at this year’s fest. Rock is covered by old-school legends Rancid, LA rockers The Linda Lindas, ’90s indie favourites Sleater-Kinney, and grunge icons The Smashing Pumpkins. R&B will be backed by hip-hop pioneer T-Pain, as well as Tyla, Ayra Starr, and Michaël Brun. Pop is represented by Mean Girls powerhouse Reneé Rapp, Euphoria star Dominic Fike, and alt-pop phenom Melanie Martinez. Indie will be covered by Irish musician Hozier and this generation’s Elvis, Stephen Sanchez. EDM will be showcased with sets by world-class producers like Martin Garrix and Labrinth.

If you’re someone who enjoys all types of music, this year’s OSHEAGA is a can’t-miss event. The lineup easily competes for the best of 2024. Tickets are on sale 2/21 for 3-day passes and 2/23 for single-day passes. Prices are as follows:

GENERAL ADMISSION TICKET / SINGLE-DAY: starting at $165 CAD
GENERAL ADMISSION TICKET / 3-DAY: starting at $395 CAD
CASINO DE MONTRÉAL GOLD TICKET / SINGLE-DAY: starting at $320 CAD
CASINO DE MONTRÉAL GOLD TICKET / 3 DAYS: starting at $745 CAD

PLATINUM TICKET / SINGLE-DAY: starting at $685 CAD
PLATINUM TICKET / 3 DAYS: starting at $1,620 CAD

Get your tickets while they last!

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