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Gus Gus on Iceland, Disgusting Drinking and 24 Hour Nights

Author: Jonty Adderley (
Saturday, January 25, 2003
"It's true that there's a lot more depression associated with darkness and there's certainly a lot of depression in Iceland," says President Bongo Gus Gus ('A lot', Lady Earth agrees).

"But there's lots of depression everywhere; look at California, they don't have any weather at all, just sun all day, every day and that's the most boring thing on earth."

Sitting alongside fellow bandmates Biggi Viera and Buckmaster in the kitchen of their London management offices, Icelandic quartet Gus Gus are anything but depressed, trading jokes and cheerfully correcting each other with impressively harsh directness. Lean and mean, after trimming down from 17 members, the foursome look poised for serious success in 2003, courtesy of their filthy house meets electro based album Attention, which came out on Darren Emerson's album at the end of last year. They've also attracted the support of UK tastemaker Pete Tong, who made their new single David, his Essential Tune for January, in the latest Mixmag.

"One of the most underrated tunes of the last few months, this looks set for hit status," he predicted. "I wasn't sure at first but now it's one of my firm favourites from 2002." Skrufff's Jonty Adderley asked the questions.

Skrufff (Jonty Adderley): You had a two year gap between performing in London, is playing here a big deal-

Gus Gus (Biggi): "No, it's no big deal (chuckling softly)."

Skrufff: How important is playing live for Gus Gus in general-

Gus Gus (Biggi): "It's really important for us, it's a key aspect of what we do and it's also the fun part."

Skrufff: Do you generally perform new material-

Gus Gus (Biggi): "We only play new stuff. We don't have a concrete concept as such but we feel it's unnecessary to 'dig old holes' (play old tracks). Also, with all the changes that have happened to the band, the music from then is consigned to the past. We feel that we want to play what's going on now."

Gus Gus (President Bongo): "In a way, it feels like we've got a brand new line-up in the band, we have a new concept going on. For example, it's difficult to mix the old visuals with the new ones, so we've used entirely new ones. We want to introduce it as a new project rather than trying to buy some credit from the old Gus Gus stuff."

Skrufff: You've had 12 members in the past then 9, are the other Gus Gus members welcome to rejoin-

Gus Gus (Lady Earth): "They cannot come back" (all laugh).

Gus Gus (Biggi): "Well, some of them cannot come back. The former lead singer is still a really close friend of us all and he did one track on the new album."

Skrufff: Did you have a clear idea for how the album would sound-

Gus Gus (Buckmaster De La Cruz): "The only clear thing was that we wanted the music to be fun."

Gus Gus (Biggi): "We wanted it to be all kinds of things and it evolved, which was how we wanted it to end up. There's a punk element in the band, not punk music but rather that punk attitude of ripping yourself out of the ordinary, getting rid of what works and looking forwards and doing new things."

Gus Gus (President Bongo): "Also, the first two tracks we finished were Unnecessary and David which gave us a solid idea of how we wanted the whole record to be. So that retro, punky, disco, high energy flavoured early 80s thing coloured the rest of the album. A bit anyway."

Skrufff: The cliche media view of Iceland is that it's a small place where everybody knows everybody else, ('that's true'), how is the club scene in Iceland these days-

Gus Gus (Biggi): "It's not very happening."

Gus Gus (Lady Earth): "The scene in Iceland- I disagree, I'd say it is very happening."

Gus Gus (President Bongo): "| mean the DJ kind of thing is not happening in Iceland, dancing. Though there's a monthly electro club that's really good. We've had Felix Da Housecat out recently."

Skrufff: Is being a musician considered a high status occupation in Ice