July 21, 2014
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Christopher Caravello (Nole’Core) interviewed Guđmundur “Gummi” Óli Pálmason, drummer for Sólstafir, of Reykjavic, Iceland. The interview was meant to be done live during the Eistnaflug festival in Neskaupstađur, but was instead done via email.  Gummi discussed their first tour ever of the USA, their new album Ótta, and eating rotten shark flesh.

TYRONEHOOD: Ya’ll Just toured USA for the first time, East Coast. How was it, had any of you been to the USA before?

Guđmundur “Gummi” Óli Pálmason: Yes, I had been to New York a year before on vacation and half a year prior to that we were all in Florida. We played this Barge to Hell cruise that sailed from Miami to the Bahamas and back.

TH: What was your favorite city on the tour, do you feel like you gained a lot of new fans?

Gummi: We spent most time in and around Philadelphia so we liked that area a lot. Other places were mostly in-and-out kinda things, like tours often are. I hope we did reach a few new people.

TH: Do you have plans to do another tour there, and if so what part of the country

Gummi: We definitely want to come back and do a full North American tour. We're working on a few things but I don't want to make any promises right now.

TH: The new album Ötta will be out August 29th on Season of Mist, you have already released the single Lágnćtti, as well as the title track from it. Is this a good example of what the rest of the album will sound like?

Gummi: Yes and no. Each song has a really strong individual character. Lágnćtti and Ótta for example are two very different songs. But all the other songs are of course totally Sólstafir.

TH: Have you been playing any of the new songs during your recent shows?

Gummi: Yes we've played Lágnćtti and Ótta a bit this summer. We also did a special show at Eistnaflug in Iceland where we played 4 other songs from the album.

TH:  How has being from Iceland affected your style of music, if at all?

Gummi: I guess we would sound totally different if we were from London, you know. Being Icelandic and living in Iceland is something that puts a strong mark on our personalities, and our personalities are the force behind the music. But it's not a nationalistic, or a patriotic thing really, it's more subconscious.

TH: Obviously to tour and bring your music to other countries involves getting on an airplane and traveling a huge distance, was there ever a thought amongst the band to leave Iceland and be based somewhere else?

Gummi: The idea has of course come up in the past. I lived in London for a while after recording Köld, and Addi was in Glasgow. Svavar had lived in London previously and we did think about relocating the band there for a while but it never happened. Both me and Addi finished our studies there and we both moved back home. I really wouldn't want to live anywhere else as it is.

TH: You have played Eistnaflug before, it seems like a great way to not only showcase a ton of Icelandic bands, but to bring big bands from all over the world to play in Iceland for the first time. Does that excite you as a music fan and do you think it will continue to grow and compare to the huge summer festivals that take place in mainland Europe?

Gummi: I don't think it will ever be like the huge European festivals, I hope not, it would totally kill the appeal. But I'd like to see Eistnaflug grow into one of the respected festivals like Roadburn or Inferno, but with a heavy focus on Icelandic acts of course. It does excite me as a music fan to get the foreign bands over yes, and it also excites me as a band being a part of the international scene to be able to get some of my friends over to Iceland and introducing Icelandic metal fans to their music.

TH: What band were you looking forward to seeing play at Eistnaflug?

Gummi: Saktmóđigur, Strigaskór Nr.42, Kontinuum, Momentum, Bölzer, Zatokrev, At The Gates, Retro Stefson, HAM and Jónas Sig who was the only act I wanted to see that I missed due to laziness and I'm regretting it immensely! And then there were a handfull of other acts that I see when I can, but no biggie if I miss, like Brain Police and Dimma 'cause I've seen them so many times before.

TH: It is the middle of July and I just came here from Florida, so this is really fucking cold to me. Does it ever get hot in Iceland?

Gummi: No

TH: Have you ever seen a palm tree?

Gummi: Yes. In Florida hahaha

Have you ever eaten Hakarl (rotten Greenland Shark)

Gummi: Oh yes! And I like it a lot! Especially with Icelandic Brennivín!

TH: Do you like sports? What do you think of Aron Jóhannsson playing for USA in the World Cup instead of Iceland?

Gummi: No I don't follow sports at all, but there was a lot of discussion about this over here. Basically I understand him completely. Why shouldn't he play for the better team, with a chance of making something out of his career? Basically I think there was a lot of jealousy from the people that were criticizing him the most.