D//E Interviews: Hugar

Having very recently released their excellent original score for the very interesting documentary, The Vasulka Effect, Icelandic duo Hugar look upon another successful year. 

Musicians Bergur Þórisson and Pétur Jónsson discuss their creative process, their connection to the film and more about their music and future plans in the interview which follows.

What made you decide to score The Vasulka Effect? What did attract you most to the film?

Everything about this project was exciting! The film is about Steina & Woody Vasulka, visual artists that are now being considered of being one of the pioneers of video art. They were around in the New York seventies art scene and we follow how they develop as artists. That was really interesting aspect for us and we immediately gravitated towards the project. 

Do you see Hugar doing more film work in the near future?

Definitely! This is something we will be doing more of in the future. We find this form of creating music really exciting and it is always good to challenge yourself with puzzles you have to solve. 

What kinds of films do you think would be a more matching fit to the band's sound?

If the story would speak to us then anything is possible. It would be exiting to explore all kinds of different genres further and find creative solutions in the process. 

How different is the creative process when working on a soundtrack compared to the work done for a standalone record? 

You have to understand the story and what the film is trying to accomplish and being on the same page as the director. For a standalone record it is more from your own mind and finding your own voice. 

Is the creative process usually more improvisational or does it involve more strict compositional methods?

A little bit of both. Sometimes the ideas are born from improvisation and sometimes more strict methods. It really depends on the time and the place and what is being worked on at the time. For the songs on The Vasulka Effect it was a lot through experimentation and playing around with vintage sound generators and tape machines. We felt that this method served the story in respect of the artists creative process and felt natural at the time. 

You've come a long way in a short while since the band's beginnings, and you've collaborated with many first class artists. How has the journey been so far and how do you imagine the future for Hugar?

The journey has been really exciting and a great experience. Hopefully that will keep being the case and we’ll be writing and releasing more music and doing more film scores in the future. 

'Genre-defying' has been a term frequently used to characterize the sound of Hugar. How would you describe your sound?

That is a good question. When living in Iceland you experience all kinds of different forces so one way would be dynamic.

Do you think your surroundings have been a catalyst in what shapes the music of Hugar?

For sure. We believe that the surroundings plays a big role even if it’s going on without you realizing it. If you live right by the ocean and walk past it everyday than you would probably find aspects of that in the creative work. And coming from Iceland, where there is so much dynamic in nature and in the people, that must play a big role when comes to the creative process. 

How is life in Reykjavík?

The life in Reykjavík is peaceful and at the same time vibrant. It is a really good place for doing creative work and writing music. There is always an inspiration around the corner. 

Are there any near future plans after the album and film's release?

Hopefully we’ll be seeing the situation in the world get better soon and we’ll all be able to come together again and experience music together live in concert. In the meantime we’ll be writing new music and hoping for the best.

Band photo by Anna Maggy

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