“I think the main difference between Icelandic and Faroese people is that Icelanders are bold risk takers, sometimes to a fault, whereas the Faroese tend to be more careful. I think I’m more of a risk taker though. Must be because I’ve lived in Iceland for such a long time, I’ve caught all their (bad) habits.”
Janus Rasmussen laughs out when telling about his origin and when I later google his home island I am completely amazed by the beauty of it. Going for a career as a musician already certainly takes a lot of risk taking, as well as always developing further as an artist. Janus, that we got to know as one of the half’s of fantastic electronic music duo Kiasmos, is now about to release his first solo album Vín on the 8th of March 2019 including the single “Lilla” on digital, streaming and 12″ Vinyl. We had a listen, fell in love with the sound and asked Janus for a quick chat.
Janus, when was the point in your life that you knew you wanted to be a musician? Is it something that roots back to your childhood?
Absolutely. It goes way back. I was about twelve when I started my own band. My friend’s dad is a musician, so at a young age me and my friend had access to all sorts of equipment we could play around with. Right from the start music was my main focus.
Your first points of contact with techno?
It must have been when I first moved to Iceland in 2007. The club scene was big there at the time. That’s around the time I met Ólafur and we started experimenting with sounds together. We would create songs and try them out at the clubs late at night. I guess you could say that was the start of Kiasmos. We had a really good time.
I think it ́s great that as a producer and musician you are not afraid of trying out new things and giving your music a new style as well. I truly love your work with Kiasmos and was excited to find out about your new solo album now. Where you scared about doing this solo project?
Thank you so much for that. Yes, I definitely had moments where I was really scared of going solo. It can be intimidating to put something out there that feels so personal to you. But I think the stress around it can work as a fuel as well. And of course sometimes I would feel great about it! The creative process is definitely a mix of highs and lows.
“There’s always a moment when you’re writing an album that you start questioning everything you’re doing.”
What´s the meaning of the album title „Vín“?
Vín means wine or alcohol, both in Icelandic and my native language Faroese.
Your new album is released via Christian Löffler ́s Ki Records. How did this come about?
I sent the record out to them right after I finished recording and we felt like we meshed really well aesthetically.
I am just listening to „Green Wine“ – it´s really catchy and stays in one´s mind which is great. Do you have a favourite song on the album – maybe one that is more personal than the others?
I think my favourite is “14”. I think it’s because it’s the last song I wrote for the album. I guess it’s true what they say: Your newest creation is always your favourite.
“I definitely had moments where I was really scared of going solo. It can be intimidating to put something out there that feels so personal to you. But I think the stress around it can work as a fuel as well.”
Amongst a few other people you mentioned your childhood friend Sakaris Emil Joensen lending you a hand for the album even some times just with some nice words to support. What were the most difficult moments for you in the whole process? ( like finding the initial song ideas, or knowing when the song is finished or, or…)
There’s always a moment when you’re writing an album that you start questioning everything you’re doing. It’s kind of hard to say exactly what it is that becomes so overwhelming. I think it’s just the fact that you’ve listened so closely to something for so long that you can’t see the whole picture anymore. So you just need to take a step back and get a fresh set of ears. But after a while it gets hard to stop – you just want to keep on creating.
What else I found really interesting is your statement about when you were recording the album “quieter” tracks sounded good loud as well, so it can be both used for studying or dancing depending on the volume. Is that something that you did intentionally or the songs just turned out like that?
It’s not necessarily intentional, but it’s also something I was aware of the whole time I was recording the album – if that makes sense.
Are you planning a tour with your new album?
I am! I’m joining Christian Löffler’s release tour and playing Sónar Reykjavík in April.
Are you actually still working with the Bloodgroup too?
No, Bloodgroup has been disbanded for a while. We’re all working on our own projects now.
Btw I love this story how you and Ólafur ( when touring with your other band Bloodgroup and he was your sound engineer) started speaking about techno in the tourbus. And so the foundation for Kiasmos was set. Do you believe in destiny or coincidence when such things in life happen?
I’m more of a believer in coincidence and this certainly was a good one! Right?
Do you often visit concerts yourself and if so what was the last concert you went to and really loved?
I don’t have the time to see many shows anymore since I started playing so much myself. But I try to whenever I have the time and energy. One of the best concert experiences I’ve had wasn’t actually very recently. It was one that really stood out. It was at the Barbican in London and one of Johnny Greenwood’s many projects, Junun, was playing. It was truly an incredible concert.
“The most important thing in life is? Just keep playing.”
I once had a wonderful Icelandic flatmate – he had such a great sense of humour and that kind of stayed with me as something typical Islandic. What would you say is typically Islandic about you?
It might be surprising to some but I’m actually from a small cluster of islands called the Faroe Islands. We share a very close, sibling-like contact with Iceland since we have a very similar language and political history. I think the main difference between Icelandic and Faroese people is that Icelanders are bold risk takers, sometimes to a fault, whereas the Faroese tend to be more careful. I think I’m more of a risk taker though. Must be because I’ve lived in Iceland for such a long time, I’ve caught all their (bad) habits.
What character traits do you admire in other people?
The most important thing in life is?
Just keep playing.