Sólveig Matthildur (drums, synth) from Kaelan Mikla & vocals in her solo project
A poet, a visionary, an extremely skilled musician. With the release of her recent singles that are harbingers to her new album ‘Madame Melancholia’, she gives a new meaning to the cinematic dimension of her sounds. SÓLVEIG MATTHILDUR opens up about her inspirations, cooperation, cinema influence, dreams and her individual approach to art.
Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Your music combines mesmerizing, a bit dreamy vocals and sounds with synth energy - it’s very personal, moving and from the very first sounds I listened to: ‘Unexplained miseries’, ‘Unexplained miseries & the acceptance of sorrow’, then ‘Constantly in Love’ and now ‘Politician of… Love’. I have always had a feeling your music is emanation of juxtaposing, diverse and yet rather dark emotions - melancholy, pain, sadness. It’s still very individual and personal. What first brought you to music? Where do you take your inspiration from?
Sólveig: Thank you for these beautiful words! I think you really understand my world of art. Juxtapositions and diversity are something I like to work with a lot. Mainly I am inspired by melancholy, I consider it a very beautiful state of mind, where everything from sadness to happiness, pain and joy, joins and becomes, melancholia. As a child I spent most of my time outside by the ocean or in lava fields close to my house. Playing with imagination and writing stories that have shaped me and my art a lot. When I was six years old, I started learning the flute and some classical music theory and continued this for 10 years. It shaped me a lot and, in this time, I played and learned a lot of other instruments, including piano, guitar, saxophone. I got very into jazz and funk music but when I became a teenager I started listening more to punk and trip-hop and would say that the bands that shaped me the most is MASSIVE ATTACK and THE CURE.
RoD: Is art a form of remedy for whatever negative happens or rather self-expression for you? Do you think it may have a therapeutic effect?
Sólveig: For me, art is a mandatory part of expression. I don’t think I would survive without it, because it is, yes, very therapeutic. Art gives a deeper understanding of the self and the world we live in. Characteristic aesthetic plays an important part be it in your videoclips or photo shootings.
RoD: Do you have any particular photos, paintings or movies that influenced your taste and visual perception?
Sólveig: I have very vivid dreams. Colourful and memorable and most of my videos are inspired by dreams I have. I like to recreate things that happen in the consciousness, bring it to life. It is usually red, uncertain of meaning, but can be related to in many ways. Paintings that influence me are mostly from surrealism and romanticism. Dahli and Friedrich together. Movies that influence me are from David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman and horror and thriller movies like ‘Suspiria’ and ‘The Antichrist’. The opening scene in ‘The Antichrist’ is, for example, one of the most beautiful and weird scenes I know of. A child falling out of a window while the parents have sex and a beautiful song by Händel in the background. It is a joining of three different and diverse moments of love, pain, lust, sorrow, beauty... Maybe it is a weird thing to like, but at least it is very inspiring to me.
RoD: Who is responsible for creating video clips for you? They all feature exceptional, very characteristic, poetic, ephemeral vibe that makes me think of Lynch movies in an instant. For example, the ones for ‘Utopian girl’, ‘The End’ or ‘Constantly in Love’. Are you the author of the conceptual part for them?
Sólveig: Thank you! My best friends Dean Kemball and Kinnat Sóley create my videos. I love working with them because I tend to have crazy ideas I want to bring to reality and they somehow manage to make that happen. The ‘Utopian Girl’, ‘Constantly in Love’ and ‘The End’ videos are all linked. When they are played all together, they become a story I have written about dreams of blinded love and lust, a hole you can fall into when obsessed with something. The videos show a woman following a red thread, that represents longing. The thread leads to a box of pearls, that represents beauty, that you fall into and become obsessed with. In this place she has fallen into the woman is bound down with threads of pearls. She breaks the thread and all other beautiful things around her, searching for a way out. She then finds many different doors and hallways which eventually leads back to reality. This story represents the main meaning of the album ‘Constantly in Love’ that the songs are on. It is about not allowing yourself to love or hold anything beautiful in your hands because you are so afraid of losing it. So instead you break the beautiful things around you, and you never again lust, so you will never again hurt.
RoD: ‘Politician of… Love’ - what is the new song about? Could you please tell me more about the background to the video that goes with the song?
Sólveig: ‘Politician…’ is a song of satire. The idea of the song originated from Kinnat who told me I looked like the “politician of love” while I was wearing my red pants-suit, talking about love. She is a graphic designer and asked me to write a song with this title so she could make the cover art for it. It is good to not take yourself too seriously all the time. The video we recorded on tour with KAELAN MIKLA, between load-in and soundcheck. We had the idea of bringing a golden mannequin in as the politician I talk about in the song. So, in the video I am basically trying to make the mannequin love me, but the love I feel isn’t real, points me to wrong directions in life and eventually becomes an obsession of something you can never have.
RoD: We seem to live in the world dominated by loneliness and technology, however, love and emotions in general seem to play a major part in your music. Do you think it’s love that is the most important factor that drives us through life? What would you say are other important things in your life that contribute to your art?
Sólveig: Well, I like to say, “love is such a great metaphor”. You can love people, animals, nature, ideas... Love is something everyone wants, something that everyone needs. Love is to some people like an ultimate goal, something you search for, find, get and “live happily ever after”, like in the movies. But I like to use it as a metaphor for sadness, melancholy, to reach happiness, to become your best self. But like love and happiness and other states of mind, it is fleeting, it is something that grows, something you search for, something fragile and like everything, it has a beginning and an end. Like life and death. So, love is definitely something I consider a life driving metaphor. Other things I contribute to my art is the self, the unconsciousness, dreams, loneliness and things that happen in solitude.
RoD: Could you please tell me more about your cooperation with KAELAN MIKLA?
Sólveig: KAELAN MIKLA is a band that two of my friends and I started in 2013. We have released three full length albums and toured all over! Our aesthetics fall more into dark Icelandic fairy-tales and concepts of nature. At your album ‘Constantly in Love’ you work with other artists such as DEB DEMURE or DRAB MAJESTY, SOME EMBER, or HANTE.
RoD: Recently you took part in charity online event Gothicat. What were your impressions?
Sólveig: Live streaming is really cool! I also just recently had a show in Sweden at a festival called Kalabalik på Tyrolen and it was live streamed very professionally. In these times we have to find a way to make our music be heard, to keep the scenes alive. I really miss performing and hope this will all be over soon...
RoD: What can we expect from you in the nearest future?
Sólveig: Currently I am releasing new singles with videos that will lead to my third album; Madame Melancholia. I will perform in Denmark in September and next year I hope everything will be back on track. I have a fourth album in mind already with a concept I have been working on for several years, connecting my poetry, short stories and dreams and making them into a movie that I will make a soundtrack to which will be the album. I’m not sure when or how but it will come. There are very interesting and fun times ahead. Thank you so much for this great interview!
RoD: Thank you for your time!
All pictures by Dean Wallflower (https://www.deanwallflower.com)