Q&A With Seabear's Sindri Mar Sigfusson


Words by Chip Adams + Photos by Seabear

Typically with bands that we feature as a Tripwire On The Cover, we at least know something about them. We've been familiar with their music and history to a certain level. This was not the case with Seabear at all. The more I listened to their album and the further I researched the background of its various band members, the more I really began to appreciate what a fantastic album The Ghost That Carried Us Away truly is.

To dig even deeper, I had a chance to ask frontman Sindri Mar Sigfusson a few questions when the band returned from this year's Iceland Airwaves Festival. Here are the results:

C: So exactly what is a Seabear?

S: It's a band of seven people these days. Not a real animal I'm afraid. At least not yet.

C: The music I typically hear from Iceland is less than straightforward, ranging from the epic Sigur Ros to the obscure Mum. Seabear's is much more stripped down, simple and honest. What inspired you to create this type of music?

S: I'm not sure. We don't exactly sit down and discuss our music direction. We just try to do what feels right to us. I think lots of bands from here work that way.

C: How did Seabear go from a one-man musical project to a band of seven members?

S: When I got asked to play live I got two of my friends to play with me. I guess everyone started out as kind of session players but then it turned into band as we played a lot of live shows together and it just works well. Everyone in the band also played on The Ghost That Carried Us Away.

C: Now that you have a good-sized group of musicians around you, has the songwriting process become more of a collaborative effort?

S: Yes I think so. We're making a new album these days and me and the drummer have been recording demos together first. Then the other guys do their own thing over that. Everyone arranges their own parts of the songs so I'm pretty aware of leaving space for the other guys in the songs.

C: I know you attended the Iceland Airwaves Festival a few weeks ago. Did you happen to catch any artists/bands that impressed you?

S: There was so much to do over that weekend that it was insane. So I didn't catch a lot of bands, hardly any actually. I was really impressed by Skakkamanage, Kimono and Múm. I also liked Grizzly Bear very much.

C: I read that your studio is in the same building as a book company and a photography studio. Do you and/or your fellow Seabears dabble in other areas of art?

S: Yes me, Inga and Dóri have B.A´s in visual art from the Iceland Academy of Arts. Gugg and Sóley are in school studying music composition and violin. All of us also have other projects/bands that we work with.

C: If I ever found myself traveling to Iceland, should I pack my saxophone so I can be an honorary Seabear for the day?

S: Hehe. the saxophone is actually a very controversial instrument in Seabear. We have long heated discussions about it on a regular basis. Orn Ingi wants to get a saxophone earring actually. But yeah our friends have been known to jump up on stage with us when they feel like it.

C: Time for the ultimate generic music interview question. Get ready... (in cheesy interview voice) So what have you been listening to lately?

S: Well right now im listening to the new Beirut album. It's very nice. I've also been listening to Rufus Wainwright, Spoon, The National, Jolie Holland, Arcade Fire, Animal Collective and Kings Of Leon lately. From Iceland my favorites albums this year are Olöf Arnalds, Hjaltalín and Múm.

C: For those of us who haven't seen Seabear live yet, do the songs take on a different life on stage, or do they remain close to the original sound on your recordings?

S: I think most of them sound different live. We also change the songs when we get bored of them I guess. I think the concerts are a bit more upbeat than people expect if they've heard the album.

C: Are there any plans for you guys to come over to the US for a tour?

S: We are talking to some US booking agents these days so I hope we can make it over in 2008!

C: I loved the photos you all took of each other for our photo gallery. It seemed like Seabear has a mighty good time together. Is there a favorite beverage amongst the band?

S: Yes we have a lot of fun together. Me and Dóri we like whiskey a lot. The girls like red wine. Orn Ingi and Kjartan drink beer most of the time. We have had a few coctail nights when traveling and then I would say that the Mojito is the drink of the band.

C: If Seabear was a sandwich, what kind of sandwich would it be, and why?

S: That's a hard one. I think it would have to be two sandwiches. One with lots of salted meat on it for Dóri, Kjartan and Orn Ingi, and one juicy vegetarian sandwich for me and the girls.

C: So we need to get Seabear to Austin. How do I make that happen?

S: Sell your apartment and pay for the travels of seven people to America! I'm pretty sure we'll make it over
there sometime soon.

Morr Music

Q&A With Seabear's Sindri Mar Sigfusson