Futuregrapher – interview with Árni Grétar

He’s just released his second LP. He’s co-founder of Möller Records and a member of Weirdcore collective – founded by Biogen, the most important artist in his life. Loves sound of 90s and creates possitive music full of energy. Because of that energy sometimes he needs some support playing live, when he just can’t stand behind the keyboard and fling himself into crazy dance. His name is Árni Grétar, he reads Hašek and speaks Polish. Here’s my interview with Futuregrapher.

Bartek: First of all I want to ask you about the album title – Skynvera. I will not even try to translate it to Polish without your help (too many meanings for Skyn and Vera). What does it mean and why did you choose this title?

Futuregrapher by Ómar Sverisson
Futuregrapher by Ómar Sverisson

Futuregrapher: Skynvera is the guy on the label – on the front of the cover. It’s me (Futuregrapher) and Skynvera (label) on the cover. Arnór Kári, graffiti specialist, created Skynvera. I thought the relaxed spirit and the all-around welcoming eyes were fitting for my album – so I asked Arnór if he could do the art for my album. So the name had to be Skynvera. It was all fitting.

Bartek: I’m asking about it because the album title is the only verbal message in the kind of music you play. Ofcourse there is the energy, feelings, mood, etc. but no lyrics. Looking through Skynvera track titles I’ve found people, places, feelings and tracks nature. What is the key you choose to call the tracks?

Futuregrapher: It’s beautiful that you heard that – because that was one of my messages. The key why I choose to name the tracks is sometimes random, though. ‘Ray´s Pizza’ is called that because Chris, in the beginning, is talking about this pizza place. And he didn’t name the right place, so I named the track with the correct name. ‘Val Kilmer snertir mig’ (Val Kilmer touches me) is called that because it has a trumpet sample – and I love Kilmer´s Salton Sea (from 2002) – were he plays an amphetamine junkie and an trumpet player. Then things are named simply because I think of them when writing the track and so on.

Bartek: Skynvera is not the album that people can play in the background and doing other things, although there are more quiet, ambient pieces. It needs attention with all its acid flavours and jungle colours and gives the energy but it’s not drum’n bass. How would you describe your music?

Futuregrapher: I would describe my music being perfect for the Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. It fits nicely in the background when you’ve heard the album two or three times. It does has it cozy vibes, even though it is sometimes covered in acid and distorted drums.

Bartek: There are a few tracks that reminds me the good old times of computer demo scene back in the 90’s. For example FM Acid Lover and Keys Acid 2 with its 8-bit sounds. That brings me to a question, which all artists hates. Beginnings. What brought you to this kind of music?

Futuregrapher: It is my love for the 90’s. The old acid vibe. The old computer noises. My home did have the commodore 64 game computer – and my friends used to have the Amiga 500. We did play tons of games in it. Then of course the Nintendo and the Sega stuff. I remember hearing The Prodigy ‘Experience’ and falling in love with that square-y rave-ish sound. Then came Underworld. Aphex Twin. Stuff like that.

Bartek: Ok. Let’s leave Skynvera for the moment. Could you tell me about your musical inspirations? What artist or album are you listening to recently?

Futuregrapher: My home has been listening a lot to Muted (Icelandic producer), The Gentle People (Rephlex Records) and then I am always into my label’s stuff (Möller Records). I have also been listening a lot to everything from FAX +49-69/450464. Pete Namlook rest in peace.

Bartek: And if you had to choose only one Icelandic artist that is the most important for you, who would it be?  

Futuregrapher: Biogen (Babel). He is the reason I am here. He was in Ajax. One of the founders of Thule Records label. Weirdore creator (with Tanya Pollock). Love him always.

Bartek: You record your own music, make remixes for plenty of Icelandic bands, you run Möller Records which you co-founded, play (and dance!) live and live your life… Is your day really have 24 hours?

Futuregrapher: I also have a kid – my brilliant Jóhannes – and work at preschool + I have a girlfriend (she is also in a band – called Samaris). It’s a busy life – but that’s the best.

Bartek: I’ve mentioned Möller Records. Which of your releases would you recommend to Polish audience?

Futuregrapher: Check out Bistro Boy. If you are feeling blue – he can cheer you up. If you want to dance – he can make you dance. He’s my favorite. But all the people on the label are good. It’s quality electronica stuff.

Bartek: And back to Skynvera with two more questions… Who is talking about the childhood on Ray’s Pizza?

Futuregrapher: Two people: Chris Sea (musician and journalist) and Steinunn Eldflaug – also known as Dj Flugvél and Geimskip.

Bartek: Is it true that you’ve been reading The Good Soldier Švejk while recording the album? :) How did you like that book?

Futuregrapher by Ómar Sverisson
Futuregrapher by Ómar Sverisson

Futuregrapher: Hahaha. Yes! I have. That book is great. That character is so funny. And the story is so real – yet surreal. My granpa’s dog was called Svejk. That’s why I got back to my roots in reading it. But I always read. Keeps me more busy and focused.

Bartek: And the final question… Where did you learn to speak (a little) Polish?

Futuregrapher: I learned from my home village – Tálknafjörður. It’s in the Westfjords. In 1996 many polish people came to work in the fishing factory. So before I moved to Reykjavik – me and my friends were always working with the polish guys; cutting fish and telling jokes. I loved them. Still do. They started playing football with us as well – and we always won the state-cup. Was fun. And I can manage in speaking polish to polish people – but I can’t write it!

Photo: Ómar Sverrisson

You can read Skynvera overview (only in Polish) here.

Check out Futuregrapher website – futuregrapher.is

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