My first steps… with Kiasmos’ Ólafur Arnalds

Kiasmos are Janus Rasmussen (on the left) and Ólafur Arnalds

As a project of two friends Janus Rasmussen and Ólafur Arnalds like to describe their common baby, electronic outfit Kiasmos. Conceived other many years in various relaxed recording sessions, last year’s debut album presented the listeners a rich techno-narrative one might have not expected from the two. For Pop-Kultur Kiasmos will now join our multi-level approach, playing not only a surely memorable show at Berghain, but also hosting a workshop on »Live Composing« during »Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs«.
Reason enough to collect some first words of advice already. So on the day before leaving for a big US tour one half of the duo, Islandic BAFTA winning musician, composer and producer Ólafur Arnalds took some time off reviewing his first step to success.

ÓLAFUR ARNALDS: As I kid I went to a music school. Later, when I started out making music, I was very ambitious and did everything myself. I grew up in the punk scene, a very DIY environment, where nobody has an agent and nobody has a manager. I got into music that way and I didn’t have a record label around me nor any program. To be honest, there wasn’t very much support for me in the beginning but still I was happy.
I was also very ambitious with playing live and booked all my tours myself. I think, if you do it like this you will meet and find the right people to work with. But if you just sit around waiting for someone to discover you and make you famous nothing ever will happen. My agent and I met quite early for instance.
In 2008, two or three years after I started touring, I stopped working in my side job as a sound guy at a venue, so that was also a music-related job. I had also worked in bars for short periods of time.
And I didn’t have a mentor or someone similar. I just went out and did things. You learn from your mistakes. You learn just by doing stuff. This way you develop an idea of what you want to be. And you have to go to gigs and see other acts. When I’m playing a festival set with Kiasmos today I always try to see as many other act as possible. You can get your inspiration from basically everywhere.
Also, I wouldn’t have a career without the internet. Here I met Robert of Erased Tapes. But wait, no, I guess I would have found other ways if it hadn’t been there. I never had a plan B. I don’t know who I would be if I wouldn’t have become a musician. There was never anything else I wanted to do.

Kiasmos will appear live at Pop-Kultur on August 27, playing Berghain together with MssingNo, Michanika (Michael Rother & Anika), The Juan McLean among others. You can get your ticket in our online-shop. Also, Neneh Cherry with RocketNumberNine, Herbert, @NeinQuarterly, Mute’s Daniel Miller, Mourn are up for this day – so might want to get yourself a 10% discount by buying the »Wahl-Abo« (combo ticket option) for this day. Young musicians, DJ’s, producers, label-, club-, and festival-managers, journalists, bloggers and students of these disciplines can apply for »Pop-Kultur Nachwuchs« from now on until July 10th, 2015.