Interview with Rosa from Icelandic band, Feldberg

Icelandic duo Feldberg are releasing their single ‘Dreamin’ on July 29th through Irish label, Smalltown America and are taking in an Irish tour at the same time.

Trying to get through to Rosa’s phone has me laughing, Toto’s Africa is playing but this isn’t a voicemail message. You get it when her phone rings, this immediately sets the stage for Rosa’s upbeat and bubbly personality.

Made up of Einar Tönsberg, (better known as Eberg) and Rosa Briggita Ísfeld, a vocalist and electro DJ by night, the duo got together when Rosa was recommended to Einar by friends. Einar had been working as an electronic musician in London and had his song ‘Inside Your Head’ used in The O.C. and Veronica Mars. ‘It was just really lucky, came back home and was working on a sync for an advertisement, he needed a female voice and he asked around and apparently three people recommended me, thankfully. He phoned me up one evening, it was nine thirty or almost ten, so I could hear he was a bit stressed and was like ‘I have this sync and would you be willing to come into the studio?’ I said ‘I came come now if you have a deadline’, so I go to the studio and we do that little bit.’

After that it seems any time Einar needed a vocalist, Rosa got the call. ‘I’d walk in there and do my bit, then I’m about to leave and it’s like ‘I don’t wanna leave.’ He was like ‘This is happening really really easily, we should do this more often so it just kinda happened. We got on really well and I kinda liked his sound, I had been looking into singing something else because I had been in this electro band and just doing jazz and that. I was looking for a producer or something, I wasn’t sure, this was just perfect!’

Rosa speaks of how the duo started meeting up but were a little shy to start with. ‘We were like ‘So what do you want to do?’ ‘Eh, I don’t know’. The duo decided to meet every Tuesday, but didn’t have a plan, didn’t plan a record, nothing.‘We were just bouncing off each other, he would maybe have a little something prepared and I would babble on top, no words just babbling. Soon we found out we had five or six songs so we decided we were making an album’.

The band’s debut album ‘Don’t Be A Stranger’ was originally released in Iceland in 2009 but slowly but surely the Feldberg name has been spreading across different territories. ‘It’s been really great, it came out in Japan, then we wanted to go to Europe and then it kinda opened up for us in Ireland and we just went with that, it’s really great.’ ‘Dreamin’ was selected for French compilation Kitsuné and it was in Paris that the band’s manager met Smalltown America. ‘He showed them our album and they instantly loved it and wanted to sign us, the rest is history’, she says laughing.

The pair have a summery pop sound, it’s such a breath of fresh air. Rosa says she thinks it’s because the pair haven’t decided to follow anything and instead just bounce of each other. ‘I have a jazzy background, he has rock we both have this electronic, it kinda mixes up and I think it’s a good mixture’.

Feldberg are now living with the album for two years, after that time is it still an enjoyable experience? ‘It’s still fun to play them, I wouldn’t want to be at home practising all the time. I love singing for people. It doesn’t matter if I’m singing songs I’ve been singing three years for people. We have been playing two or three new songs in our set and that’s been really refreshing. After this tour, I think we will head into the studio and start working on our next album. I think that’s what we need. But its still fun.’

Does that mean the next album is written? ‘We have a foundation laid for maybe two or three tracks, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes when we’re feeling good we do a little jamming on the piano or the guitar or the piano, just have fun with it. It’s good when Einar has something prepared, maybe a little something. I think two of our songs used to be one I was like ‘Einar, that doesn’t make any sense, it’s two songs’. So we cut them up and ended up with two songs, stuff like that happens.’

The band are are spending some time in Ireland gigging and doing promotion. Playing music as a full time job is great but is having to do lots of gigs and promo in such a short time a major down side to it? ‘I don’t mind being on the road, my dresses get all crumpled and stuff but it’s fine. (laughs) We like it but it’s always nice to come back home also. When you’ve got back to back shows, you can’t let loose as much. You have to have (laughs) a little self control, not to much wine and stuff but otherwise it’s fine.’

For this tour, Feldberg are playing with a Irish session drummer. ‘His name is Thomas, we’re arriving early to rehearse with him’. From chatting to Rosa, even for a short time, her infectious personality shines through and no doubt this crosses into the live show. ‘We have a lot of fun with it’, she says. ‘I think I’m laughing the whole time with it.

Catch the band on tour:

July 28th 2011 – Spirit Store, Dundalk

July 31st 2011 – Castlepalooza Festival, Co Offaly

August 03rd 2011 – John Daly’s, Mullingar

August 04th 2011 – Whelans, Dublin

August 05th 2011 – Animal Disco, Belfast

August 06th 2011 – Forfey Festival, Co. Fermanagh (Early show)

August 06th 2011 – Café Del Mundo, Derry (Late Show)

I can’t find an offical video for Dreamin’ but here’s what seems to be someone’s college project.. rather good too