Icelandic band My Sweet Baklava released their debut album „Drops of sound” this year.
We talked with Doddy (guitarist) and Valgerður (singer) from the band about the music and their charming melodies floating on „drops of sound”. A transcription of our conversation can be found below.
Marcin: I’d like to start off with a little history for our readers who haven’t heard My Sweet Baklava before. When did you get together and what have you done so far?
Valgerður: We´ve been playing together as My Sweet Baklava for about three years now and we released our first album, Drops of sound, in February, which we´ve been following up with concerts around the country. We also did one concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, last summer. Now we are writing new material and hoping to record a few new songs.
Marcin: Why did you call yourself My Sweet Baklava? Who did invent this?
Valgerður: Well, a Baklava is a kind of sweet, delicious tasting Arabic pastry and I thought it would be fitting to name the band after it, because playing in this band and creating music gives us the same sweet and delicious feeling. But we´ve had many people coming up to us asking what the name means, finding it a bit strange.
Marcin: Have you played in any other bands before My Sweet Baklava?
Doddy: Yes, we all come from a different background. Me (Doddy guitarist) and Valgerður (singer) are married and have been playing and writing music together for more than 15 years. Bassist Svenni and drummer Smári have both been playing for many years in different projects. Me and Svenni actually played together in a high-school band when we were teenagers so the three of us have known each other for some years.
Marcin: When did you write these songs and how does that process work for you?
Doddy: All the songs on the album were written by Valgerður and me, except “Poor wayfaring stranger”. Almost all the songs have a long history and the oldest song was written fifteen years ago. It was a matter of letting go of them, they´ve been sitting in our drawers for too long and we just had to get them out to the public ears. For us writing songs comes easy, it´s natural. Sitting at home with the guitar I usually put down some guitar riffs and Vala starts humming a melody and making up lyrics.
Marcin: The lyrics are written by Valgerður Jónsdóttir. Where do you tend to take your inspiration from while creating the lyrics? Please tell me about the process of writing the lyrics.
Valgerður: Many of the songs on Drops of sound were written while we were living in Denmark and reflect the feeling of living in a foreign city. Ideas come from what I experience in my life and the things I see in other peoples’ lives. Usually I write the lyrics at the same time as I write the melody, the music gives me ideas and I find words that fit the rhythm and the flow of the melody and the song.
Marcin: How would you describe the musical sound of My Sweet Baklava and how it differs from the other bands?
Valgerður: The music is sincere and warm, it comes from the heart. It´s kind of melancholy, yet happy, but we guess that comes with being Icelandic and living in a land that has so many contrasts. We hope to give the listeners the same feeling that we get when playing and writing our music, that sweet, sincere feeling. I also have a background in classical music as well as rock and pop and try to use the elements from both styles.
Doddy: I´m trying to develop my own sound and style of playing the guitar. I play an acoustic guitar but I play it like it´s an electric guitar, using all the effects and amps like it was an electric guitar. Doing that I really get a nice sound out of my guitar.
Marcin: In your opinion, what makes music perfect?
Valgerður: Perfect music touches you and moves you, that´s the most important thing, whether it´s rock, classic, hip hop or country.
Marcin: What are some of the bands that have influenced you?
Valgerður and Doddy: Our biggest influences come from rock and folk music. Musicians and bands like Johnny Cash, Tool, Low, Calexico, Björk and Pearl Jam, to name a few.
Marcin: What else would you like to say about the album “Drops of sound”?
Valgerður: It was a big step for us to release this album. We have been aiming for this for many years and it was a great relief and a great pleasure to finally see the album come true.
See you on the official website My Sweet Baklava.