If you haven’t been to Secret Solstice yet, you might consider attending this year. Between the lineup and the location, this year should be awesome. The festival takes place over the summer solstice, so the sun simply doesn’t set for the duration of the festival. This is especially cool at midnight when you’re dancing your face off and it’s still sunny. You have to be conscious of your sleeping patterns though, or you might accidentally stay awake for three days, which can be rough.
Secret Solstice’s 2017 is shaping up to be pretty spectacular. The tops acts are a delicate balance of mostly US and UK artists by the likes of the Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Seth Troxler, Rick Ross, and Artwork.
But I’m going to set aside the big names for a moment to focus purely on what Iceland has to offer for this year’s festival.
Hip hop dominates this year’s Secret Solstice
Firstly, the most represented genre among local artists is inarguably hip hop. The scene in Reykjavík is well established and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the most talked about rappers these days are the brand new youngsters bursting onto the scene. Namely, 17 year-old Aron Can (who just dropped a new album called Ínótt which has been well-received), and GKR, famous for wholesomely rapping about breakfast in his track ‘Morgunmatur’.
Up-tempo Emmsjé Gauti and down-tempo Gísli Pálmi have been around much longer and are probably the most “mainstream” of Icelandic rappers, if you can call it that. Úlfur Úlfur are another established rap duo with excellent stage presence to match their huge, bassy tracks.
Other big names in Icelandic hip hop featured at Secret Solstice this year are the intentionally evocative collective Shades of Reykjavík, as well as Lord Pusswhip, and Kristmundur Axel, and probably a few others that I’ve missed. Seriously, the scene is huge.
Next up, DJs and producers galore!
If you’re more into electronic music, there are plenty of Icelandic artists representing this genre as well. Vaginaboys is a current favourite of mine. The duo has a particularly smooth and sensual vibe, probably related to their vocoder vocals and the fact that they perform wearing featureless white masks.
Kiasmos is the emotionally melodic and minimal brain child of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnolds and Faroese producer Janus Rasmussen. Moreover, the visuals accompanying their music are equally stimulating. This is act I will not be missing.
The one part Icelandic, one part American duo (lots of duos going on here, you may notice) Thugfucker are another unmissable act. Their DJ sets are deep, thoughtful, smooth, energetic, and yeah, pretty amazing. You should definitely go.
If you’re more into trap then I would suggest producers SXSXSX. For more tech and deep house DJ KrBear and KSF will please you. Or try the new m e g e n, who’s track ‘Mumbai’ has been extremely popular recently.
But there’s a softer side too…
There two notable outliers among local artists are soul and blues inspired pop band Fox Train Safari and reggae band Amabadama. Both acts are made up of large groups and play fantastically energetic shows.
For your convenience, here is a playlist of all the Icelandic artists who will be playing at this year’s Secret Solstice festival:
Of course, there are many Icelandic artists not on Spotify, so don’t forget to check these guys out too:
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