Iceland Airwaves is like Christmas. You might have no time to be excited for it at all but when the first day finally comes you simply can’t resist enjoying it to the fullest. There were so many bands to see, 60 off-venues locations to discover and after those crazy 7 days – cause I count Iceland Airwaves from Monday til Sunday – I’m the most thankful for discovering HATARI. Luckily, I experienced their performance twice – on the first day of off-venues shows, October 31st, at Kex Hostel and then on the last one, November 6th, before the queen PJ Harvey went on stage. To be honest, it took me a long time to organize proper words to express what my ears heard, eyes saw and other senses processed.
1. It wasn’t even their 10th gig together.
The band was formed in 2015 by Klemens Hannigan and Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson. Their first show they played without their mysterious drummer who turned out to be Einar Stéfansson. Later on, as a trio you could see them once again in Reykjavík, at Eistnaflug, Lunga Festival and Norðanpaunk. Wait… do you count with me? Seems like Monday October 31st was their sixthth gig ever…
2. Mysteries are way more interesting
From the very beginning, Hatari appears to be a mystery. Everything is working together on building this impression – their dark punk music, Icelandic lyrics, their image. Their shows are like a ritual. It starts with an uncanny masked drummer going on stage and raking with a searching and not-that-friendly look the area around. You are not really sure whether you should stay or run away immediately but suddenly you get excited. Then, two men dressed in almost army outfits join him on stage. The visual effect is transfixing. And quite scary, to be honest, if it comes about experiencing the way how Klemens is able to blow his artistic cool on stage while Matthías can declaim/sing/bark (strike the reduntant out…) with sparkles of aggression making an impression that he is a lord of the death. The first show of Hatari will most likely slam you and hypnotize with the form since they are very charismatic performers…
3. Hatari is full of contrasts.
Well, maybe the reason for being so memorable is the attraction between the opposite poles. The word of the band is so different in the area of expression. On one pole, you have a ruthless husky and cynical voice hiding behind a poker face. On the other pole, there is a captivating voice with depth of subtlety, tenderness and fondness. Matthías seems to be so cold, static, shows no feelings except maybe anger whereas Klemens is an emotional answer to him. His stage appearance is extremely dynamic and expressive. He personifies a diversity of feelings locked in humanity with all their strength.
4. Worship Icelandic with a style
Lyrics are that what gives music another dimension. In case of Hatari words that are almost shot from their mouths have a huge meaning and understanding them raises a value of the entire picture. I know, it’s not that easy to catch what Hatari speaks about since they worship Icelandic in a precious poetic shape. In their sterorous declamation and poetic singing those two put forward poor existence, paranoia of the surrounding world, hate, nihility, meaninglessness and oblivion.
Honestly, I can guarantee that not one person has had unconscious deep thougts after hearing the most dramatic question that Hatari can throw you in face: why didn’t I sell myself for more?! Yeah, why?
Dance or die. I decided to dance. How about you?