Keeping a finger on the pulse

Q&A w/Pan Thorarensen

in Explore/Issue #2 by

Words by Bartek Wilk
Photo by Ómar Sverrisson

Pan Thorarensen is a man who works on different musical fronts. Born in 1981, he has made history in Icelandic music with abundant album releases and various side projects. Along with his father Óskar Thorarensen and composer Þorkell Atlason, he created a significant electronic project called Stereo Hypnosis. This is just one example. Playing as Beatmakin Troopa, Pan Thorarensen combines slow, relaxing electro and energetic jazz in a unique way. Moreover, he is a co-founder of the fantastic project Ambátt that represents a marriage of the genres of jazz, rock, post-rock and ambient. Besides being a composer and musician, Pan is the organiser of Extreme Chill, the first pure electronica music festival in Iceland that kicked off in 2009 in Hellissandur. For eight years, Extreme Chill has showcased many internationally renowned musicians as well as talented Icelandic artists. More than a festival, Extreme Chill is also known as a record label. The latest record with which Pan was involved was Stereo Hypnosis and Futuregrapher’s Toqqissivoq. He has yet to slow down and is working on more exciting, new albums and projects.

Pan, you’re a very active musician, but in your work, you’re crossing and merging the genres of electronica, trip-hop, jazz and post-rock. Why did you decide to create a festival that was hailed as ‘the first pure electronica festival in Iceland’?

We just wanted to create something special on the Icelandic music scene by working to combine music and nature. Like creating a universe, it’s a journey of music, sound, art and visuals.

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Stína has followed her passion to Icelandic music as a music journalist since 2010. She joined then a writing team of Muzyka Islandzka - a Polish website dedicated to Icelandic music. Spreading her wings, Stína started her adventure with Icelandic language and moved to Reykjavík where she studied the language at the university. She also takes an active part in life of the local music scene. Since 2014 Stína had run a music blog that was transformed in 2017 into a printed magazine on Icelandic music.

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