The President of Iceland, Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, often speaks of the special nature of the Icelandic people. In his mind, the most treasured commodity among Icelanders is their “Viking” spirit—their passion and enthusiasm for conquering new ground and reaping the benefits of their adventurous and courageous natures. This is obviously a load of nonsense and has absolutely nothing to do with FM Belfast.
FM Belfast just want to be your friend.
Because FM Belfast are not Vikings. They do not pillage and plunder. Instead, they give, and they care. With simple, delicately crafted melodies, unpredictable beats and humorous lyrics, FM Belfast bring smiles to their audience’s faces, and life to their every extremity—whether it be in the car, in the kitchen or on the dancefloor.
But there’s more. In their live performances, FM Belfast somehow manage to elevate their music to new heights. They manage to mediate a certain weltanschauung; manage to share their joie de vivre. Seeing an FM Belfast concert is almost a religous experience, save for the religion. Unlike organized religion, though, their music isn’t conditional—it is simply inviting. It offers a genuine sense of belonging. Everyone feels it, as they dance and chant and release more sweat than Jane Fonda’s disciples ever could.
FM Belfast was originally formed by couple Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir and Árni Hlöðversson in late 2005. They wanted to record a song, one which they could give to their friends as a Christmas present. Says a lot, doesn’t it?
Not surprisingly, the Iceland Airwaves music festival proved to be a catalyst in the band’s story—as Lóa and Árni needed extra people for their live act in 2006. These extra people have been numerous, although the core members have included Árni Vilhjálmsson (Motherfuckers in the House), Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (Múm) and Björn Kristjánsson (Borko).
As the band earned a reputation as one of the best live acts in Iceland, 2008 saw the release of their first album How To Make Friends. The album was a critical and commercial success and lead to invitations to some of the biggest music festivals in Europe and beyond—along with countless performances in smaller and bigger venues. But wherever they travel, one thing remains the same; the audience always seems to know the lyrics to every song. Funny.