amiina’s new LP, Fantômas, was originally written as the soundtrack for a centenary screening of Louis Feuillade’s famous 1913 film serial of the same name. It premiered in Paris at the magnificent Théâtre du Châtelet, where amiina, together with musicians James Blackshaw, Tim Hecker, Loney Dear and Yann Tiersen, took part in a special Halloween event. The band soon realised that the music could stand on its own merits and decided to release it as an album. Haunting, mysterious and at times downright terrifying, the music reflects perfectly the dastardly deeds of evil genius Fantômas, the sadistic and ruthless killer at the heart of the serial. Here’s our interview with Maggi about the record.
When you set about recording it did you still have the visuals from Fantômas at the forefront or did you try and take a fresh approach?
Our approach was that the music on the album is in the forefront; we arranged the songs again so that they would have their own life independent of the film.
Musique: Amiina, un des groupes qui jouera un épisode de Fantômas Au Châtelet le 31 octobre 2013
Do the tracks on the album appear in the same order as they did when you performed the live score?
No. Not all of them…
Was performing the live score nerve wracking or just like any other live show?
It was both nerve wracking and just like any other show; the nerve wracking aspect was that it was well over an hour of new material that we had never really performed before. But at the same time we did all the same things as we do before any show: set up, soundcheck, tune our instruments, etc. So yeah. Both nerve wracking and just like any other show at the same time…
What’s your favourite piece on the album?
This is Maggi who is answering the questions. My favourite track is L’homme noir.
What’s the first piece of music you loved and why?
On the album or in just in general? On the album it was Simplon Express. In general it’s Bill Frisell’s take on the song Baba Drame.
How do you know when a song you’ve written is complete?
You know when everybody is happy about the outcome.
What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?
Baba Drame performed by Bill Frisell.
*Since Maggi likes the song so much we thought we’d include another version
What artist has been your biggest influence?
We have loads of influences. Gamelan music. All of us have listened to some jazz records that has influenced us a lot.
*Here’s a little primer on Gamelan
Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?
At the moment it is a song called Seigla by a man called Tómas Jónsson. Why it has that effect I have no idea…
What’s the best new band that you’ve heard recently?
Kött Grá Pjé is a favourite these days.
What are your thoughts on music streaming sites like Spotify and Deezer?
My/our thoughts are many and the answer would fill up the full website. But there are good and bad sides to those streaming sites.
What’s your favourite country outside Iceland and why?
Istanbul is one of my favourite cities, so Turkey is up there on the top 5.