Icelandic stars discuss rise to international success
Luke Tadgell
11:45 16th May 2012

Think Mumford & Sons with more imaginative stories to tell mixed with a dash of Arcade Fire and you're halfway to Of Monsters And Men, the latest Icelandic band to break out of the remote island's prolific music scene.

Already a huge success in the US, the six-piece release their debut album 'My Head Is An Animal' in the UK on 23 July 2012 and are booked in for a string of headline and festival dates across the UK this summer. The band recently performed their debut London show, and we caught up with these brilliant newcomers to discuss breaking out of their small town and onto the international stage...

Is your music typical of what’s happening on the Icelandic music scene?

There is a bit of a folk scene but it’s more solo people with acoustic guitars but I think we are a bit different to most Icelandic bands. There are a lot of different things going on in Iceland.

Why do think people from Iceland have been so successful with their music?

I don’t know if there have been many bands or artists that have been able to. There are a lot of bands but it is hard for them to get out of Iceland. It’s easier to get started now because of the internet, but it is still hard to tour. It’s hard to get off the Island.

Did you guys always want to get off the island?

No. We miss the Island.

Your songs tell great stories. Why do so few bands write anything other than first-person tales?
Are there only a few people that do that? I don’t think one way is better than the other. This is the way that works for us and it’s a good thing for us but I think any form of expressing yourself is a good thing.

Has your sound developed over time?
At the very beginning we were pretty much acoustic and with time we grew and the sounds got bigger. We have just recently been on the road and maybe our sound has changed, I don’t know.  By playing so much together, we kind of grow and you can hear the growth in the new songs when we write them.

There has been a lot of love for your ‘Little Talks’ video. Any more planned?
I think we will definitely record another video soon. It’s all in the beginning stages, we’re just gathering ideas. It will be different from the other one, a little bit more subtle but still a good one. We kind of had a rough idea of what we wanted. We sent that idea off and we got this script back and we liked it. It was probably loosely based on what we it wanted to do.

Watch 'Little Talks'

How does lead singer Nanna cope on tour with five hairy Icelandic men?
Erm it is fun! We are really, really girly! Look, just see my pink watch. We are really girly guys so it’s ok – and we are becoming more girly all the time.

At home are people proud of your success getting across to Europe and America?

Yes, I think people are really proud – families, friends and especially the old ladies in Garður, Iceland. They are all so pleased that we are doing really, really well. It is a small town.

How does the nightlife in the UK and the US compare to Iceland?
We don’t go out. We are very bad at going out and getting drunk, we are always touring and leaving straight after the gig but when we’ve gone out it’s been fun, it’s been cool.

Of Monsters And Men play three headline dates in July. Full dates are below. For more information visit Gigwise Gig Tickets.

10th July 2012 - Oran Mor - Glasgow, Scotland
11th July 2012 - Manchester Academy 3 - Manchester, UK
12th July 2012 - Scala - London, UK