we stopped by the band's studio in july 2004 to see how the album was coming along. here are some photographs we took of the band writing and rehearsing songs from takk.
writing 'sé lest' outro: jónsi on keyboard, kjartan on guitar, orri on celesta.
writing 'sé lest' outro: georg on toy piano
writing the "rock'n'roll" middle section in 'sæglópur'
jónsi in the middle chapter of 'sé lest'
a necessary break: the band kicks the ball around in the studio's parking lot
side projects while recording takk
'takk...' was written and recorded over a 20 month period. "a normal period of time. for sigur rós at least." says kjartan. during the recording period, the band and its members have indulged in numerous side projects. in fact, they have been swamped in work since the completion of their last album, 2002's ( ).
in 2002 they wrote and performed the 65-minute, 60-piece orchestral work odin's raven magic1, which is yet to be released. in addition to the band's extensive spring tour of 2003, sigur rós's soundtrack to the film hlemmur was released, and the band composed new music to merce cunningham's dance piece split sides2. the english band radiohead joined them in the latter endeavor. sigur rós released this music from split sides last year on the ep 'ba ba ti ki di do'. in 2003, the band members also assisted their friend jimmy lavelle (the album leaf) in recording his latest album in the swimming pool studio3. the same year, sigur rós received the mtv award for best video, to the first track of ( )4,. later that year, the band recorded new music for the scottish short film the loch ness kelpie. in 2004, jónsi performed solo in reykjavík under his pseudonym frakkur5, while kjartan and orri headed to the ísafjörður music festival to perform under their pseudonym, the lonesome traveller6. this band performed four sigur rós songs in a laid-back country music fashion (complete with cowboy hats and boots). in 2004, kjartan also composed the score to the icelandc short film síðasti bærinn. sigur rós's most intimate collaborators, amina, released an ep later in the year, which was recorded in the swimming pool studio.
1 odin's raven magic
2 split sides
3 jónsi and jimmy lavelle
4 receiving mtv award for best video
5 frakkur performs in reykjavík
6 lonesome traveller
below are some quotes from the band regarding their experience of writing and recording their fourth lp, 'takk...'.
on moodorri: "i think you can hear through the music what kind of mood we were in. we were a bit dazed by the brackets album. life was weird, so many things were changing and we had no roots. touring a lot. now we are secure about ourselves, having gotten used to the whole thing. we are happy."
jónsi: "the mood on takk is more "anything goes". we had nothing to lose. we wanted to produce a feeling without trying."
on lyricsjónsi: "it was fun writing lyrics this time. it's always been quite a challenge for us to express ourselves through words. somehow music flows more easily. when it comes to words we freeze up. we listened to the songs together and let the music trigger words in us. i think we learned something from this experience. the lyrics are very simple and naive. moments and small adventures. nothing too deep."
orri: "we felt like writing lyrics [for takk]. the reason there were no lyrics on the last album was that we had written these songs years back with jónsi singing gibberish vocals to them the entire time. they were fully formed and it would have been strange to suddenly insert lyrics into these finished products. this time we went into the studio with only two old songs and both of them are lyricless. the new songs all have lyrics. it's fun to write lyrics. we all get together and chat a lot."
on inspirationkjartan: "inspiration is everywhere and nowhere. i can't point in any direction. inspiration comes from your environment, the people you surround yourself with, movies, books, soap operas, mom and dad, nature. whatever. i've never been in a situation where i've felt i'm inspired by it. i have never gotten a great idea standing on a mountain. i've been up on a mountain and enjoyed how it made me feel. this might of course influence me as a person but that doesn't mean it inspires me to make a piece of music."
georg: "we play in response to our surroundings. when we begin playing and writing we exaggerate the atmosphere around us. the songs exaggerate our feelings. we never decide on a fixed goal. we don't sit down and play a riff we wrote at home last night."
[taken from the sirkus interview]