spent a lot of money to get there so it’s hard in terms of money. We have been lucky because we have a really good team around us. We’ve also been a little bit lucky. We were in the right place at the right time.
“A lot of people at home thought we were an American band at first. They said we’re not very Icelandic, but I don’t really know what would be typical Icelandic. It’s hard to stand out from all the other bands in Iceland because you don’t want to sound like anyone else. It’s a small country, so you definitely don’t want to sound like anyone else.”
That Icelandic scene, he notes, has also faced problems in the wake of the country’s infamous economic collapse in recent years. “Venues are being torn down. When everything was doing well with the economy, before the banking crisis, people had this great idea to build a huge music hall. So now that we have this big place, there’s this thinking going around that the bars and clubs should close down, because we have the giant music hall. But those small bars and clubs are where people want to go when they go out to hear music.”
For him and his bandmates, the success of OM&M has meant they can concentrate full-time on music and touring. Prior to all this, some of them were in college, one was a plumber, another worked in a meat factory and another was an airport security guard. “When it all took off, we gave it all up. I think we all thought ‘yes, I want to be in a band all the time!’”
Pórhallsson mentions at one point how Mumford & Sons have paved the way for bands like them to beat a similar folk drum. But while they may both be tagged as folk, OM&M are a much different band in other respects. They’re a raucous live entity, a band who began to use volume initially as a way to overcome the talkers in their audience and found it very much to their liking.
“We didn’t plan out things, it’s just how our sound developed. It would make more sense if we had said one day ‘we should try to sound like this’ but that’s not what ever happens. Our music just sort of evolved. All of us like Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys, so I think that has had an effect on our sound. We’ve got acoustic guitars and arena-sounding drums, dramatic pianos and guitars. There’s a lot going on at once.”
The band spent most of 2012 touring, but minds are already slowly turning to what the follow-up to My Head is an Animal will sound like. Pórhallsson thinks the huge amount of travel they’ve done will have a big bearing on album number two.
“We have experienced so much in the past few years that has changed us and everything seems to have moved really fast. But when we go home to Iceland, it’s different because things move at a much slower pace there. It’s a different world. The next album is definitely going to be inspired by what we’ve been doing. We will approach it slowly, but something is definitely happening and we look forward to bringing it to life.”
Of Monsters & Men play Dublin’s Olympia on February 21st