Hatari are an exceptionally unique band hailing from Iceland who shot to fame after their Eurovision 2019 performance and controversy which you can read about in our interview below. Describing themself as a multi media project, Hatari are a mash up of industrial, future punk, BDSM themes, Synth pop, and much more in what proves to be some of the best and most visceral electronic dance music around.
We had arranged to video interview them in March before their London show but unfortunately those plans had to change. The band was kind enough to answer our interview questions below however.
There is also a short album review in which Hatari have scored our highest score yet! Enjoy..
You sadly had to cancel/postpone your ‘Europe will crumble’ tour due to Covid-19 but as a band that has always talked about the fall of capitalism and indeed asking your fans to often envision the end of the world, how do you feel about the current crisis and where does this effect Hatari in its message?
Photo credit: Mummi Lu
This is a horrible pandemic that affects us all. Envisioning the end of the world has indeed become easier. More importantly envisioning the end of capitalism feels like a possibility. This pandemic will probably affect how we see any art, including Hatari. Cancelling and postponing shows is unfortunate, but right now we are in good health and enjoying some well earned isolation.
Q. With your recent video release of Engin Miskunn (No Mercy) the theme is that of a meteorite destroying life as we know it. It is an incredibly powerful song and one I have so much love for.
In line with the last question, do you feel this was almost predicting the way things were going to be this year? Also tell me about this song and the inspirations behind it because to me, it seems like it sums up everything Hatari is about in both song and video.
Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we predicted everything. We hate to say we told you so. But we told you so. Enginn miskunn or No Mercy is a hymn to the apocalypse and a ritual. We like to say that the apocalypse isn't an event that cuts time in two, rather it is a hue that is laid over our times, we are living the apocalypse. That is what inspires us to coat Klemens with slime and sacrifice him ceremoniously and all the rest. The original slime from the video is for sale, by the way. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Q. In that video and others you have some incredible dancing from both female dancers Sólbjört and Ástrós, and your dance gimp Andrean. Many of your fans will know the singers Matthías and Klemens, and the iconic spiked mask look of Einar but can you please tell us about yourselves, who you are, how you came to know each other, and how you all got in to this kind of music?
We all know each other from different directions in the tight-knit music and arts scene here in Iceland, adding to the Hatari project layer by layer, not just the trio and the dancers but many others who have contributed as Hatari grows. At times it has felt like a real collective.
Since the corporate takeover of Svikamylla ehf. or Relentless Scam Incorporated, however, those vibes are a thing of thepast. Today the relationship is a much more for-profit capitalist owner versus underpaid workforce kind of dynamic but in a fun and inclusive way. We love our jobs.
Q. Hatari has not only been about destroying capitalism and creating silly characters off stage, yet deadly serious characters on stage; it has always been about bringing more understanding to the LQBT+ and BDSM community. How has that side of Hatari been successful and are you seeing positives come through from that part of your image?
A. We have been honoured and happy to see the diversity and awesomeness of the many groups that rally behind our performance. The BDSM community here in Iceland have been our mentors and assisted us in many ways. We have also been working closely with Andrean, our dancer, who is an LGBTQ+ activist to the core in developing our ideas of performances to show support towards the suppressed LGBTQ+ communities and other marginalised groups. We have felt the support overwhelmingly on social media and in places we visit where the LGBTQ+ community is being actively oppressed.
Q. Your album ‘Neyslutrans’ was released this year and it is A fantastic piece of artistry that I will add a short review of to the end of this article. Please tell us about the album, the reasons behind the name and the choice to add in unexpected things like a Gregorian chant style song and even some rap.
A. 'Neyslutrans' or Consumtion Trance is a lament to Western civilization, if not the world, which is only fitting.
This might well be one of the last albums released by humans. This was true even before the pandemic. The latter half of the album is orchestrated with this in mind.
Some of our collaborators have tracks on the album such as queer Palestinian pop artist Bashar Murad, hyper-feminine Icelandic rap entrepeneurs Cyber, and Icelandic underground rap sensation Svarti Laxness, to name a few.
Q. After your incredibly brave unfurling of the Palestinian banners on live TV at Eurovision 2019 in Israel, bringing light to the struggles of the Palestinian people, now the dust has had a decent time to settle, how did that affect your career as a band and what have been the positives and negatives to that incident?
Slideshow Photo credit: Getty Images / Guy Prives / RUV
A. It drew a lot of attention both to us and to Palestine and ruptured the glossy image that Eurovision would otherwise have been throughout the entire show. When planning international pop contests one should always refrain from hosting them in an apartheid state where an illegal occupation is currently taking place. Many people were reminded of this.
If there are any negatives it might be that other artists could now think it's okay to play in Israel so long as they make some sort of statement. "If Hatari did it we can do it," or something like that. To anyone thinking along those lines we would say that the Eurovision situation was quite unique and contradictory and that we don't intend to book concerts in Israel until some drastic changes take place. Supporting the boycott movement is the most effective means of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Q. What made you choose Hatrið Mun Sigra (Hate will prevail) as your Eurovision song and what was the symbolism behind that track and performance?
A. Hatrið mun sigra or Hate Will Prevail is a smash pop single and a dystopia where hate has become the governing force of the universe. We try to work with authoritarian themes and imagery to warn against the danger they pose as well as provide a radio friendly track to represent our nation in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Like in most Hatari songs, the opposites and contradictions between Klemens and Matthías are apparent, the harsh and the soft, anger and despair, subbmission and dominance, feminine and masculine and so on. Q.
What music have you all been listening to the most recently and what bands would you say inspired the sound of Hatari?
We have been listening to Daði Freyr, the latest album by Icelandic electro-pop-ballad-legends and techno-court-jesters Sykur, notorious international criminal Gugusar, and Peaches, as always. Opr by Gesaffelstein is playing when this is written.
Q. Where can we get a mask like Einar’s?
Photo credit: mbl.is
Klemens, Einar, and Matthías
At your local sex shop. Q. What life lessons have you guys learnt from Hatari?
Photo credit: RUV
A. The void will swallow all.
Q. What is next in store for Hatari and where do you see the band going in future?
Photo credit: Baldur Kristjánsson
A. We hope to release a track soon.
Q. Anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Photo credit: unknown
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Thank you for your time Hatari!
Make no mistake, this is an album full of hits. Opening up with three in a row in the form of Engin Miskunn, Spillingardans, and Klámstrákur. Matthías' aggrotech style growls worm their way in to your brain and stay there. So many times I've found myself just singing or yelling 'Engin Miskunn' or 'Klámstrákur' to myself has become a bit silly. These, alongside Hatrið Mun Sigra make for perfect tracks to drive or dance to with their ferocious intensity and catchy as hell dance beats.
Hlauptu featuring Cyber brings a real trance euphoria to the mid section of the album which compliments Klefi / Samed featured with Bashar Murad, so very well.
The album is then split in half by the beautiful Violin track of Spectavisti Me Mori, Op. 8 bringing a true feel of lament to the underlying message of the poor state of the world we are in. It seamlessly plays in to the next track, 14 Ár where synthetic music and aggressive vocals once again take centre stage in an audio orgasm of well mastered talent. We are then treated to a synthwave / violin / and aggrotech vocal mash up that somehow works wonderfully in the form of Ógleði.
Track 11, Helvíti brings us something very common in the industrial world right now with the addition of a rap track quite in contrast to the next track being a choir sung hymn in Nunquam Iterum, Op. 12. This again, although seemingly out of place on such an electronic and gothic album, somehow blends easily in to the overall concept and it is genuinely moving in its emotional content. The final tracks round off the album with a nice trip hop vibe to it whilst still maintaining the synthetic dance feel.
Engin Miskunn 3:53
Klefi / Samed 3:53
Hatrið Mun Sigra (Xtended) 3:07
Spectavisti Me Mori, Op. 8 2:51
14 Ár 3:05
Nunquam Iterum, Op. 12 4:05 Niðurlút 3:53
Hatari have made themselves stand out in a world that is already saturated with 'extreme' looks and sounds and yet has established themselves as not only talented performers and intelligent in the way they go about their image; but they are also extremely talented musicians who have created a truly masterful album that I don't think has anywhere near the amount of recognition it deserves. I hope Hatari are able to reschedule their tour after the current crisis and start to spread their artistry to further corners of the globe.
Top 3 tracks:
Least favourite track:
Dance factor: 9
Overall score: 9.4 / 10
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