Icelandic post-rock trio Sigur Ros returns from a brief hiatus with masterful new album Kveikur, another cascading, cinematic entry in the band's thunderous discography. The band, which now records as a three-piece after the departure of longtime keyboardist Kjartan Sveinsson, will perform in Indy on Tuesday at White River State Park. We called founding member and bassist Georg Holm before this week's show to talk about the new album (and its accompanying creepy cover art).
On the joy of making Kveikur
"Where to start? [laughs] I guess this whole record was really fun to make, I have to say. I really enjoyed the whole process of making this record. It was just the three of us having un. I have to admit that I think this is one of the most fun albums that we've ever made. The whole process has been great."
On Kevikur's dark art
"We like to be as much involved as we possibly can. Actually, when we were doing the cover art for this album, we were on tour so it was a bit harder to be 100 percent involved the whole time. But we kind of knew that we wanted it to be a little bit darker. Striking. It had to be something completely different than what we've ever done before, because we felt the record deserved it. It deserved to be different than the other records. It should be not just another Sigur Ros record. I think we felt like it wasn't - it was something different for us. We wanted it to be darker, as in literally darker. Black and white or something like that. We had the idea of a face, something human. We had gone through all kinds of different ideas, even a skull. But, we saw that photo. That exact photo. And we all just pointed at it and said, 'We want that.' It was exactly the right photo right there, in front of us. We manipulated it slightly, but it's very much like the original."
On writing vocals last
"When we write the music, Jonsi [singer] is usually just singing something. He just babbles, basically [the band refers to the babbled language as Hopelandic]. That's how he figures out the vocal line should be in the song. It's usually the last thing in the process of making the record. We just listen to the songs and brainstorm - we just all write something down. Things that comes to our mind when we listen to the song. It doesn't have to be exact words for lyrics - it can just be what we feel the song is about. We visualize something in our heads when we listen. Maybe we feel like, 'Oh this is a cold song. There is a wintery feel to it.' It could be something like that. And we work from there. And the funny thing is, when we start writing down those things, a lot of times we find we'll be writing the same stuff down, sometimes even the same words. We've figured it out that we're hearing the music in the same way and we are all feeling the music in the same way.