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Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice (The Music of Iceland)

Orchestrated: A Music Podcast
Orchestrated: A Music Podcast
Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice (The Music of Iceland)
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Fire, Ice, and Everything Nice (The Music of Iceland)

In an engaging conversation on the very first episode of “Orchestrated”, Chris Hayzel and Mike Patti are joined by composer Veigar Margeirsson, and the trio delves into the essence of Iceland's rich musical and cultural heritage. This dialogue not only unravels the unique attributes of Icelandic music but also provides a profound understanding of how music serves as a pivotal bridge to experiencing and comprehending a culture deeply.

Iceland, an island known for its breathtaking landscapes and stark beauty, also boasts a distinctive musical heritage shaped by its history, environment, and the resilient spirit of its people. Veigar Margeirsson's insights during the podcast offer a fascinating glimpse into the way centuries of history, geography, and societal attitudes have sculpted a unique musical dialect in Iceland.

A Culture of Creativity and Experimentation

Veigar highlights the innate creativity and willingness to experiment that characterizes Icelandic music and culture. This fearless approach to artistry, combined with a 'red dust' (it'll be okay) attitude, encourages musicians and artists alike to venture into new territories without the fear of failure. The discussion further explores how environmental elements and the Icelandic ethos of communal engagement in music contribute to a shared musical identity that is both explorative and deeply rooted in tradition.

The Landscape’s Influence on Sound

One cannot ignore the profound impact of Iceland's dramatic landscape on its music. The raw, powerful, and at times, brutal environment of Iceland is mirrored in its music's open and striking qualities. Veigar describes the landscape as not just a backdrop but an integral part of the Icelandic soul that finds its way into the music, adding layers of depth and emotion that resonate with both locals and global audiences.

The Universal Language of Music

Chris and Veigar's conversation underscores music's role as a universal language, capable of transcending cultural and linguistic barriers. Yet, they also touch upon the unique musical 'dialects' that emerge from different cultures, with Icelandic music serving as a prime example of how local influences and global understanding can intertwine to create sounds that are both familiar and astonishingly new.

A Message of Unity and Exploration

The podcast not only celebrates the uniqueness of Icelandic music but also sends a powerful message about the importance of cultural exploration and understanding. It encourages listeners and creators to dive into the depths of musical heritage from around the world, to not only appreciate the diversity of sound but to also see music as a conduit for connecting with others on a profound level.

In essence, this enlightening conversation with Veigar Margeirsson is a testament to the power of music as a tool for cultural exploration and understanding. It highlights how Icelandic music, with its rich heritage and innovative spirit, offers a window into the soul of a nation that embraces both its history and its place in the global tapestry of sound.

Transcript

00:00:00:05 – 00:00:25:07

Chris Hayzel

What’s up, everyone? I’m Chris Hazel, and I’m the digital and the digital multi. I’m the video guy here at Musio, and I wanted to talk to you a little bit about Iceland. Now, I’ve always found that there are a few good ways to experience a culture. I like get to know it a little bit. You know, there’s obviously going to the place and meeting the people, which is my personal favorite.

 

00:00:25:09 – 00:00:45:22

Chris Hayzel

But then there’s food. Right. You can tell a lot about a culture through its culinary traditions. And last but certainly not least, is art and by extension, music. Now, it’s no secret that music is a universal language. And if you’ve ever been lucky enough to play music with someone from another country, you would be hard pressed to deny that.

 

00:00:46:00 – 00:01:14:00

Chris Hayzel

But you would also be keenly aware of the distinct differences between musical cultures, things as simple as rhythmic foundation or tonal structures, or even the instruments that are present in the music are all shaped by centuries of environmental influences that are unique to that region. More religions, even weather and available resources, more that regions music much in the same slow and steady way that wind and water can carve stone.

 

00:01:14:02 – 00:01:39:06

Chris Hayzel

It’s like thousands of years of history and happenstance culminate into one distinct musical dialect. And an amazing example of this is Iceland. Now, when the museum team traveled to Reykjavik to record an Icelandic sample library, they turned to the local musicians to teach them about Iceland’s traditional instruments, where they come from, how they’re played, and why they have the characterize sticks that they have.

 

00:01:39:07 – 00:01:57:17

Chris Hayzel

And from what I understand, it was an incredibly eye opening and educational experience for the team members that were there, but I wasn’t there. In fact, all of this happened long before I ever joined the team. And with the release of Music Goes Iceland and Women of the North Libraries, it’s only natural that I would want some kind of a crash course.

 

00:01:57:19 – 00:02:22:20

Chris Hayzel

Well, while I was conducting the interviews for the Iceland video, I got that opportunity in the form of a conversation with Veigar Margeirsson. Now, Veigar is a very accomplished composer, and he’s an Iceland native. He’s the guy that Mike Patti called to get the session set up at studio Syrland We thought it would be a good idea to get an interview with him because, you know, none of us are actually Icelandic.

 

00:02:22:22 – 00:02:47:23

Chris Hayzel

But then I thought it would be cool to just have a conversation record That conversation. And then when the time was right, release that conversation to all of you as a podcast, because yes, these are really cool sample libraries. And yes, we hope you enjoy them. But we wanted to give you the opportunity to dive a little deeper and learn a little bit more, just as we did about Iceland’s unique and interesting musical heritage.

 

00:02:48:02 – 00:03:06:21

Chris Hayzel

In the conversation, we talk about Iceland’s history. What seems to be the national attitude of Icelanders, how that has shaped the music and what we felt each of us could take away from that. We also just kind of talked about composing and music in general because, you know, it’s a it’s a podcast. What are you going to do?

 

00:03:06:23 – 00:03:25:18

Chris Hayzel

So with that, we present to you the very first episode of Do We Have a name? Do we? Did we come up with a name for it? No. Okay. So with that, we present to you the very first episode of and my conversation with Mike Patti and Veigar Margeirsson..

 

00:03:25:21 – 00:03:34:03

Veigar Margeirsson

And my wife is actually a professional makeup artist. I should have called her in here.

 

00:03:34:05 – 00:03:37:06

Chris Hayzel

So do I pronounce your name Veigar?

 

00:03:37:08 – 00:03:39:00

Veigar Margeirsson

Yes, Correct.

 

00:03:39:02 – 00:03:40:18

Chris Hayzel

And how. How do you pronounce your last name?

 

00:03:41:00 – 00:03:45:17

Veigar Margeirsson

I don’t. Margeirsson..

 

00:03:45:19 – 00:03:46:18

Chris Hayzel

Margeirsson.

 

00:03:46:18 – 00:03:57:03

Veigar Margeirsson

Son of Margeir. So my son is Veigar’s son and my daughter is Veigar’s daughter. So that’s. That’s how. That’s how we do it up here.

 

00:03:57:05 – 00:04:09:03

Chris Hayzel

That’s awesome. So, like, before we dive into Iceland, I think. Veigar, why don’t you just tell us a little bit about yourself? Give us a little bit of your backstory.

 

00:04:09:05 – 00:04:42:16

Veigar Margeirsson

I sound a little bit American because I lived in America for 20 years. I was born in Iceland in 1972. Should I say that? Did I really give away how old I am? And I always been interested in music. And I grew up in a town about 30, 40 minute drive from Reykjavik. It’s called Keflavik and had a great music school when I was a kid.

 

00:04:42:18 – 00:05:07:20

Veigar Margeirsson

I started playing trumpet at the age of ten and, you know, played in marching bands and just got got into like you guys may have as well. You know, when I was 12, 13, 14, started playing in rock bands, playing by ear. You know, when I got confirmed with confirmation as a big deal in Iceland, people would get like a stereo for their room or something as a gift.

 

00:05:07:21 – 00:05:10:15

Veigar Margeirsson

I got a role on Juno to Synth.

 

00:05:10:15 – 00:05:11:01

Chris Hayzel

Night.

 

00:05:11:01 – 00:05:44:20

Veigar Margeirsson

Which I regretfully, I don’t have anymore. But, you know, I was always playing in bands, and I also had the ability to play by ear kind of easily. And I have a feeling, Mike, you can relate to that because I think you do as well. And I got interested in, you know, arranging and songwriting and composing. And when I was in my early twenties, I got a chance to tour internationally with a big jazz rock fusion band called Mezzo Forte.

 

00:05:44:22 – 00:05:46:14

Chris Hayzel

What were you doing with mezzo forte?

 

00:05:46:20 – 00:05:53:18

Veigar Margeirsson

I was playing I was playing backup keyboards and I was playing trumpet in the horn section.

 

00:05:53:20 – 00:05:57:05

Chris Hayzel

Yeah, you sent me. You sent me one of their songs. It was awesome.

 

00:05:57:07 – 00:06:00:11

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah, it was probably Garden Party, Their biggest hit.

 

00:06:00:13 – 00:06:01:13

Chris Hayzel

Yeah. Yeah, that’s the.

 

00:06:01:13 – 00:06:33:16

Veigar Margeirsson

One is still a big hit. And these guys are my friends to this day. But I kind of discovered early that I didn’t want to be a touring musician. I liked writing music. I like playing music. I like traveling. I didn’t really like touring in a band. I don’t really know why. I just it just wasn’t me. Also, I became a father fairly young, and I’m always been kind of my family guy, you know?

 

00:06:33:16 – 00:07:00:17

Veigar Margeirsson

I like having somewhat of a regular home life, seeing my kids often and so on. But I moved to the US in 93 after I was touring and I went to Berklee College of Music, and I studied jazz trumpet, who really wanted to have my own big band, which is a great way to make no money and spend a lot of work writing.

 

00:07:00:19 – 00:07:31:12

Veigar Margeirsson

Then I transferred to the University of Miami and I did a master’s there and composing and arranging and then added one year University of Southern California, USC in L.A. and that one year became 16 years, you know, started building a career in L.A. And then I still have a business there. I still do a lot of work there, but I live in Reykjavik, Iceland, so I kind of get the I get the best of both worlds.

 

00:07:31:14 – 00:07:35:01

Chris Hayzel

And how did you two meet?

 

00:07:35:03 – 00:07:36:00

Veigar Margeirsson

I think.

 

00:07:36:02 – 00:07:58:20

Mike Patti

I think I think. Veigar So Veigar is a composer, so I’m an owner of a sample company, so I tend to know lots of composers. But I think you had emailed long time ago, maybe ten or more, 12 years ago, about a problem that you were having with one of our instruments and you just like you just instant messaged me on I guess it was Facebook at the time.

 

00:07:58:20 – 00:08:09:15

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah, I think I asked around and somebody said just, just email the owner or something. Just message to the owner. Are you digging out that original message?

 

00:08:09:17 – 00:08:34:20

Mike Patti

Yes, I am trying to find. Let’s see. I was in 2010. All right. May 2nd, 2010, he said. Veigar says, Hey, Michael, I’m a fellow composer and user. I found your YouTube channel and it finds your stuff very insightful. Thanks for posting it. Regards, Veigar. okay. Of course he said something nice about me, so I was like, I like you.

 

00:08:34:22 – 00:08:53:18

Mike Patti

Yeah. And then, okay, we were working on some technical nerd stuff because at that time that was like 13 years ago in order to have a full orchestra session on your computer was a very unique thing. Like to have all of these sample libraries. So there are different work or work arounds, and there was something called Plug Bar Duel that we

 

00:08:53:22 – 00:08:54:22

Veigar Margeirsson

My God, Yeah.

 

00:08:54:22 – 00:09:06:06

Mike Patti

And I know Veigar was getting that set up. I had a bunch of YouTube videos. It’s super nerdy stuff, but like, I had it figured out and then we went back and forth just to get you set up.

 

00:09:06:07 – 00:09:25:00

Veigar Margeirsson

Remember that it was so good about making use of unused RAM on your computer or like tapping into it somehow and making everything a little bit more fluid. But I think the first time I heard about you, or maybe it was after you wrote this cue for Audio Machine.

 

00:09:25:02 – 00:09:29:00

Mike Patti

I wrote a lot for a company called Audio Machine, which does motion picture advertising.

 

00:09:29:02 – 00:09:40:12

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah, and I own a company called Pitch Hammer Music that does similar things. And I had heard some of your music with them. With Paul’s company.

 

00:09:40:14 – 00:09:41:05

Mike Patti

Yeah.

 

00:09:41:07 – 00:09:48:05

Veigar Margeirsson

And thought to myself, This guy knows how to write. Very crafty adventure writing.

 

00:09:48:09 – 00:10:16:16

Mike Patti

Thanks, man. Well, that was that was that was a fun night to go off on a tangent, but it was a fun time in the trailer music world around 2010, 2011. It was like, you know, Harry Potter was kind of ending. I mean, there’s a lot of fantasy, family adventure kind of stuff coming out. And that was that style of music where you could actually write melodies and, you know, it wasn’t it didn’t all have to be D Minor drones, which we have all had to write too.

 

00:10:16:18 – 00:10:20:11

Chris Hayzel

But I can’t tell you how many d minor drones I’ve done.

 

00:10:20:11 – 00:10:28:23

Mike Patti

Just But yeah, you got to write stuff that was like, you know, you know, Exactly.

 

00:10:29:00 – 00:10:48:13

Veigar Margeirsson

I just appreciate like, crafty composition. Yeah. Where the craft comes through, whether it’s like written in 1920 or 2020. This just, you know, I just like hearing when somebody does something that knows how to just craft a composition.

 

00:10:48:15 – 00:10:59:00

Chris Hayzel

Well, in something that’s interesting, right? Like, it’s like any music. You want to hear something that’s that’s interesting. That kind of makes you think about it a little bit, but not too much.

 

00:10:59:03 – 00:11:28:00

Veigar Margeirsson

And unfortunately, when it comes to trailer music, since we’re talking about it, a lot of times it has to be easily digestible when it comes to like how you voice your chords or how how conflict complex is your chord progression and so on. So right. One of my old mentors said to me once is that this is really great stuff, but it’s way too complicated.

 

00:11:28:02 – 00:11:40:00

Veigar Margeirsson

You must you must make this for the public. Like you can write this for your symphonic album. Don’t write it for my trailer album. And I was like, Okay, I get it. I get it.

 

00:11:40:01 – 00:11:45:02

Chris Hayzel

Yeah. So it’s sort of like the idea of like music for musicians versus music is a little bit more public.

 

00:11:45:02 – 00:12:00:09

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah. He also told me the joke was the difference between a jazz guitarist and a rock guitarist. What a rock guitarist, right? Plays three chords for 10,000 people. A jazz guitarist plays 10,000 chords for three people.

 

00:12:00:11 – 00:12:17:03

Chris Hayzel

That’s like the one. I’m going to have to keep that in my back pocket. All right. So, you know, MUZIO has this World Adventure Series that we’re getting ready to release. Make just for just for the uninitiated, can you give us sort of a bird’s eye view of what the World Adventure Series is?

 

00:12:17:05 – 00:12:45:05

Mike Patti

Yeah. So it started by traveling to different countries and sampling instruments and musicians within those countries. And we started off with four countries Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and South Africa. My family and I were already traveling. We we sold everything. We sold our house and and took the kids on a trip around the world. And we thought, well, we really smart.

 

00:12:45:05 – 00:12:50:05

Mike Patti

If we’re doing this, why don’t we mix business with it to selfishly.

 

00:12:50:07 – 00:13:08:14

Veigar Margeirsson

So I remember seeing a Facebook post about you traveling the world and I said, Hey, man, it’d be so awesome if you came to Iceland. Are you coming to Iceland to use comment or sent me a message right away and sent me the location of your Airbnb for Iceland? Yeah, there we started.

 

00:13:08:16 – 00:13:15:02

Mike Patti

That’s right about it. Right? I guess. Yeah. So I guess it was your idea if you got that. It’s like, you were.

 

00:13:15:04 – 00:13:20:11

Veigar Margeirsson

I saw you were traveling the world and just spontaneously asked, Is Iceland on your list and. Sure, that’s.

 

00:13:20:11 – 00:13:39:02

Mike Patti

Right. Okay, so delete that. Chris. He said the correct thing, so it’s vague. Ah. Who reached out to me? Yes. And but that was just a hang out. But then we were like, well, you know, maybe we should record some instruments just for fun. Maybe at your place, like, whatever, Like, yeah, not a big deal.

 

00:13:39:02 – 00:13:47:14

Chris Hayzel

Once you decided that you were going to record some instruments in Iceland, what happened then? How did you start to get it together?

 

00:13:47:16 – 00:14:05:11

Veigar Margeirsson

I seem to remember saying, Hey, if you need to like, need a place to work or do something, feel free to come. And then I got the sense from you that you wanted to kind of take this a lot further. It’s like, Hey, I’m here for a little bit of, you know, you want to want to do a real sample session.

 

00:14:05:11 – 00:14:28:01

Veigar Margeirsson

And I, I mean, I have an ISO booth. I can fit a couple of people in there and I got preamps and mikes. But when I like do a real recording, I like to go somewhere else. I like to go to Sealand and also Iceland. It’s about 400,000 people. Reykjavik is about 200,000 people. And there’s a surprising amount of like really good studios here.

 

00:14:28:03 – 00:14:41:16

Veigar Margeirsson

If you compare it to like where we are just south of the Arctic Circle in a volcanic island with not that many people. There is a surprising amount of culture available here.

 

00:14:41:16 – 00:14:57:12

Chris Hayzel

Why do you why do you think that is? Like I’ve noticed that that it seems like, you know, despite the the sort of smaller population, there seems to be a large proportion of those people who are like into the creative arts and things like.

 

00:14:57:13 – 00:15:25:10

Veigar Margeirsson

I, I have a few theories on it. If you would ask ten Icelanders about it, you’d probably get ten different answers. But I think there would be some kind of a common theme. There’s a phrase here which is that the red dust, which means this will be okay, things will turn out okay, and people use it almost to a fault, just like I.

 

00:15:25:12 – 00:15:48:00

Veigar Margeirsson

It’ll be fine. It’ll be okay. We have this just do it attitude. Hey, you want to be cool? Have a burger place. You know, in our neighborhood? Yeah, it would be really cool. Why don’t we just. Why don’t we just open a burger place and then a month later, two guys opening a burger place somewhere? I mean, there’s stories like that.

 

00:15:48:05 – 00:16:17:16

Veigar Margeirsson

Everyone, people just. They just don’t think about stuff that much. They just do it. There’s a certain amount of fearlessness and foolishness. And just like, you know what? What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen? Is anybody going to die? No. Yeah. Let’s do it. And, you know, it’s just like just people just go for it. Another reason is the winters are long and they’re dark and you have to stay inside a lot.

 

00:16:17:18 – 00:16:39:07

Veigar Margeirsson

So you just you’ve got to have something to do. The summer is a long and bright, you know, play out all day. But when you get into December, we’re talking 5 hours of daylight. It’s cold. And when the snowy and so you just have to find stuff to do his historically you know, when we when it comes to media, we’re way behind you guys.

 

00:16:39:07 – 00:17:06:12

Veigar Margeirsson

Until 1986, there was only one TV channel and there was no TV on Thursdays. And there was no TV in July because the staff had Thursdays off and they had a summer vacation in July. So we just had to find other things to do. But when it comes to music, arts, you know, theater, etc., the education system is just very strong.

 

00:17:06:12 – 00:17:35:17

Veigar Margeirsson

And there’s always been a large, a big belief in the arts. There’s a lot of grants, systems, there is a salary system for creators. People generally have good access to good schools, good music scores, good higher education. It doesn’t I mean, it doesn’t make you bankrupt if you want to go and get a bachelor’s degree and whether it’s in the arts or something else, you know.

 

00:17:35:18 – 00:17:53:11

Veigar Margeirsson

So those are just a few of the things. But I think mostly people are just not afraid to try stuff and fail. If people feel like a big deal, I screwed up. No one’s going to care tomorrow. So there’s just like they just do stuff. I mean, you know, in that.

 

00:17:53:11 – 00:18:24:03

Chris Hayzel

Sense, that’s interesting, too, because, like, it’s it’s always seemed to me like there’s a really big like when you look at some of the instruments that you guys recorded in Iceland session and you hear Icelandic music and there always seems to be this really big sort of emphasis or or at least inherent nature of exploration and, and experimentation that just that you guys seem to have.

 

00:18:24:05 – 00:18:58:00

Veigar Margeirsson

I think Bjork is a great example. She, she, I mean, the stuff that like, well I never would have thought of that. No one would have thought of that. And I think that’s just this kind of I think a lot of it comes from historically we didn’t have a lot of things to work with. I mean, even when I was starting out in music, I mean, some of the studios were pretty primitive and, you know, there weren’t Steinway is everywhere there just like this, just like we had to just use what we had.

 

00:18:58:00 – 00:19:20:15

Veigar Margeirsson

But I think it’s somehow in our heritage, not I think everyone’s I mean, whatever whatever your guys’s heritage is, I think some of the experiences of your parents and grandparents and great grandparents are somehow like woven into your DNA and just it’s kind of travels through us.

 

00:19:20:17 – 00:19:43:20

Chris Hayzel

It sounds like there are a lot of like complex sort of intricacies from just from history and from your guys’s heritage that all sort of feed into this musical history that you guys have. How do you think that that or do you see that sort of in modern Icelandic music?

 

00:19:43:22 – 00:20:17:12

Veigar Margeirsson

What I see now, like the spectrum of music has gotten so broad in a short amount of time, but I do see a lot of experimentation there, just less people trying to fit something, you know what I mean? Just like, Hey, I’m going to do this if somebody likes it, great. If not, it’ll just fade out and I’ll do something else rather than there’s less concern with I wonder where this is going to fit.

 

00:20:17:14 – 00:20:49:13

Veigar Margeirsson

It’s also feeding over into, you know, stage plays. Filmmaking or filmmaking has improved greatly in the last 30 years. The history is always there, but I think I think that happens very subconsciously. I don’t think people are necessarily trying to bring the heritage with them. It just kind of happens. But then again, you ask nine other people and you’ll get nine other answers.

 

00:20:49:15 – 00:21:17:05

Chris Hayzel

So it’s sort of unavoidable, right? Like when you think about, you know, like I do believe in the idea that music is a universal language. But there there’s also there are also very distinct differences between musical cultures, sort of like dialects of that language. Right. And so, like, even things like like rhythmic foundation or even tonal structures will sort of be different depending on where you go in the world.

 

00:21:17:07 – 00:21:41:10

Chris Hayzel

Yes. So it’s sort of unavoidable, you know, to to carry that heritage with you into your music. Because when I listen to Icelandic music, you know, even even between like the song you sent me from Mezzo forte and then Bjork and then Sigur Ros there, even though there are wildly different genres, there is sort of a through line there.

 

00:21:41:14 – 00:22:01:06

Chris Hayzel

There is there is something like the whole intro to that mezzo forte song that you sent me. I was like, the sounds of the of the region, you know, and it’s hard to put your finger on what that is, but it’s like there’s there’s definitely something that connects everybody there.

 

00:22:01:08 – 00:22:39:22

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah, It’s interesting to hear your take on it because I like known that song since I was a teenager and played it many times with and yeah, it’s so hard to pinpoint what it is. But to me the word that often comes to me is just it’s open. And I don’t know. I think like if you listen to very old, you know, you know, recordings of farmers reciting, you know, you know, poems from their region, like in perfect fifths, it’s just it’s very raw.

 

00:22:40:00 – 00:23:02:01

Veigar Margeirsson

Iceland is not very rich and folk music like some other neighboring countries are, like Norway, Sweden, Ireland and the Celtic Isles. And, you know, we’re it’s our music is a bit more primitive when it comes to folk music.

 

00:23:02:03 – 00:23:05:10

Chris Hayzel

But what do you mean by that? Well, like you say, it’s more we.

 

00:23:05:10 – 00:23:48:22

Veigar Margeirsson

Don’t have as many instruments that are traditional. We really only have one Icelandic instrument called Long Spell, which means long play, which is all just a little wooden box with one string. And that is like basically the heritage of our folk instruments. If you if we compare our folk music to let’s let’s take an extreme example and say Brazil, all these amazing rhythms and syncopations and like this just army of instruments and stuff, we don’t have like we don’t even have a fraction of that.

 

00:23:48:22 – 00:24:14:22

Veigar Margeirsson

Everything here is just cold and raw. I don’t mean cold in a bad way. It’s just a little primitive. I think it’s just bleeds through us. Where we come from, we we can’t turn it off. They are like the artists who are successful. Johan Johansson, the late film composer. I knew him. He was just a lovely guy. Really sharp, loved.

 

00:24:15:00 – 00:24:39:10

Veigar Margeirsson

He loved movies and obscure movies. And and, you know, he was asked in in in an interview once like, you know, how did you start, you know, change your music? So you got noticed by Hollywood. He said, I never changed anything that I’ve made music for years and nobody listened to it. But then all of a sudden people started liking it.

 

00:24:39:11 – 00:24:53:09

Veigar Margeirsson

Then everybody started liking it. And so I didn’t really change anything. I just did. I just wrote the kind of music I wanted to hear because I wasn’t hearing it anywhere else. And I was like, Man, what a great answer that is.

 

00:24:53:11 – 00:24:59:01

Chris Hayzel

I mean, that’s that’s the mic. Are you are you also an overthinker of music? I know I.

 

00:24:59:01 – 00:25:23:14

Mike Patti

Am. I think. Well, yeah, if you’re a professional and you’re trying to get stuff done by 3 p.m., I don’t think you can afford to. So sometimes the stuff we write is not really the, the best music, right? Sometimes it’s just a little bit of a commodity. You’re a craftsman at times. I miss the days it’s been a while where I’ve just kind of let myself write something that I enjoy.

 

00:25:23:16 – 00:25:43:19

Mike Patti

Yeah, you know, and I’m a little bit jealous of people that that have made a career out of doing that. Now, Veigar and I are similar in the sense that we’re, we’re building a business around the, around music production, which is a different way of looking at music. You’re you’re you’re serving something else with music.

 

00:25:43:21 – 00:26:09:03

Mike Patti

And that’s that’s a that’s a skill in itself. But it’s something it’s probably something that like a Rick Rubin would think is horrible. You know, Rick Rubin would say, no, never write something for someone else. Write it for yourself. For yourself, you know? Yeah. But also, you know, I think it’s also we have families and I’m just for me personally, I just I can’t believe someone would pay me to write music.

 

00:26:09:03 – 00:26:21:18

Mike Patti

I still I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’m still amazed. It’s the coolest thing. And I try to add maybe a little bit of heart and interest. Maybe if there’s more time. I know that’s how I think about it.

 

00:26:21:20 – 00:26:44:00

Chris Hayzel

Yeah, I feel like it’s also something that maybe comes with age a little bit. Like I know that when I was younger I had a lot less, you know, inhibition and when it came to writing music, like I could just sort of write whatever came to my head, even like with lyrics or whatever, you know, I could write gibberish, just words that I thought sounded nice.

 

00:26:44:02 – 00:27:04:16

Chris Hayzel

And then when I read them back, now I’m like, Yes, this isn’t saying anything, But I thought it was super cool at the time. And then as you get older, you start to become a little bit more self-aware and you know, also like being a musician, it’s not it’s not an easy road. You get your butt kicked along the way.

 

00:27:04:16 – 00:27:30:00

Chris Hayzel

If this is something that you choose to do with your life. And I feel like all of those things contribute to, you know, maybe being a little bit more self-conscious about about music and stuff like that. Like if you haven’t if you haven’t lived a life in music where you just sort of did whatever you wanted musically and then you were, you got good feedback for that.

 

00:27:30:00 – 00:28:08:13

Chris Hayzel

If throughout your life it kept being like, No, no, no, nobody wants to listen to that. No, no, no. You need to think about this differently and things like that. And that that kind of informs the way that you come to it, right? Yeah. Which is maybe why, you know, with Iceland in Icelandic music, there is that sort of freedom of experimental ocean or that through line of experimentation and expression, because maybe the cultural isolation that you sort of described, you know, between being an island and also having to just be inside for so much of the year and those kinds of things, maybe that’s a good thing because there are less people in your

 

00:28:08:13 – 00:28:10:18

Chris Hayzel

face telling you like, no, that’s not good.

 

00:28:10:19 – 00:28:48:10

Veigar Margeirsson

I mean, historically, the first settlers came here in the eight hundreds and men for about a thousand years. This was a rough place. I mean, the weather sucked. It was cold and wet and I mean, it’s just like all we did was survive. There was this wasn’t about living. I mean, it was how I mean, we lived in mud houses and and it was wet and cold and it’s just like, I’ve got nothing to lose attitude, just like I’m doing this.

 

00:28:48:10 – 00:29:10:01

Veigar Margeirsson

And if people don’t like it, just like they don’t care. And I wish I was that guy, but I’m not. I find like, like you were saying, Chris, I find myself, you know, being a little bit more self-conscious and self-aware of the older I get, which is weird because I care less what people say when I turn in a project.

 

00:29:10:01 – 00:29:32:00

Veigar Margeirsson

And if I get notes or something, I was like, I whatever. It’s like, yeah, it’s I have to change it for the project. But I remember when I was starting out and I got notes or rejections when I was like in my early years in the business, I would, I would get, I’d have a broken heart and just get this destroyed from, you know, having a track rejected or something.

 

00:29:32:00 – 00:29:39:23

Veigar Margeirsson

But then eventually I started understanding I wasn’t know what I was saying, I was bad. It was just like it wasn’t the fit for this particular project.

 

00:29:40:05 – 00:29:40:17

Chris Hayzel

Yeah.

 

00:29:40:19 – 00:30:18:00

Veigar Margeirsson

So but I struggle with what Mike was saying, you know, we’re creating music for a service, you know, they it’s, yeah, that’s a craft or a task in itself. Well, like you were saying, Mike, it’s, it’s tricky. And, you know, I sometimes feel like I’m playing, you know, some kind of a delicate fight between the, the, like, the business me and the and the artist me.

 

00:30:18:00 – 00:30:26:01

Veigar Margeirsson

It’s a sometimes it’s easy and a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s it’s a little it’s a little difficult.

 

00:30:26:03 – 00:31:05:09

Chris Hayzel

Yeah, I think I think for me like so I had a brief foray as a as a professional composer, I sort of fell into a career composing completely by accident. But when that happened, I think it was for like a period of five years like that was my job. And it made like the business aspect of it made it so much more complicated for me where I was like, suddenly I wasn’t enjoying making music outside of work hours anymore as much because I was like, I’ve been doing this all day.

 

00:31:05:11 – 00:31:11:10

Chris Hayzel

I don’t know. Being a musician and an artist is just complicated. And so why would anybody choose that?

 

00:31:11:12 – 00:31:14:12

Veigar Margeirsson

Because they couldn’t think of doing anything else. I think.

 

00:31:14:12 – 00:31:19:05

Chris Hayzel

Yeah, there’s there’s nothing else you can do. You’re like, This is. This is what I do.

 

00:31:19:07 – 00:31:35:09

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah. I was asked that in a newspaper interview years ago. It’s like if you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? It was like, and I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about that for a long time. I was going to be an engineer when I was little, but that’s just because my big brother is an engineer.

 

00:31:35:11 – 00:31:38:03

Chris Hayzel

An audio engineer, or just an engineer.

 

00:31:38:09 – 00:31:40:00

Veigar Margeirsson

Like civil engineer.

 

00:31:40:02 – 00:31:40:08

Chris Hayzel

okay.

 

00:31:40:09 – 00:31:41:20

Veigar Margeirsson

Natural engineer.

 

00:31:41:22 – 00:31:42:18

Chris Hayzel

wow.

 

00:31:42:20 – 00:31:43:12

Mike Patti

Yeah.

 

00:31:43:14 – 00:31:47:01

Chris Hayzel

Something useful.

 

00:31:47:03 – 00:32:11:14

Veigar Margeirsson

I will tell you. Yeah. Of useful. One of the greatest piece of advice I’ve ever gotten was in 2003 when my son was born. He was premature, born at Cedars-Sinai in L.A., and he was very premature. And he’s 20 today and doing just fine. But he had an episode. He was ten weeks in the hospital and the knee.

 

00:32:11:14 – 00:32:43:15

Veigar Margeirsson

Q There was like all kinds of there was some big commotion, you know, a bunch of people around his, you know, his area. And we were just pushed away. And then everything calmed down. Everything was okay. And his chief doctor neonatologist was he was kind of telling me what was going on. Everything was okay now and then he I was walking with him out in the hall and I said, Man, I feel like I feel like what I do is just pointless.

 

00:32:43:17 – 00:33:16:12

Veigar Margeirsson

I mean, here you are, saving like tiny little babies. And I’m, you know, writing music for some movie that no one’s going to care about. And he was just like, Man, you got this all wrong, is that everything is just as important as the next thing. I mean, when I’m done here, I need to go home. I listen to music, I read books, I watch TV, I watch movies.

 

00:33:16:14 – 00:33:41:19

Veigar Margeirsson

If I can’t do that, I can’t do this job. If I can’t, you know, feed my brain, feed my mind, feed my soul, I can’t do what I do. Is it? So don’t think for a second that what I do is any more important than what you do. It’s all it’s all equal. And I was like, Wow, that was pretty profound for me when he said that.

 

00:33:41:21 – 00:33:54:09

Veigar Margeirsson

I still think what he does is a little bit more cool than I do and important. But it it reminded me that, like we all play a part in this overall thing, you know.

 

00:33:54:11 – 00:33:55:09

Chris Hayzel

That’s really cool.

 

00:33:55:14 – 00:34:09:04

Veigar Margeirsson

If you didn’t make the samples, I didn’t, I wouldn’t have sauce to work with and then I couldn’t do my job. And then the people who take my product and put it out there, they couldn’t do their job, etc.. So that all plays a part.

 

00:34:09:06 – 00:34:43:04

Chris Hayzel

When that kind of brings you to also like if you’re if you ever feeling that, you know, making spending your time making music is useless, it might be helpful to consider that all of these different cultures, whether it’s Iceland and or Africa or, you know, all of these super primitive cultures that were pretty isolated in their times way, way back in the day felt it was important enough to stretch a skin over a hollow piece of wood and make a drum and and music.

 

00:34:43:09 – 00:35:05:21

Chris Hayzel

That’s something that we’ve been doing since the dawn of history, you know, before since before history. And for some reason, there’s this innate drive in us not to just to make it, but to hear it, to absorb it and those kinds of things. And I wonder where where that comes from. But it’s obviously an important thing.

 

00:35:05:23 – 00:35:12:02

Veigar Margeirsson

I think it’s because it’s something we do together. Yeah, I think that’s a huge part of it.

 

00:35:12:04 – 00:35:36:09

Chris Hayzel

So they are like as as you guys were preparing to do this and like, you knew that you were going to go into those sample sessions and, and sample these instruments. Was there anything in your mind that was just like, absolutely crucial for synth samples or MUZIO to get right in order to properly represent Icelandic music?

 

00:35:36:11 – 00:36:01:14

Veigar Margeirsson

From my point of view, what and I like you see this, and I knew that you weren’t going to screw this up as don’t get a Norwegian composer to the Norwegian choir to sing Icelandic or something like that. Make make sure the wording and phrasing and the sounds phonetically or actually are authentic. Yes. And I know that you take that seriously.

 

00:36:01:14 – 00:36:39:12

Veigar Margeirsson

So that was never an issue because sometimes you know what sounds Icelandic to you spoken or sung by, you know, somebody else will not sound like that. You know, to me, the, you know, Bear McCreary composer. Yeah, he came here to record the choir for God of War several, several years ago. And his producer, Peter Catterall, who happens to be an old friend of mine, called me, said, Hey, I need I need information on Norwegian choirs.

 

00:36:39:14 – 00:37:00:04

Veigar Margeirsson

I said, okay, is it why are you calling me? Is it Well, it’s got to be Old Norse and I was wondering if, you know, anybody in Oslo or something is a know if it’s Old Norse. You need Icelandic because Old Norse is much closer to Icelandic than Norwegian. So they ended up coming here and recording us. They’ve been here a few times.

 

00:37:00:06 – 00:37:08:21

Chris Hayzel

The choir that you guys used right, like that was I’ve I’ve heard it’s a pretty active choir in Iceland and they’ve done a lot of stuff. You said, you know, a lot.

 

00:37:08:21 – 00:37:09:14

Mike Patti

Of session work.

 

00:37:09:14 – 00:37:42:18

Veigar Margeirsson

I know choir music is a very big part of our music heritage. Traditionally, there’s there’s a lot of singing, there’s a lot of there are professional choirs, there’s a lot of amateur choirs. Is women only choir. There’s children’s choirs. Every town has like a church choir or a male choir. So there’s there’s like a big, big historic social element to singing together.

 

00:37:42:23 – 00:38:07:16

Veigar Margeirsson

It also has to do with with the long nights, no TV on Thursdays, etc.. So yeah, I’ll give you a personal example. There’s a bar downtown called Cow. They call this a beer brand. They have this really cool bar and there’s a honky tonk piano there. And I had some American friends with me, and the piano was like, I, can you play this?

 

00:38:07:16 – 00:38:30:16

Veigar Margeirsson

And yeah, I’ll play. So I started playing and I started playing a song that all Icelanders know and everyone stopped what they were doing and they sang the song that’s just like full on. And then when I stopped everybody like, okay, great, clapped. And then she started to go do what they were doing. My friends were like, What the hell happened here?

 

00:38:30:18 – 00:38:55:18

Veigar Margeirsson

It’s just like you know, we we unite in song, I guess more than more than Americans kind of unite to their favorite sports team. It’s a little different. It’s just a little bit of a different thing. I mean, Americans typically don’t get together. It’s like, hey, let’s all sing together. I never quite experienced that. Yeah.

 

00:38:55:20 – 00:38:57:07

Chris Hayzel

No, not a common occurrence.

 

00:38:57:07 – 00:39:24:07

Veigar Margeirsson

Something to do with our culture. You know, when you go, like, to your cabin on a Saturday, you know, you know, people bring a guitar and sing sing a few songs like, I don’t know, it’s just very normal here. I think it’s just this this part of togetherness just to like right here, right now. It’s like very just it’s the moment here everybody’s together.

 

00:39:24:09 – 00:39:46:17

Veigar Margeirsson

I don’t know. It’s just if we didn’t have music or if somebody hadn’t had the foresight of making a drum like us. I have a good friend who’s who’s the doctors. He’s just like, If we didn’t have music, why would we want to save lives? I mean, what would be the point if we didn’t have any arts or, you know, music, movies?

 

00:39:46:18 – 00:39:55:07

Veigar Margeirsson

It’s like, what would be the point of Kim getting out of bed in the morning if we had nothing to enjoy? Yeah, this is getting philosophical.

 

00:39:55:09 – 00:40:01:07

Chris Hayzel

That’s okay. I guess that’s what podcasts are for. Write or video, I guess. Yes. I don’t know. What do you think, Mike?

 

00:40:01:11 – 00:40:07:10

Mike Patti

I’ve been actually a little distracted. I’m sorry, in the last few minutes. no. I’m working on a pitch check.

 

00:40:07:12 – 00:40:08:05

Chris Hayzel

okay. Okay.

 

00:40:08:10 – 00:40:09:11

Veigar Margeirsson

There is nothing.

 

00:40:09:12 – 00:40:24:00

Chris Hayzel

But so you know, you’ve talked about how like, how the the seasons affect the music and how your history and heritage of a vocal tradition affects the music and.

 

00:40:24:02 – 00:40:25:14

Veigar Margeirsson



00:40:25:16 – 00:40:30:03

Chris Hayzel

And the the sort of everything will be okay attitude.

 

00:40:30:05 – 00:40:31:00

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah.

 

00:40:31:01 – 00:40:53:01

Chris Hayzel

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t also draw attention to Iceland’s incredible landscape. Like Iceland is is known for this just otherworldly sort of visual landscape. How do you think that that impacts the music of Iceland?

 

00:40:53:03 – 00:41:27:09

Veigar Margeirsson

I think it’s just in all of us somehow. I mean, I don’t think there’s a choice I mean, we have a lot of lava new and old. We have glaciers. It’s stark, it’s cold, it’s in some senses it’s brutal and like horrendous in a way and striking. It’s very powerful, though. Like if you take the landscape and the weather here, it’s striking and it’s powerful.

 

00:41:27:11 – 00:41:54:15

Veigar Margeirsson

I mean, just this recent weeks, I mean, the area between Reykjavik and the international airport has been just shaking violently. There’s a town of 4000 people here, grind of it that no one can live in right now because it’s just been torn apart with big gaps in in the town. And I’ve friends there and everybody has to just find places elsewhere to live.

 

00:41:54:15 – 00:42:16:12

Veigar Margeirsson

It’s just it’s extreme power. But I think it’s just like, what I said earlier. It’s just like, you know, this fearlessness. And, you know, a lot of the artists here, you know, where this visual art or even, you know, playwrights, authors, not to mention all the music, it’s just this like, you know, this is who I am and this is it.

 

00:42:16:14 – 00:42:23:00

Veigar Margeirsson

You know, deal with it. I wish that was me Every day it’s me some days, but not every day.

 

00:42:23:01 – 00:42:43:10

Mike Patti

Yeah, I think we need all of those kinds of people. Yeah. Yeah, I think we need the artists that the artists that are fearless and a little bit out there. But I don’t know if we would want them to score a movie, right, Because it’s a different skill set. Usually. Sometimes that person will get hired to score the movie and then someone like me or Veigar will be there behind the scenes to smooth them.

 

00:42:43:10 – 00:43:07:11

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah. No, you bring up a really important point. It’s just like, you know, there has to be this balance of, of, of things and, you know. Well, Chris, I don’t know you well enough yet, but, Mike, we we have this similarity and you’ve already touched on it like we’re, we’re creative guys. We got into this for the music.

 

00:43:07:11 – 00:43:36:21

Veigar Margeirsson

We didn’t get into this for the spreadsheets and managing people and managing deadlines, but we need both. And and at the end of the day, we’re making music we’re working in the music business, which is like getting paid for. That is pretty cool still. Yes. Like you said, and you kind of reminded me and and, you know, there’s a lot of people who would love to switch places with all of us.

 

00:43:36:23 – 00:43:58:10

Veigar Margeirsson

Absolutely. And I think anybody like whether you’re a successful musician or artists or not, a lot of the time, day to day, isn’t music. It’s something else dealing with people, your team, you know, travel. So it’s not like you’re doing music all time.

 

00:43:58:12 – 00:44:30:08

Chris Hayzel

No, that’s a it’s a really good point. And that’s not just for being a composer. Like that’s if you’re an artist too. And my dad’s an artist and he’s been working very regularly since like the eighties and most of his time is spent sitting on airplanes and I mean, music artist, he’s a singer. Yeah. but yeah, he just he spends most of his time on airplanes, you know, it’s it’s like out of a day, actually.

 

00:44:30:08 – 00:44:47:23

Chris Hayzel

Most of the time, maybe like 30 or 45 minutes of his day is singing. And then the rest of his day is like traveling, packing, you know, dealing with the venue manager and getting paid out and all of those things. A lot of it is, you know, the business.

 

00:44:48:01 – 00:44:48:18

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah.

 

00:44:48:20 – 00:45:23:17

Chris Hayzel

Yeah. One thing that I do want to ask is that like, you know, you were part of sort of bringing this project to life, this Iceland leg of the World Adventure Series, and it’s going to be coming out really soon. And like as, as people start to open it up and start to play with it and experiment and explore these sounds, what do you and this is for both of you guys like what do you hope that they take away from it?

 

00:45:23:19 – 00:45:25:19

Veigar Margeirsson

Mike You want me to start or.

 

00:45:25:21 – 00:45:35:06

Chris Hayzel

Yes, Mike’s working on his pitch deck. So just talking about. We were just talking about how it’s the business, right?

 

00:45:35:07 – 00:45:37:00

Mike Patti

Art idea is the business.

 

00:45:37:02 – 00:45:37:11

Chris Hayzel

I.

 

00:45:37:13 – 00:46:08:21

Veigar Margeirsson

I mean, I this is like a cliche answer. I hope they find something that, like, they haven’t heard before or they haven’t seen before. And I hope what they can start using sparks, something creative on their end. That’s what I would hope. And I also hope that, you know, it encourages them to explore more, more of Icelandic music and more of Icelandic arts in general.

 

00:46:08:21 – 00:46:41:15

Veigar Margeirsson

I mean, Iceland is been popular as a tourist destination in recent years, which is great, but a lot of people don’t know much about it. I know that one of the great things about MUZIO and about singing samples has always been the sauce has always been created very craft fully. So I know that, you know, I’m not going to be dealing with some, you know, latency issues or technical hissing noises or anything.

 

00:46:41:15 – 00:47:05:03

Veigar Margeirsson

So like I can just start using and start creating my own stuff with create creating something. And so I know that the it’s going to be well, I know everything is well done, well executed, and you know, it’s going to be a plug and play enjoyable experience. Mike you want to add to that?

 

00:47:05:05 – 00:47:29:00

Mike Patti

I think you nailed it. I think obviously, number one, we mind we want to make an instrument set that is inspiring for people that are writing music for film, TV and games and at the same time make sure that it’s done with with authenticity, you know? Yeah. And if we can make sure that the people of Iceland actually appreciate it, you know, and we know that’s we’ve done something.

 

00:47:29:00 – 00:47:30:10

Veigar Margeirsson

Good, I think they will.

 

00:47:30:12 – 00:47:41:01

Mike Patti

Because we could we could fake it. Right. That’s that’s what we do in Los Angeles. That’s all we do is fake things. But I think it could be cool to check both of those boxes.

 

00:47:41:03 – 00:48:01:02

Chris Hayzel

Yeah, it’s kind of like hoping that the the sounds from this culture that sort of has this anything anything goes type of mentality like you were explaining, hoping that these sounds sort of inspire that maybe in someone who doesn’t come from there.

 

00:48:01:04 – 00:48:24:08

Veigar Margeirsson

Yeah, I would hope so. Experimenting greatly and you know, not being afraid of making mistakes while doing it. So the the famous phrase is theater red dust, which means this will be fine. Our plane leaves in 20 minutes. It’ll be fine. I don’t think so.

 

00:48:24:10 – 00:48:37:14

Chris Hayzel

So if you’re if you’re watching this, go open up the Iceland session and just start playing something because it’ll be fine. Don’t worry too much about it. Just going to explore.

 

00:48:37:16 – 00:48:39:02

Veigar Margeirsson

You.

 

00:48:39:04 – 00:48:46:02

Chris Hayzel

Cool. Well, thank you guys for taking the time. Is there is there anything else that either one of you guys want to say or.

 

00:48:46:04 – 00:48:50:18

Mike Patti

Well, I hope that that volcano doesn’t doesn’t erupt on you guys.

 

00:48:50:18 – 00:48:52:12

Chris Hayzel

Yeah.

 

00:48:52:14 – 00:48:56:05

Mike Patti

What’s the status on that? It’s I’ve watched the news every day.

 

00:48:56:05 – 00:49:29:06

Veigar Margeirsson

Like looking less likely every day. They saying the lava that’s under the town is 90% hardened. But this area has woken up after 800 years of doing nothing. So there will be more activity in years and decades to come. So, you know, we’re dealing with a new reality here that, you know, the volcanoes are closer to the towns than we are used to, or they’re like waking up again.

 

00:49:29:08 – 00:49:35:04

Veigar Margeirsson

But, you know, certain artists will be fine.

 

00:49:35:06 – 00:49:55:20

Chris Hayzel

A special thanks to Veigar Margeirsson for joining us for this chat and giving us a little more insight into Iceland’s rich musical history. But don’t take our word for it. Head over to Museo dot com to explore The Iceland and women of the North Library’s completely free for 30 days. And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out all of the other collections of premium virtual instruments that are included.

 

00:49:55:22 – 00:50:02:06

Chris Hayzel

If you enjoyed this chat and want to catch more, be sure to subscribe and keep an eye out for new episodes. Thank you all for listening.