Get to know: Tófa


If you have (hopefully) read our Airwaves ’16 crew picks article you know that five-piece and female-fronted garage punk band Tófa is one our hot picks for this year’s festival. But moreover, they have just released their second album “Teeth Richards” which we highly recommend you to check it out at their bandcamp page.

Two perfect reasons to ask Allie (vocals), Kjartan (guitar), Árni (baritone guitar), Andri (bass) and Jóhannes (drums) a few questions on their album, their attitude towards music and their personal Airwaves ’16!

1) Hi guys! You’re an Icelandic band – but not all of you are from Iceland – Allie’s from US. How and when did you find each other and decided to start the band Tófa?

The four guys in the band have known each other for years and have all at some point played in each others bands. When our two main projects slowed down we still had our practice space so we started meeting up on weekends, drinking beer and playing something new and exciting – something completely different from what we had been doing for the last ten years. We had met Allie a few months before since she married one of our best friends and moved to Iceland. We instantly hit it off with her and asked her to be in the band before we really knew she could sing. It turns out that she can, and thus, Tófa was born. We´ve always had a clear vision of that this project is supposed to be pure fun, and a platform to do whatever we think of. As soon as that changes the band is done.

2) “Teeth Richards” is your second album after “Fleetwood Max” back in 2015. Next one maybe “Bruise Springsteen”? 😉 Does those names have some deeper meaning? Like your music is sharp as teeth and you’re always striving to the max? 😉

I wish I had a great answer for this. It´s really all just fun and games. Something that cracks us up. But the album names do imply some iconaclasty, that there are not any set rules to follow with this band. Although your explanation probably makes more sense…

3) What are your musical and personal influences and experiences you’re incorporating into your music and lyrics? The music sounds raw and wild, is it something like a valve for emotions and tensions?

Like I mentioned before I think the band is a platform for us to do and express whatever we want. We´re all easy going people but when we make music it tends to channel frustration and anger towards our enviornment, stupid shit happening in the world and right here in Reykjavík. So yes, it´s definitively a way of releasing tension. The crafting of the songs and lyrics are definitively methodical though. We tend to spend weeks on perfecting a song, scrambling the lyrics around, adding and detracting parts etc. It´s not necessarily always that though. Sometimes we just like to see how hard and dissonant we can make whatever we´re working on.

4) The album is for “those who speak up and fight for more justice and and peace in this fucked up world” as you have written on your Facebook page. Do you think it’s the purpose of music to convey a message? Would you write music also” just for fun” or would you think something’s missing then?

I definitively don´t think all music needs to have a purpose – although most great music does to an extent, whatever that may be. And yes, we´d all write music just for fun all day, every day. We wrote “Teeth Richards” in the dead of last winter. There´s so much terrible shit happening in the world and even right here at home, especially with this ridiculous government we´ve had for the past couple of years that is makes you feel powerless. It´s too big to phathom so we express what frustration we can by making coordinated noise.

5) Airwaves is already almost knocking at our doors. Where can we see you live this year and what can we expect? What are you personally looking forward to most besides your own gigs – including which other bands? And is anyone of you also part of other bands playing the festival?

You can except us to really give it our all at every single show. It´s going to be loud, refreshing and most of all fun. We´re playing a lot this festival, here are the dates:

Monday 31st October – 17:30 – Lucky Records
Wednesday 2nd November – 18:00 – Kaffibarinn
Thursday 3rd November – 17:30 – Hitt Húsið (very special yoga gig)
Thursday 3rd November – 18:30 – 12 Tónar
Friday 4th November – 14:30 – Loft Hostel
Friday 4th November – 16:00 – Hlemmur Square
Saturday 5th November – 20:00 – Gaukurinn (on-venue)

There are a lot of great Icelandic bands playing, e.g. Gunnar Jónsson Collider, Rugl, Agent Fresco, Wesen, Hildur, Kiasmos and the list goes on and on. Don´t make me choose! Of the foreign bands, I´m most looking forward to seeing PJ Harvey, she´s one of my personal favourites. Also I really want to see Warpaint, Santigold, Idles, Julia Holter and Adia Victoria.

Thanks a lot for answering our questions and see you at Airwaves!

Photo © Tófa


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