Lord Pusswhip – on a Mission to take Icelandic Hip-Hop to Berlin

Lord Pusswhip is someone you definitely heard about if you already dealt with Icelandic hip-hop music. If not, it´s about time to get to know Þórður Ingi Jónsson and his music. When I was writing my project theses last semester, I was listening to the album Lord Pusswhip Is Wack the whole time. It was the perfect mix of ass-kicking sounds for my writing and chill out beats to calm down.

Last year in August, Þórður was at Björk´s aftershow party of her only show in Berlin at Zitadelle in Spandau. He was really inspired by the mind-blowing DJ-Set this evening so he decided to move to Berlin. A few months later, Þórður is sitting on a bench at Prenzlauer Berg, drinking his favourite Icelandic beer Einstök and talks about the music scene in Iceland, his love for horror movies and what inspires him to make music.

How did you come up with the idea to move to Berlin and what kind of possibilities do you see for yourself?

After I came here last summer, I kind of decided on a whim to move to Berlin. It gives me the opportunity to expand my horizon and to reach a bigger audience for my music. In Iceland everything starts to turn into routine after a while, so it was the right time to switch that up.

What do you think is the main difference between Berlin and Reykjavik when it comes to the music scene of both cities?

You know, at least in Reykjavík it feels like there is one scene because everybody knows each other, so it´s not really hard to reach out to people. Berlin, however, is really big, the scenes are scattered and they don’t really interact much. There is always so much stuff going on, so that everybody can find something that fits their taste in music or in anything else. I know that there is not really a big hip-hop scene, but that gives more space to create a scene.

Among other stuff, you produced songs for quite known American artists like T@ Kid or Antwon. How did you manage to build relationships to artists like that?

That was a long time after I lived in the States because when I lived in the States I was 14 and wasn’t producing music yet. I guess it´s just the beauty of the internet that gives producers like me the chance to find a rapper they like and reach out to him. If he then likes my beats I can get someone I´ve been listening to myself on my beats which feels amazing. T@ Kid is now called Bones. I produced for him in 2012 before he blew up, because he is kind of big now. It’s kind of a long story with Antwon. I have been sending him beats and he was into it but nothing really came out of it. But then it was Ben Cook from the Canadian band Fucked Up that was also playing at Iceland Airwaves, who knew Antwon from the Hardcore scene and hooked it up again. So thanks to Ben Cook who brought up the connection again. It is pretty much the power of the internet.

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And what about all the Icelandic artists you worked together with? Is that a result of the general network in Iceland or kind of special for you?

That was basically the idea for my debut which is almost more like a compilation album. It has collaborations with people from all over Iceland and that was just me picking out artists that I liked from the Icelandic scene. Like I said, the scene is so tightly-knit, I already knew all those guys.

Do you have any favourite artists or heroes that inspired you to do what you´re actually doing?

There are many. I first started out to make music when I was 11 or 12 years old. My friends and I were in a punk band, so I was a huge punk rocker when I was a kid. I guess that pretty much influenced my music and I also was really inspired by the whole do-it-yourself thing. Well I could say there are two producers who inspired me to start making beats which are definitely El-P from Company Flow and Run the Jewels and SpaceGhost Purrp. That was 2010/2011 when I started making beats.

Your music videos have a very special style of how they are filmed. Where do you get your ideas?

In reference to the VHS thing, it´s definitely because I´m a big movie fan and I always loved horror movies and cult movies. It was kind of a big nostalgia thing with the VHS tapes. You can also see that on the t-shirts we just made last year, it’s a pretended cover for an old VHS tape that you would find in a video record store. It has the band and the “under-18-sticker” and also the VHS sticker on it. All the music videos that are on YouTube – there were a lot of people who have helped out with it like my brother who has sometimes been kind of an art director. Also other people have sometimes directed the videos but I have of course still my ideas of how it should look like in the end.

Like in Psychoplasmics, did you use footage you already have had or was the whole video filmed for the song specifically?

I was at a high school in Denmark this time and my friend Alfred came to visit. We made this song in my school in Denmark and it was kind of different because we actually used a lot of instruments to record it and we were so happy with it that we decided to make a video. The video was shot specifically for the song. I just came home from Denmark and had like a welcome home party. I borrowed a VHS camera and shot most of the thing in just one night. I remember that I woke up the next day and was like – “wait, where is the camera? Fuck, where is the camera?” I was freaking out because I had been so drunk the night before and thought I might have lost the camera. But thankfully the owner of the camera had been kind of following me like my shadow the whole night and at one point took the camera away from me, thank god.

What would be the perfect thing that could happen in Berlin regarding your future here?

Being able to play live and as a DJ as well as producing for people so I could kind of make a living out of it, that´s obviously the dream. I dearly would like to play every week here which is not the status at the moment, even though I have a few shows coming up. But yeah, it would be lovely to be more settled in. I´m kind of newly arrived so it´s all hopefully coming up.

Is there any song of your own that you are most proud of?
At the moment I would say either Psychoplasmics or one from my debut album – the song Endurminning with Lauren Auder, my friend who lives in France.

“Well, that is also the most played song from your album on SoundCloud at the moment.” Yeah, I think it is. Thankfully. There is also a video coming soon, too.

What is your favourite Song right now? Do you have any recommendations?

I’m always trying to discover new music but… I’m gonna go for the non-musical answer. I´ve been listening a lot to a podcast called “Last podcast on the left” which is about serial killers, aliens and conspiracy theories, stuff like that. That kind of gives me a lot of inspiration. So yeah, I´m gonna take the none music answer. I can´t think of my favourite song at the moment.

Any favourite artist from Berlin?

All this kinda futuristic club music like the Janus crew. When I saw Arca and Lotic DJ-ing at Björk’s afterparty it was so mindblowing that it kind of inspired me to move. I remember that I had to make a mix for Berlin Community Radio at that time and I just woke up early after that party and I made the whole mix in just two hours because I was still so inspired by the set. It was really kind of next level and forward thinking I would say.

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Any music in Berlin you don’t like?

I would say I´m not a big techno fan. It´s weird to move to Berlin without being a big techno music fan. My only complaint about the Berlin music scene would be that, sure techno music is fine, but it is played everywhere. Sometimes you go to a club, even a huge club, and they have four different rooms, but then you go check out the other rooms and it is just the same super fucking hardcore techno music, so they don’t even switch it up sometimes. Normally you think you´d at least have one room for chill out or something. That’s not the case. It´s ntz ntz ntz ntz everywhere.

That’s a thing I hear a lot. Many people are tired of all those techno music in the clubs and wish for more rock or hip-hop music and more variety in general.

Like I said before, in this context the hip-hop scene is not really big, it´s kind of open for new stuff to break through. Sometimes, it´s kind of weird to come here and be like a hip-hop producer from Iceland. But I can see that’s a positive thing because then you have possibilities. And you know the guys from Live From Earth? They contacted me first when I came here and I have those two shows with them which is cool.

What is your favourite club in Berlin which you go often?

I would say Ohm. When you go there they don’t have the techno music I was talking about. Mostly when I go there they play something a bit different than the very hard techno. They got more variety I guess. I like that. I went to Berghain for the first time the other day and it was definitely interesting. But I still don’t know much about which club is the spotted of. I´ve been kind of chilled out since I came here, I haven´t been partying that much.

Any last words?

Book me for your show. It´s gonna be worth it!

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Lord Pusswhip on Soundcloud
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Upcoming Shows:
March, 15th – Support act at Noisey Nights x Live From Earth

The interview was conducted by Steffi Meisl on March 1st in 2016.
Photos: Steffi Meisl

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