Iceland Airwaves 2013


From October 30-November 4, 2013 Columbia College Radio, Journalism, and film students will venture to Reykjavík, Iceland, to cover Iceland Airwaves Music Festival via the Covering International Festivals: Iceland course. Here is a collection of their previews, live reviews, artist interviews, podcasts, daily blogs, on-air segments and more from the class and the trip.


Congratulations to Covering International Festivals: Iceland 2013 student Dan Shearer, who took home the first place prize for best station blog with his Day 5 coverage of Iceland Airwaves at the 2014 IBS Golden Microphone Awards!

Read his award-winning post here.


Stream the 2013 Iceland Airwaves Radio Documentary below; it will also air Saturday 3/1 at 9:30 a.m. CT!

From L to R: Michelle Pizzo, Althea Legaspi, Brendan Taylor, Andrew Hoefert, Dan Malone, Kellie Wyatt, Bryce Coachman, Jesse Betend, and Dan Shearer.
From L to R: Michelle Pizzo, Althea Legaspi, Brendan Taylor, Andrew Hoefert, Dan Malone, Kellie Wyatt, Bryce Coachman, Jesse Betend, and Dan Shearer.
By Brendan Taylor

If you missed the Monday airing of the 2013 Iceland Airwaves documentary produced by the Covering International Fests: Iceland class, now is your chance to stream it below and also catch the encore presentation Saturday March 1st from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The documentary will air uninterrupted and features student-produced pieces on topics ranging from Iceland’s progressive prison system, Reykjavík’s famed 12 Tónar Records, the mayor/comedian of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr and much more. Tune in to WCRXFM 88.1 in Chicago, or catch the live stream.

During our trip to the festival we encountered incredible hospitality from the people of Reykjavík, all of our interviewees, IcelandAir, the staff at the Iceland Airwaves festival, and Laugarvatn Fontana. Without the help and generosity of all those involved, the trip and documentary would never have come together.

Live performance from the 2013 Iceland Airwaves Festival.
Live performance from the 2013 Iceland Airwaves Festival.

Don’t miss the encore presentation of the 2013 Iceland Airwaves documentary , Saturday March 1st, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. only on Chicago’s Underground WCRX 88.1 FM. Or you can listen to the full documentary by clicking the link below.

Listen to the 2013 Iceland Airwaves documentary in full right here:

For information on Covering International Fests: Iceland class, email or contact the Radio Department.


Tune in TONIGHT from 9 – 11 p.m. CT for the 2013 Iceland Airwaves Radio Documentary; it will also air Saturday 3/1 at 9:30 a.m. CT!

By Dan Shearer

Iceland Airwaves 2013 radio documentary special produced by the Iceland Airwaves 2013 class will air TONIGHT from 9 to 11 p.m. CT and on Saturday, March 1 at 9:30-10:30 a.m. CT Tune in to WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago or listen to the live stream

We each left Iceland with pictures worth thousands of words and tonight on WCRX you’ll get to hear the stories we investigated that are worth so many more.

The Iceland Airwaves 2013 documentary is the end result of a week spent in Reykjavík, Iceland where we explored a culture unlike that found in Chicago or America as a whole. We each started in a place that featured common ground shared between our two countries but quickly embraced the differences when it came time to decide what we wanted to furthur explore in Iceland.

  • Jesse Betend met with the mayor of Reykjavik, Jón Gnarr, who brought more character to the position than an SNL mockup could ever deliver.
  • Bryce Coachman interviewed Icelandic rapper Kött Gra Pjé, an emerging hip-hop force in a land mostly known for the music contributions of Björk, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós; he also looked into race relations and arts in the school system.
  • Dan Malone met with the 14-piece band Hymnalaya and spoke with indie record store 12 Tónar, who were celebrating their 15th anniversary.
  • Kellie Wyatt explored the Icelandic prison system and found an environment unlike that featured on “Oz.”
  • Andrew Hoefert explored the anticipated inclusion of religion into the education curriculum, a topic that runs much deeper than the inclusion of “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.
  • Michelle Pizzo examined the fashion of Iceland, found out how Icelanders stay stylish while we were just focused on staying warm and explored women’s rights.
  • Brendan Taylor took a look at the current plight of many of Iceland’s new doctors for whom a change of scenery may be the best medicine for their career outlook ailments.
  • I explored Iceland’s life expectancy, which is the 4th highest in the world. It’s truly vital information.

The trip wouldn’t have been successful, or even possible without the guidance of our professor Althea Legaspi.

Thank you Althea!

A sincere “thank you” also goes out to everyone who took the time to help us learn more about your fascinating country, as well as Iceland AirwavesIcelandAir, and Laugarvatn Fontana.

Tune in this Monday, from 9 to 11 p.m. on WCRX-FM 88.1 to hear the Iceland Airwaves 2013 class radio documentary.


Iceland Airwaves 2013 radio documentary special produced by the Iceland Airwaves 2013 class will air Monday, February 24 from 9 to 11 p.m. and on Saturday, March 1 at 9:30-10:30 a.m. Tune in to WCRX-FM 88.1 in Chicago or listen to the livestream.  Check out some other stories the students produced from Iceland Airwaves.


We’re Back! While we work on our on-air documentary for WCRXFM, enjoy some photos from our trip

By Brendan Taylor

Well we’re back from six days in Reykjavík and already missing those delicious hot dogs and the overwhelming amount of great live music. We wanted to remember our trip to the Iceland Airwaves 2013 Music Festival through a series of photos (check them out here), from takeoff on Icelandair in Newark, NJ (their second flight from that airport) on through the vast array of bands, food and experiences we encountered, which are revealed through the slideshow. Enjoy!


It’s October 30 and we’ve arrived in Reykjavík for Iceland Airwaves Music Festival 2013! Check out the students’ Daily Blogs, audio interview teasers, follow along on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) with hashtag #cccairwaves13 and stay tuned right here for reviews, interviews, news on their WCRX radio documentary and much more. 


(L to R) Michelle Pizzo, Dan Shearer, Andrew Hoefert, Althea Legaspi, Kellie Wyatt, Brendan Taylor, Jesse Betend, Dan Malone, Bryce Coachman @ Harpa on Day One


We’re leaving for Iceland to cover Iceland Airwaves 2013 tomorrow (10/29)! In the meantime, check out students’ previews/cultural stories below, hear their Iceland culture audio interviews and read additional previews.

Listen to our Iceland Airwaves preview show, which aired on 10/16 and features a host of Icelandic artists in the lineup along with student preview stories!


By Brendan Taylor

WCRX 88.1 FM hosted a two-hour special Iceland preview show to highlight stories about the country’s rich culture and history. Host Brendan Taylor sat down with three students from Columbia College Chicago‘s “Covering International Festivals: Iceland” class to talk about the short audio pieces that the class put together in addition to playing songs from artists that will be performing at the 2013 Iceland Airwaves Festival. Here are a few of the bands that were played during the two-hour show: Hymnalaya, Dikta, Boogie Trouble, Asgeir, Lay Low, Nolo, Kajak, Apparat Organ Quartet, Borko, and Halleluwah.

Also included in the two-hour special were six preview pieces showcasing different parts of Icelandic culture, ranging from literature to Norse mythology to films to food. Click on the links below to listen to the show in its entirety, and be sure to follow the Iceland Airwaves Daily Blog starting October 30th.

Hour 1 of Iceland Preview Show:

Hour 2 of Iceland Preview Show:


We’re heading to Iceland to cover Iceland Airwaves 2013! In the meantime, check out students’ previews/cultural stories below, hear their Iceland culture audio interviews and read additional previews.


Tune In On Wednesday 10/16 @ 7 – 9 p.m. For WCRX’s Iceland Airwaves Preview

By Brendan Taylor

Perhaps you’ve heard a little something about Iceland before. You know that it’s an island country in the Northern Atlantic, it was settled by Vikings, and it has produced famous recording artists such as Björk. But did you know that it’s also a country where one in 10 people will publish a book? Or that it is one of the most active volcanic areas on the entire planet? Or that the mythology tales of Nordic gods still told today can be traced back to the country’s Poetic Edda from more than 1,000 years ago?


This fall, eight Columbia College Chicago students will journey nearly 3,000 miles via the Covering International Festivals: Iceland course to attend the Iceland Airwaves Festival in Reykjavík. As part of this journey, we’ve composed a series of preview stories that highlight Iceland’s rich tradition of culture. Hear about the sort of food that will be encountered, the influx of Hollywood movies coming to shoot in Iceland, the country’s many talented artists such as Asgeir, and their unique relationship with elves. All these stories and more can be heard tomorrow, October 16th, from 7:00-9:00 pm on WCRX 88.1 FM and Don’t have a radio in your car or apartment? No problem: stream the program live tomorrow evening right here: Iceland Preview Stories

Make sure to visit our Iceland Airwaves Blog beginning October 30th for live reviews, daily updates, interviews, and much more about the trip.

Iceland :30 Preview Story Promo


We’re gearing up to cover Iceland Airwaves Music Festival via the Covering International Festivals: Iceland course! Here are some Icelandic artists that students are planning to cover while at the festival.

Apparat Organ Quartet, By Jesse Betend

Apparat Organ Quartet refers to their sound as “Machine rock made manually,” and it’s not hard to see where they get the description. Formed in 1999 by four organists with limited access to synths and electronic instruments, the band began performing with real organs and live drums, slowly over the years transforming their sound into the electronic synth-scapes of their new album ‘Pólyfónía’Like a troupe of hyper-technical stenographers, their fingers work overtime to seamlessly weave three separate organ parts together in a tightly choreographed electric spiral. Their tunes evoke modern electronic acts such as Daft Punk and Kraftwerk, while also echoing motifs of Gregorian organ music. It’s also all performed live along with live drums and an army of processors and effect pedals. By the time Hörður Bragason (a gruff looking middle-aged gentleman) starts singing through a vocoder, and the result comes out sounding like a choir of young girls — nothing is unexpected, and it couldn’t be better. It isn’t just intricate, its exhilarating.

To get the full effect, check out this video of Apparat Organ Quartet performing their song, “Konami,” live on KEXP.

Apparat Organ Quartet will be appearing live at Harpa NorðurljósFriday,     November 1, at 10:30 pm


Hymnalaya, by Dan Malone

photo credit: Record Records

Though the band is still in its infancy, their sound is very mature. Hymnalaya, a local Icelandic band, formed in 2012 with four main members and numerous background musicians. They released their debut album, Hymns, in February of this year. Their wide range of sounds have you stretching your ear to figure out every instrument that is being played. You can imagine a jam session going on as you hear the slight shake of a maraca on songs like Riddles. Where as other songs, like Mind Blow, infuse the beautiful sounds of waves from the Atlantic. The relaxing folk sound and easy acoustics of Hymnalaya are a good cure to the end of a hectic day.

Catch Hymnalaya at Iceland Airwaves – Venue: IÐNÓ – Saturday November 2, 20:00/3:00CT


Kajak, by Andrew Hoefert

Kajak is an electronic pop duo from Reykjavík, Iceland. The band consists of Hreinn Elíasson and Sigurmon H. Sigurðsson, two cousins experimenting with a new unique sound, including danceable beats, hypnotic synthesizer, and creatively grabbing lyrical vocals.  Their live show is rumored to be a visual spectacle and not to be missed.  Kajak’s single, “Gold Crowned Eagle,” seems reminiscent of Foster the People, with a more worldly ethereal twist in the beat. Their first album, recorded from their home studio, is set to release sometime before the end of the year.  If the album is as grabbing as the single, Kajak will be a band to keep an eye on in the very near future.

The band will be performing at Iceland Airwaves 2013 on November 2nd at 9:30 PM GMT (4:30 PM CT) at “Harlem.”  (Funkþátturinn)


Runar Magnusson, by Kellie Wyatt

Where do you draw the line between sound and music? Is there a line? Experimental composer Runar Magnusson finds music in field recordings, ambience, and the other sounds constantly surrounding us. He’s keen on bringing what is traditionally heard as background noise into the foreground through minimalist compositions. You may have heard his music before in the ensembles Vindva Mei and SameSameButDifferent. Nowadays he has turned his attention to surround-sound performances. He is also the cofounder of Hljódaklettar, a record label for releasing rare recordings and managing platform for various art and music events.

Take a listen.

Runar Magnusson will be performing at Iceland Airwaves Wednesday, October 30th at Harpa Kaldalón, 23:20 GMT/18:20CST


Nolo, by Brendan Taylor

Nolo is a band with big ambitions yet humble roots, springing up from the suburbs of Reykjavík. Beginning with 2010’s No-Lo-Fi, the group established themselves as crafty songwriters with a knack for dark synthesizers and jangly guitars. Critics praised the album’s bedroom pop aesthetic while the record received a nomination for the Nordic Music Prize, similar to the U.S. Grammy Award or the U.K. Mercury Prize. With serious momentum behind them, the group released their 2011 followup Nology to widespread critical acclaim. Sounding like the dark underbelly soundtrack to an ’80s John Hughes film, Nolo’s ability to combine beautiful string and synthesizer arrangements with brooding basslines makes for a wildly entertaining listen. Check out their single “Steel” from Nology.

Nolo opens the Iceland Airwaves on Wednesday, October 30, playing at Harlem at 11:30 pm as well as Saturday November 2nd at The Reykjavik Art Museum at 8:00 pm.


Amiina, by Michelle Pizzo

Edda Rún Ólafsdóttir, Hildur Ársælsdóttir, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Sólrún Sumarliðadóttir, Magnús Trygvason Eliassen and Guðmundur Vignir Karlsson (aka Kippi Kaninus) make up the Icelandic act Amiina. The solely instrumental band consists mostly of musical saws, kalimbas, music boxes, bells and anything that can be plucked, bowed or beaten on. The music is truly entertaining and unique, and seems to hold listeners in an aural trance. Also, the band has toured and worked with many other famous Icelandic artists such as Sigur Rós.

Amiina will be performing Saturday, November 2 at 10:00 (CT) / 22:00 (GMT) at the Gamla Bió venue.

Check out the video for their song, “Lighthouse Project.”


Mono Town, by Dan Shearer

It’s been quite a year for Reykjavík alt-rockers Mono Town. They’ve performed at Iceland’s inaugural All Tomorrow’s Parties festival and have wrapped up production on their debut album, In The Eye of the Storm, which is in the process of being mixed by Grammy Award winning mixer Michael Brauer. who has worked with artists like Coldplay , My Morning Jacket , and Grizzly Bear. Brauer should feel right at home working with Mono Town’s music as the band boasts many of the dynamic qualities found in the music of the aforementioned acts such as the harmonious vocals and sharp percussions that Mono Town delivers with the intesnsity of a band that’s tirelessly cutting their teeth. After Mono Town makes their second appearance at the Iceland Airwaves festival they will be joining The Pixies for the Scandinavian dates of their 2013 tour. With Mono Town making such large strides in 2013, imagine how tall they’ll be walking in 2014.

Mono Town will take the stage at IÐNÓ on Friday, November 1st at 5:30 PM CT/10:30 PM GMT

Mono Town can be found on FacebookTwitter, and Soundcloud.

Since November is over a month away, sample Mono Town’s sound in this performance of “Can Deny” that they recorded at the KEXP studios.


Kött Grá Pje, by Bryce Coachman

Iceland has many forms of music including hip-hop.  One of these artists,  Kött Grá Pje released the song “Aheybaró” that was a summer smash in Iceland. The song is a mesmerising fusion of hip-hop and reggae. He switches from a slow flow to a semi faster one; this along with his tone of voice creates a feeling of rapture and relaxation.

His flow is steady and hypnotic, which goes along with rhythmic midtempo beats that underlines a certain feel or mood that he conveys with rap.

Kött Grá Pje plays with many different sounds in his music, some can sound menacing and some can sound uplifting, all this goes with expanding and adaptable flow.

Kött Grá Pje is playing Iceland Airwaves on Thursday, October 31st, 9:30 p.m. at the Gamli Gaukurinn stage and Saturday, November 2nd, 12:10 at the Hressó stage.

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