PREVIEW: Sónar Reykjavík

We get the pick of next year's line-up from the festival's curator

Sónar, one of tQ’s favourite musical throwdowns, returns to the Icelandic capital next year, from February 18-20. Hosted within the impressive, angular confines of the Harpa concert hall, the festival have just added a new round of names to the line-up, meaning it now includes the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never, Holly Herndon, Squarepusher, Angel Haze, Hudson Mohawke, Ben UFO and Le1f, all to be enjoyed as "a stark contrast against the Icelandic winter and the arctic darkness outside", as the festival tell us. Just before we close for the season, we asked Steinthor Helgi Arnsteinsson, Sónar Reykjavík’s booker, to pick out five must-see acts from the bill, combining three from the Icelandic scene with a couple of choices from further afield. The festival’s website has all the details you could want, plus tickets, just in case you fancied splashing some krónur on someone special this Yule.


Icelandic hip-hop has stormed the Reykjavík scene recently. GKR is the latest addition to that vibrant scene that also includes a few other Sónar acts like Auður, Úlfur Úlfur, Sturla Atlas and Reykjavíkurdætur. GKR has a sweet careless feel in the way he raps, but the beats are quite massive, which makes a great contrast.

Apparat Organ Quartet

Icelandic legends and one of the best live bands around. The band consists of three organists and a drummer, but it’s hard to categorise their music. It’s somewhat a mixture of Kraftwerk and Battles, with groovy melodies and danceable rock beats. Might sound weird, but this will all make sense once you see them live.


Bjarki has become an international techno superstar since the release of his club banger, ‘I Wanna Go Bang’, earlier this year. His music has an old school Detroit nostalgic feeling but at the same time sounds extremely modern and is on the forefront of the latest techno craze. His live set is just a pure, no-bullshit statement that will have people go berserk in the car basement of Harpa at Sónar.


Great, talented girl from The Netherlands. Not to be missed by fans of the likes of FKA twigs and Kelela, and just people who like real music. Wonderful voice and beautiful melodies. Her overall aesthetic is just irresistible, a true superstar in the making.

The Black Madonna

Simply one of the best DJs around. Her sets are exciting, edgy and fun. Just one of those artists that puts a smile on your face whenever you listen.

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