This interview was made over e-mail with Sölvi Blöndal
May 25th 2002. Everything he wrote is here. Some editing is made though.
When me, Steini and Hossi first started recording we thought it would
be really awesome to have special names for each person in the band.
The way it turned out was that the only one that came up with a decent
name was Steini and that was the name Quarashi and since that name
was better than our first band name we used Quarashi as our band name.
Steini appearantly picked up the name for graffiti purposes and later
we found out that Quarashi is also the last name of the prophet muhammed
the founder of islam. Strange the way things sometimes turn out to
have a meaning after all. It is also rumoured that Quarashi means
Quarashi´s main influence on the rap side is Public Enemy and
on the big beat side it´s Chemical Brothers, Prodigy and the
whole ninja tune break beat scene and then on the pop and rock side
we share influences from the likes of Led Zeppelin and the ELO, for
an example Hossi and I are big Zeppelin fans and that can maybe be
heard in Mr. Jinx´s chorus where Hossi´s chorus vocals
almost sound like Robert Plant. When I started listening to Public
Enemy I was fascinated by the fact that one didn´t need a guitar
to write some cool ass rock tracks because all you needed was a sampler,
that was what I learned from the Bomb Squad that produced all the
best albums PE ever did.
The Beasties are a cool band, the comparison is unfair though. When
a band comes out with a first album they are always going to get compared
to someone, that happened to Jamiroquai, Radiohead and many others.
People have a need to compare and catogorize it makes them feel safe
and intelligent. However when people that say that we are exactly
like the Beasties they probably have never listened to the Beasties
Quarashi shares a common ground and philosophy with the Prodigy.
The music climate in Iceland is unfortunately loosing its innosence
towards the big buissnes music industry. One notices it when coming
to the real world how aware musicians abroad are of the buissnes.
Iceland has always been very pure and untouched by major labels. When
we were growing up we use to play in bands because we enjoyed it and
it made our lifes worth living. We didn´t do it to get signed
or to get money. We did it to play 2 concerts a year in some shitty
venues. In Iceland now many bands are getting signed and everybody
gets released within a year. We had to work for 8 years before we
got signed and even before that I was releasing our records myself.
That taught us a lot. Still there are a lot of good bands there though,
one just has to look for them in some shitty bars or run down rehearsal
We´ve got a good loyal fan base, what more can you ask for.
Baseline is probably my favorite, the track really took a long time
to finish and fortunately I am happy with the outcome, it would be
sad if it was the other way around wouldn´t it.
I do the instrumental first and then Hossi lays down his vocals. Then
usually me and Hossi have a conversation or an argument how to produce
the vocals into a song. Then after that Omar or Steini come in with
We definitely have some different opinions about that. What I enjoy
the most is making tracks and being in the studio, after all I am
a studio person. When you have a musical vision and it comes to life
there is nothing more can you ask for. Doing concerts and touring
is just a completely different thing, it´s great meeting fans
and seeing that you have made so many people happy with your stuff,
that´s a lot of fun too.
To cut a long story short, the band was hanging out in New York city
in the year 2000 getting loaded and doing some new demos in a crack
house studio. We have some close friends there that were helping us
out there. All of a sudden some record label people started showing
up at our studio talking about signing us. We didn´t really
take any of them seriously but the way things turned out was that
Timebomb recordings an indy label in L.A. picked us up and signed
us and then we left them to work with Columbia. It didn´t hurt
that Columbia is our favorite label. Can you imagine being on the
same label as Miles Davis and Bob Dylan.
Amazing, by now we´ve probably sold around 37000 copies in the
USA and we started our tour 3 days ago. We are a relatively unknown
act here in the USA but already we have some really cool fans here.
What makes them even cooler is the fact that most of the fans we´ve
been meeting here understand our music precisely the way we want it
to be understood.
There is always something that you like, for instance the White Stripes
have a cool ass track in the radio a really positive element in todays
music, other than that, I dunno I´m kinda fucked up right now,
been flying a lot, can´t remember my own name almost.
I like the United states a lot, coming to different parts of the states
is almost like coming to a different country every time. I can´t
choose a favorite from all the places I am going to visit.
Quarashi will probably tour the rest of this year. We are preparing
for another video shot for our next single whose idendity still remains
a secret. We take one day at a time and so it goes. I am always writing
a bunch of new tracks and they will probably live with me on the road
and god knows where they will end up.