How did the Shades of Reykjavik adventure begin?
PPuffin: We released our first song in 2012 which was exactly on my birthday. We went out to party at Prikid initially where my song was playing, after that we went to Faktory where my song was playing as well! I was like “AAHHRRHHGG”!!! Its insane (laughter) This fucks with a person you know!
Elli Grill: This all happened extremely fast. We all went around and everything was insane. I was going to sea in a month. The night before I was supposed to go, we all were out in the country swimming in some waters, really good vibe going around. A month later once I get back everything is fucked! Everything was so crazy that it took me a couple of weeks to cope with all that has happened.
Hbequal: We had an apartment on Laugavegur and Elli stopped by right after he got back from sea. Once he got there Robbi was in some dress.
Elli Grill: Exactly and I filmed a video that same day. I came to the apartment and Robbi had changed himself into a woman and he wanted me to film some hidden camera video. He had shaved himself completely, legs and all. Robbi was freestyling over a raw beat, which I filmed. It was a messed up video! No one has seen it (laughter).
PPuffin: This has been one large mania. When Elli came back from the sea it was a crash landing. I was crashing after the summer and having lived through the flight of this song. The three of us lived on Laugavegur and it was such trip and a huge party!
LaFontaine: I lived in Kopavogur at the time but I was three months straight at their house. I slept on the sofa.
There were beds in each corner and a tent in the middle of the room. One would go there without calling. Arnar, Karvel and Robbi lived there.
PPuffin: There were all sorts of random people there!
Elli Grill: I never planned to be a rapper but everyone was always freestyling there and being there 24/7 that’s how I began freestyling. Sometimes these freestyle session were immense, lasting for many hours.
PPuffin: I was always pushing Elli to create verses, to be in this with us. Elli was always with us in the video production. Elli and I began making skate videos but I wanted him to partake in the whole package. When he had nothing to do at sea he would write lyrics. Shades of Reykjavik is a very tight group! I like going into mythology. Where the gods battle during the day and later sit together in the evenings and drink. That’s how I look at this band. We could argue and be pissed at each other but in the end we sit down together and are essentially good friends. We don’t take it too seriously and we have learnt to drop our egos towards each other but of course, we will always have our ego.
Elli Grill: We were playing in Hjartagarðinur, I had just recently gotten to know ghetto techno from Detroit. I have been brought up in techno from my brothers side but had never heard of ghetto techno. It mixed very well with hip hop. Exactly at midnight we were playing ghetto techno and LaFontaine was being arrested while the music was playing.
LaFontaine: I was beatmixing a song with Björk and the police starts to arrest me.
Elli Grill: Everyone was boo-ing at the police while they were telling us to turn off the music. I told them that we had to finish the song! Its fucking Björk, you don’t turn off Björk!! But from this we began Kex Verk Klan under which we make ghetto techno. Two songs have been released so far.
PPuffin: Everyone thinks that we are just hip hop but Shades of Reykjavik is so much more than that. We are skaters, video makers, Motorcross guys, we come from this underground scene like many other artists.
Elli Grill: Hip Hop is just the base. Which is an amazing base because it has flow, its some funky shit.
PPuffin: Hip Hop is cool nowadays and so is skating.
Elli Grill: This hasn’t always been the case.
PPuffin: Skateboarding is now one of the biggest sports in the States, if sport is what one calls it. Which is awesome.
Elli Grill: Like the old Icelandic skate films, for example Tónlistin í Tantrum, it was awesome. Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, that’s where you got the underground handed right to you. Skating has had a huge influence on Shades of Reykjavik.
PPuffin: Yeah definitely, and this adventure all began with me, Máni and Elli.
Elli Grill: Yeah but without us knowing what we were about to do.
PPuffin: At the time I was working as a carpenter and was starting to have enough of that, of doing something I wasn’t interested in. The good thing about me is that I have to finish things. If I start something I have to finish it. If I start carpenting I finish it. I was always with Elvar at this time and when I finished my degree, then it all properly started.
Elli Grill: PPuffin and I work very well together. I had an idea about everything but nothing in process. I was very imaginative as a kid, everyone thought that I was weird (laughter).
PPuffin: I am very eager to implement things. I have gained trust from the guys. When I start talking about something happening then it will happen.
When this was starting, Emil and I always hung out. We did nothing but write and rap. Emil was constantly making beats, he makes like two beats a day. Ískrap came out, then Álfheimar and Lúpínublús. These were songs that were made like one, two, three. None of us knew how to master so we got Gnúsi who is now in Amabadama to master it but then came Biggi Bix into it also and he mastered Töfrateppi for example. Our most popular songs were done in a two week interval, this crew was meant to be.
Hbequal: I hadn’t started doing anything with you then. Was just a homie.
Krákan: You always had some weed on the side (laughter)
Hbequal: 2012 was when everything was starting and all the craziness was taking place. I was the impartial guy, just watching things unravel.
Krákan: Then he started making beats, which were all sick!
PPuffin: Hbequal and I are such good friends that I was just like “Hbequal is with”
Hbequal: Though I kinda wish I was with when all the madness was happening (laughter). I saw what was going on and what shouldn’t have been going on.
PPuffin: Shades of Reykjavik is a consciousness that lives inside of us. We know where we are going but not how we are getting there.
Hbequal: Its all now become a reality.
Elli Grill: Everything we talked about is becoming real and that is how it should happen. You put your ideas into reality. It all begins in a persons head and heart. Shades of Reykjavik is one big art group and it is only meant to grow from here. Its all just beginning!
PPuffin: We need to create and we get a lot out of creating.
Hbequal: People are always asking “how do you get this sound, how much did this video cost?”
PPuffin: When this crew gets together then we’re talking about a minimum of 200 millon.
Elli Grill: Its an awesome story of how Jóhannes LaFontaine joined the crew. He was 17 years old. The reason he got in was because he comes with ideas, there are many that bring ideas forward but not all of them execute them. He comes with an idea and wants to do it within an hour, if it doesn’t happen then he instantly brings another idea. I had known LaFontaine for two months when we says to me “Im going to tattoo Elli Grill on my ass”.
LaFontaine: No, it was not like that! We were all at the studio and you said “damn would it be funny if someone had an Elli Grill tattoo.” Within half an hour I have Elli Grill tattooed on my ass.
PPuffin: Then he skates from Hallgrímskyrkju down to Ingólfstorg, awesome!
LaFontainte: It was on a Sunday and exactly on this day was a family dinner for my birthday. I came too late to my own birthday. Almost everyone had gone and all the food was almost finished. I sat there with my dad “what, did everyone just leave?”
Elli Grill: This was priceless! I had never seen him skate that fast down bankastræti before! And me after him with the camera.
LaFontaine: When I got to the corner next to Solon then I ollied on the ledge where two chicks are sitting and screaming! They get my dick right in the face. I couldn’t stop laughing on my way down to Ingo with my underwear in my hand. At Ingólfstorg I jumped off the board and got into my underwear the wrong way around, so they of course got torn. I was just standing there waiting for Elvar (laughter).
Everyone thought it was awesome that I was hanging out with Shades of Reykjavik. “Hey, aren’t you hanging with Shades of Reykjavik?” “uuu, I skate with them”. I met Elli first at the skatepark in Loftkastalin. He was skating with some ridiculous straw hat “What is this guy doing with this hat, he’s absurd”. A year later, Elli had become my best friend and Im at extreme chill in a crocodile suit with that same ridiculous straw hat (laughter)
Elli Grill: This hat is from Christiania, initially that hat looked super smooth but after the trip it was disgusting. This hat has gone through a lot. People maybe say “ridiculous hat” but they don’t know the full story behind it. I own this fucking hat and im not giving up on it! (laughter)
PPuffin: Things have never been better for Shades of Reykjavik as right now. We have lived through the darkest and lightest sides of life but today we are all sober and we feel great!
What are your future plans?
Elli Grill: We will continue doing what we have been doing as well as work on our side projects. We have a radio show on FM Xtra (101,5) every Friday, that’s where people can hear of the things we are doing and what we like.
PPuffin: We are all in the same team and we work on it all together.
Krákan: We have all taking matters into our hands and some of us have children. We will follow positive streams and do the things that bring us to goodness. As well as continue being one strong unit. Once we all decided to clean up our acts, the atmosphere in the group is completely different and things are actually happening. There is no bullshit and if there ever is some drama its momentarily taken care of and erased.
PPuffin: Loads of things are about to happen and it will be interesting for people to follow us.
We want Shades of Reykjavik to inspire young people to do what they want. To all the kids who for example don’t find that they fit in the common curriculum in schools, kids who have a hard time finding themselves and even put on medication for it. These are kids that have a lot of potential to do what they find interesting and to follow their hearts. We want to reach the younger population and we want to tell them that its not a problem. To make your own group of people, first and foremost to have fun doing what your doing. To be outside and experience the surrounding is very important.
Elli Grill: Skaters are natures children.
Krákan: We are all guys who have been diagnosed with what I call abc, don’t fucking call it adhd, it doesn’t exist! One doesn’t have to go on medication, simply eat healthy and live healthy, and don’t let the school curriculum bring you down. Don’t think that you are stupid just because you cant do for example mathematics the way they want you to. We want to point out:
“Do what you want, follow your heart and don’t listen to the people that put you down”
PPuffin: I find that the school system is continuously trying to adapt people to the school system instead of trying to adapt to the kids. It makes no sense!
Krákan: But there are many good teachers in the schools as well which are doing amazing things.
PPuffin: I was diagnosed with adhd and was put on medication. I was unhappy and lost all my creativity. When I stopped taking Ritalin everything got back into order. Young people should say no to this drug and then things will start happening. Ritalin is just amphetamine and its not normal to give amphetamine to children.
Elli Grill: We all come from this and maybe that is why we are so brutal. No fucking whining.
PPuffin: Shades of Reykjavik are here to take over!