Interview with: Mugison

Jessica, PopWreckoning: Quite a number of musicians from Iceland such as yourself, Björk and Sigur Rós have found great success in the United States. You broke through here quite some time ago, but what were — and what may still be — some of the challenges reaching an American audience?

Jonas Val

Photos: Jonas Val

Mugison: I think the main challenge for me is money. It’s very expensive to come over and do shows for free or next to nothing. I need to do big support shows or get a spot on a late night TV show, be caught with a prostitute on camera, have a baby with Whitney Houston, be in a Jack Black movie, split my penis in half live on MySpace.
I don’t know, If somebody out there has money to give to me, then I suggest this, give me 30,000 dollars for a radio campaign, 40,000 dollars for a TV campaign, 30,000 dollars for online campaign and while your at it give me 60,000 dollars so I can take my family to Hawaii over Christmas.

PW: Your father is a professional karaoke singer, did that have any influence on your initial musical endeavors? Does he sing your songs for karaoke?
M: Yes, when I saw him sing for the first time I realized all dreams can come true, if you just follow your heart, it’ll give you and others joy. My dad hasn’t sung my songs yet, not that I know of, but sometimes he performs with me.

PW: What are your musical influences? You have quite a unique sound — where did a lot of that come from?
M: It’s just a mix of all my influences. I don’t try that much, it´s just the mix I get when I do music. I believe in music like people believe in God. I also love it like a girl and it makes me horny.

PW: It’s my understanding that you’re self-taught with everything you’re doing —
M: Pretty much, yeah. I’m a good example of no talent getting things done.

PW: A lot of your photos shot by Jonas Val are pretty bloody and feature your right leg turning into an instrument. Where did the concept for this shoot come from?
Was there any difficulty in shooting it or is most of it Photoshop effects?

Jonas Val

M: Jonas is a great artist, people should check his website out or Google him. It’s an old fantasy of mine to see myself mutated into that animal. Just love the idea of my leg being a double bass, and my arm a microphone, jacks sticking out of my belly. I was also feeling like I was on the edge of something mentally when I finished the album and we did those photos. I love ’em.

PW: The latest album Mugiboogie is a lot edgier and more rock and roll than your previous releases — what brought about the evolution in your sound?
How have you found the responses to the change?
M: I felt like rock and roll and had to do the best rock’n roll album ever made. I think it’s the best album in the world, but obviously the world doesn’t agree with me. Maybe in times to come you’ll all turn around…or maybe I’m just ill.

PW: In terms of making and performing Mugiboogie, what was it like working with a full band instead of just a laptop?
M: The band is more like a normal stuff, it’s just sex and power. The laptop stuff was more like wearing your shirt inside out and asking people to spit at you for a dollar.

PW: Which do you prefer?
M: I like both, the laptop stuff was more nerve racking, and sometimes more rewarding. The band is better for traveling and smelling.

PW: You just finished up a tour in the US — how did it go?
M: I loved the driving and meeting people. Very few people knew about the shows, so I was often just playing for 5 people. Totally fell in love with Tucson, Arizona, I might move there some time. I feel at home over there, really do. I miss it like a friend.

PW: What are the differences between touring in the US and Europe?
M: The normal people in the US, the people serving on the highways and in bars, in diners, hotels.. the people that I met were all so helpful, funny and interesting. In some places in Europe you don’t get that.
In some places, if you talk to someone you feel like they’d like to get paid to talk back at you, paid by the word — especially France, there I always feel like I’m wasting people’s time when I talk to them, like they’d scheduled some quality time, maybe their all just about to meet their lover and I’m in the way, who knows. Don’t get me wrong I also love the particular mood of France…aaaahh it’s all so different. Love it.

Jonas Val

PW: If you could put together your ultimate dream tour, who would you want to share the stage with — any band/musician living/dead, whatever?
M: I’d like to tour with U2, I love them. I’d like to tour with Will Oldham, Robbie Williams, Pixies, Dolly Parton, Matthew Herbert, Björk, Four Tet, Beck, Primus and Tom Waits, Celine Dion in Las Vegas – I’d love to do that (not joking). Sade .. I´d kill for a Sade support.

PW: Thanks so much!
M: All the best.

Mugison: website | myspace

All Photos: Jonas Val

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