Of Monsters And Men Talk New Album & Being Compared To Other Bands

The six-piece Icelandic band, Of Monster And Men, who created the catchy indie tune Little Talks” are back. Just weeks away from the release of their second album titled ‘Beneath The Skin’ (available June 9th) IX Daily sat down with Acoustic guitar player Ragnar Pórhallsson, bass player Kristjan Pall Kristjansson and drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson to discuss the new album, tour life, and being compared to other bands. 

The band came together after winning a battle of the bands competition back in their homeland. Since the huge success of ‘Little Talks’,  OMAM has been touring endlessly. After some downtime they finally got back together to create Beneath The Skin. The first song released from the album titled ‘Crystals’ is described as the perfect gateway to what Beneath The Skin will be. The group will be kicking off their tour in Toronto at Massey Hall, Monday May 4th. 

Check out the full interview below. 

Here is what ‘Crystals’ sounded like when we first started writing the song! You can get it in all of its final glory today by pre-ordering the album now!

Posted by Of Monsters and Men on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

IX: There was a video posted on Facebook of ‘ Crystals’ first demo. What was the process in the making that song?

Ragnar Pórhallsson: Yeah that was the demo for the chorus. It’s like a mix and the bridge came when we were touring last time just by sound checking and grooving. 

Kristjan Pall Kristjansson: The chorus, what you heard on the video, was from Agnar’s loop petal. Just playing a guitar and making melodies.

Ragnar: And that was just written on a separate part and then we just figured it would work with what we had. We just collect ideas and then we sort of work them together, piece them together. That was actually one of the slowest songs. It came together very slowly.

IX: Before you guys all got together to work on the album you were all off doing your own thing. How did you guys all choose what you wanted this album to be about?

Ragnar: It’s usually just whatever. Everyone has a specific idea maybe or atleast a direction they want to go to and then it just all meets in the middle and becomes something that no one really thought it would become.

Kristjan: Each and everyone knows what they like and that’s how we chose. If everyone likes it, we go along with it.

IX :Why did you guys choose for ‘Crystals’ to be the first song that was released? 

Kristjan: I don’t know. It kind of just felt like the first single.

I feel like it’s a good bridge between the old album and the new album because it has some elements of what we are on the old album but also some new. It’s a good gateway. – Ragnar

IX: I saw that Nanna said that some people would like the new album and some would hate it. I find that interesting for an artist to admit that some people would hate their work. Do you guys agree?

Ragnar: I don’t know. I mean probably, that’s always the case with music. Some people really don’t like it some people like it. I think the people that liked the other album will like this album. That’s my gut feeling.

Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson: You can’t please everybody. 

IX: What do you guys want your music to do for people?

Ragnar: Just connect with it.

Kristjan: Just enjoy it, enjoy listening to the whole album. Just like how I listen to music, if I check out an album I want to listen to it as a whole.

RP: We want people to be able to listen to it from the first until the last song and don’t skip anything. Like it’s a journey in a way. 


IX: Of Monsters Of Men is unique as a band because of where you are from and you can hear that throughout your music. How do you maintain your authenticity or is that something that just comes naturally? 

Ragnar: You don’t really have to think about that. We just do what we like and if you like it yourself then you’re being authentic. I think it’s easy.

IX: People compare you guys to the Lumineers or Mumford And Sons do you guys agree with that comparison? 

Agnar: No

I think we are grouped in with the folk evolution, the thing that happened a couple years ago with a lot of folk bands coming out. But I don’t think we’re really that. Maybe the song writing can come across like that but I think the instrumentation and everything has always been quite big. A lot of electric guitars and a lot of drums and stuff. And definitely not on this album I think we’re moving further away from that comparison. – Ragnar

IX: I think a lot of of people think that if your an artist or even up-and-coming you’re living the good life, and I’m sure for the most part you are, but what are some hurdles for you guys? Do you ever feel blocked creatively?

Ragnar: Yeah it happens. I think it’s different for us because a lot of us are still actively trying to write so if one has a writer’s block then there’s someone else that doesn’t have it. So we can bounce off each other.

Kristjan: I had to go through immigration and it was not very fun. I was the only one haha.  

Ragnar: The lifestyle is also very black and white. When you’re on tour you are on tour but when you go home you’re home ,so there is no middle ground. So you are either just working or not working. So you have to get used to that, but it’s nothing to complain about.

IX: Are you guys happy?

Ragnar: I would say we’re happy.

Agnar: Yes.

Kristjan: I’m way happier than those two haha.

Ragnar: Tour started yesterday, so we got to get our mind ready for it. But I think it will be fun.


Check out OMAM tour dates here!

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