Meet Lucy In Blue – The Icelandic Prog-Rock Audiophiles Using Riffs to Explore the Grandness of Life (Live Video + Interview)

Interviews, Iceland Airwaves
Dusty Henry
photos by Jim Bennett (view set)

Lucy In Blue is a band that exists out of time. To see the band with their long flowing locks, patterned silk shirts, and vintage gear, one might assume they’re a long lost band of the 1970s. Then you hear them play their grandiose, extended, psych-leaning jams and maybe then you’re convinced that these guys have to be from the ‘70s. Check out the video from their set at Kex Hostel at Iceland Airwaves 2019 and you’ll see what I mean.

The band doesn’t shy away from their influences. When asked in an interview after their set if they’ve taken influence from group’s like King Crimson and Pink Floyd, guitarist and vocalist Steinþór Bjarni Gíslason quickly responds with a resounding “yes” followed by an uproar of laughter from his bandmates.

“We were pretty much discovering some of the same stuff at the same time when we met,” Gíslason says. “We had these hour-long jam sessions. We hadn't really been in bands playing music that we like to play prior to that.”

“We instantly felt a bond between us,” adds bassist and vocalist Matthías Hlífar Mogensen.


The band’s inclination to that sound came naturally to them. Gíslason says he grew up around a lot of vintage instruments and found himself drawn particularly to the sound of vintage amplifiers. But other than that, their muse is amorphous. Something about groups like King Crimson and Gentle Giants just resonated with them. But it’s also something born from the band’s more meticulous audiophile tendencies.

”We're almost obsessed with sound sometimes,” Mogensen says. “We have too much gear with us. We just did a tour with Sleep. Our backs hurt. We filled the back of the van. Just us. It was heavy lifting. It's worth it, carrying. It sounds good.”

That commitment to the right tone and feel as served the band well, particularly on their 2019 sophomore LP, In Flight. It’s a record that lives up to the sprawling, imaginative spirit of their prog-rock forebearers. From the two-part opener “Alright,” which traverses from slow crawling riffs and dazzling vocal harmonies to jazzy breakdowns and crunchy distortion. When I ask the band what they were trying to convey through this record, their answer is short, simple, and apt.

“Big experiences. Just the grandness of life. It's very open,” says Mogensen.


You’d be hard-pressed to find moments as grand as swooning swaths of songs like “Reprise” and the album’s electrifying, slow-burning title track. But as the band tells it, just getting the album finished was an experience itself. Writing began three years ago when they were finishing up their self-titled debut. Then after recording the record, their hard drive “hit the floor” and they thought all the material would be lost for good. Thankfully they were able to send the hard drive to Sweden and recover the files.

The band is continuing to expand their own horizons, teasing out exciting new directions for themselves and their music. A few of the band members have relocated to the Netherlands. Having grown up in Iceland, far removed and in some ways isolated from the rest of the world, the band is looking for new adventures and continuing to chase inspiration. While the 70s will likely continue to be at the root of their music, the band says they also taking influence from hip-hop and death metal.

And about that luscious hair. The band has some stern advice for those looking to preserve their locks.

“Don't use too much shit in your hair,” Gíslason says. “It's cool to clean your hair and all. Just don't be a shampoo freak. Everything will go fine.”

Related News & Reviews


Not Turning Up To The Sound Of My Own Opression: A Conversation with Madame Gandhi

Kiran Gandhi talks activism, feminine energy, using art for social change, and her new EP 'Visions.'

Read More
Iceland Airwaves

Iceland Airwaves 2019 Day 1 Recap: Kristofer Rodriguez Svönuson, Lucy in Blue, and a Choir Singing in a Cave

Once again, KEXP returns to the land of fire and ice. Read about the underground music and the actual underground we've experienced in Reykjavik thus far.

Read More