Das Interview mit Agent Fresco zum aktuellen Album Destrier (English Version)

Artist: Agent Fresco

Orgin: Reykjavik, Island

Genre: Progressive Rock

Label: SPV / Long Branch Records

Link: https://www.facebook.com/agentfresco und http://www.agentfresco.is

Bandmember:

Vocals – Arnór Dan Arnarson
Guitar, Piano – Þórarinn Guðnason
Bass – Vignir Rafn Hilmarsson
Drius, Percussion – Hrafnkell Örn Guðjónsson

Agent Fresco - Destrier

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

First of all thank you very much for taking your time to answer our questions. At next I want to thank you for your wonderful album Destrier, which is really a breathtaking experience.

Agent Fresco:

Thank you for your very kind words!

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

As I learned, Arnór Dan Arnarson is not living in Iceland. So how did you guys come together to form the band Agent Fresco?

Agent Fresco:

Well, I actually do live in Iceland and have been living here since 2006. Tóti, Keli and I met at the Jazz School FÍH along with our original bassist Boggi back in 2008. They were going to compete for the music experiment (Músíktilraunir) as an instrumental band, but realised three weeks before the show that they wanted a singer to join the band, just to and I quote “Front the band and just do some crazy stuff”. At that time they had no idea how my vocals were, just knew that I was a singer and I drummed some Dillinger Escape Plan song during a break in a class. Long story short, we met up, I wrote vocals for their two songs and we wrote one song together, which ended up being Above These City Lights. We just knew then that something magical was happening, Tóti and I had both goosebumps while writing the chorus and I will never forget that moment. We later won the competition and quickly realised that this band could be so much more than just an experiment and here we are today, tadaaaaa!

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

Listing to the album for me was an emotional rollercoaster, but never frustrating or depressing. It seems for you there are always black clouds with silver linings…

Agent Fresco:

That makes me very happy to hear because it was a conscious effort to keep contrasts as a lyrical and musical theme in Destrier. It sure the hell were dark days during the writing and recording of it, but there is always beauty and there is always hope.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

The songs of both albums are dealing with extreme personal experiences. What would you write about, if nothing extraordinary would happen?

Agent Fresco:

Haha, well actually a friend of mine, Icelandic rapper Emmsjé Gauti, just told me today that people need to beat me more often up so that I can create Destrier pt. 2! But yeah, I very early on as a songwriter realised that I needed to write about personal experiences and coat them with metaphors and symbolism thus feeling like I was creating an intimate and intelligent weight for the songs. If I didn’t do this I just felt lazy and the songs almost pointless. Writing songs has always been a way for me to evolve and grow as a musician and a human being, it’s where I escape comfort zones and challenge myself, so yes, I do wonder sometimes what the debut album of Agent Fresco would’ve been about if I hadn’t lost my father to cancer and moved to Iceland. What would’ve been my drive then? I have no idea. Good question!

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

For the album Destrier till now the magazines were swept off their feet. Do you get translations of the reviews, or do you only read the rating and that’s it? And are you sometimes astonished about some comparisons or different kinds of view of the reviewers?

Agent Fresco:

Let me be honest with you. So far I’ve read every single review of the album. Even google translated the ones that weren’t in English. I’m very curious on how this album is being perceived and how people experience it. Don’t get me wrong, I write for myself and for the people involved in my lyrics, but our fans make it possible for us to travel and perform, which is something that we truly love doing, so of course we’re hoping that our old and new audience will connect to our albums. I’ll tell you this though, I don’t really care about the rating, what really has overwhelmed me has been the large amount of in depth reviews of Destrier. The time that people put into understanding the album and giving it a proper spin is all that I can ask and hope for and it seems like a lot of people have done so.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

Also the cover of the album is really amazing, although I have to admit that I don’t understand the meaning of it. 😀 Who is the artist? Did you give him any instructions, or was he free to introduce his visions?

Agent Fresco:

His name is Dóri Andrésson! Dóri and I met up very early on to brainstorm for this album. We essentially just wanted to let the artwork reflect the creative process of Destrier and its lyrical themes, for instance my decision to embrace destructive emotions and become one with them. We wanted to focus on the journey of the Destrier without doing artwork that would involve the horse itself. We wanted to show something destructive animate and take over something beautiful and innocent. Marino Thorlacius took the pictures, Heba Eir Kjeld is the model and bonus info is that all three of them were involved in the Dark Water music video. This was a conscious decision for the first single, because I wanted to represent the artwork and its creators through the format of the music video.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

The singer of the band Extol also has some mental problems, but he is not able to do shows with the band and still fights to recover. In contrast to this Agent Fresco are on tour for quite long. How does Arnór Dan Arnarson manage being on stage nearly every evening in front of an enthusiastic audience?

Agent Fresco:

Writing and recording Destrier was difficult, no doubt about it and I definitely buried myself deep into a dark hole, but I never fell so deep that I couldn’t function socially. If anything, the tours that I was doing with Ólafur Arnalds during this period of my life was keeping me afloat. Of course, I’m still recovering from the anxiety attacks, the main difference is just that I know now that it was a poor state of my mental health that was manifesting itself so physically. There was a long time where I had no idea what was going on. I constantly went to doctors trying to figure out why I was feeling like something was very lightly keeping its grip around my throat, making it difficult for me to breathe properly and sing. I would lose my voice during the third or fourth take of a song in the studio and my vision kept getting blurry and unfocused while writing. I just lost control and I’m slowly but surely getting back to where I want to be. I feel much better today.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

You are doing three shows in Germany to promote the album. Then there is a pause, and then you do the tour. Is there a special reason for this arrangement?

Agent Fresco:

The major European tour was always meant to be in November and December but then we were booked for the Reeperbahn Festival in September it just seemed silly to only do that one show coming all the way from Iceland, so we booked two shows around that performance just to make that trip a little more busy.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

What is the story behind the picture you posted on facebook on 10th July? You wrote „Taking this picture with Stebbi, Mr. Eistnaflug himself, has been a tradition of ours for some time now. Thank you all dearly for a great time last night, next up: UK Tech-Metal Fest tomorrow!“ Is it to say goodbye to the last and looking forward to the next show?

Agent Fresco:

I think we’ve done this group picture of us looking towards the mountains with Stebbi now three times and we want this tradition of ours to continue. We love Eistnaflug and Stebbi is one hell of a nice guy!

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

Is there any concert from the past, which was special or where something unforeseeable happened, and you will never forget?

Agent Fresco:

When we started doing the acoustic shows and I realised just how emotionally naked I was standing there talking about the songs, especially Eyes of a Cloud Catcher, which deals with the moment where we said goodbye to my father. Talking about that song and trying to sing it was just not possible, I eventually ending up in tears in front of a live crowd and it made me realise how powerful music can be and how it can be my best and most honest way to give me purpose, meaning and eventually pay tribute to the ones that I love.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

Does any of the members, or maybe even all, have a special musical education? I think, not everyone is able to write and perform this complex and progressive music. Or are you all self-educated persons?

Agent Fresco:

We all attended the FÍH Jazz music school for very different lengths. I would say that I am the one who has the least of musical education and perhaps more self-educated, Vignir is a certified music teacher, Keli has a ton of classical and jazz education behind him and Tóti is now studying musical composition at the Icelandic School of Arts. I am hoping that we don’t come off like musicians who’ve studied a lot, because we embrace instinctive approach and simple ideas as much as conceptual and complex ideas. We basically just write and perform music that we love and we try not to have any boundaries to our musical landscape.

Time For Metal / Heike L.:

So thank you very much once again. See you in September in Cologne! 🙂

Agent Fresco:

See you in Cologne, can’t fucking wait! 

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