As if you needed more excuses to go see the dramatic landscapes of Iceland – over the last 20 years (this year marks its 21st Birthday) Iceland Airwaves has been providing both the best in cutting-edge line-ups for an international audience and a stunning location to see them in.

This year Reykjavík will be overrun with musicians like Mac DeMarco, Of Monsters and Men and Anna of the North and filled with the opportunity to stumble across some of the most exciting new music from the Nordics and beyond. To help you work out where to be, we asked Iceland Airwaves MD Will Larnach-Jones for his pick of the most exciting new Icelandic acts playing.


Hard hitting fast metal/punk music newbies. They’ve only been playing live for a year, and in that time they won this year’s Músíktilraunir (previous winners Mammut, Of Monsters and Men, Between Mountains). By all accounts their live set is blistering and they’re all in their late teens, so ones to watch for sure.


Icelandic troubadour, whose storytelling is as charming and beguiling as his songs – full of charm, wit and human warmth. He’s been making some good inroads around the world including a very good following in Germany. Last years Ahoy! Side A was a delight.


This trio create misty circles of darkwave and engaging electronic gloom. Their synth sounds and live delivery represent a darker side to the Iceland music scene in the best possible way. This year’s seen them pick up attention from all over the world, with festivals in Europe and the US.


Hatari have been part of the Airwaves story for the last few years and this year sees a homecoming of sorts. Since their performance last year they’ve taken on the world via Eurovision, challenging conventions with their BDSM techno pop and political convictions, all delivered with a wry humour and amazing videos and staging. This will be their biggest Airwaves show and it will be a riot.


At just 19, Gabríel was discovered by Björk’s manager, Derek Birkett, after appearing on Icelandic TV. He’s a stunning pianist and composer. His debut work ‘Absent Minded’ is filled with fantastic moments, daydreams, the imaginary worlds we create in our quietest hours. Icelanders seem to be on such a great creative streak in the classical and neoclassical world and Gabríel is certainly one to watch.

Photo by Gunnar Freyr.

Iceland Airwaves takes place in Reykjavík, Iceland, November 6-9th.