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Be Specific: Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi talks about life on his own

By Allison Stewart

jonsiJonsi: Not much of a talker, but quite a singer. (Press Here Publicity)

One thing to know about sometime Sigur Rós frontman and current solo artist Jónsi Birgisson: He's not a talker.

It's not the language barrier -- Jónsi is Icelandic, but his English is excellent. It's not that he's rude -- he's really quite sweet, he's just…quiet.

Jónsi (pronounced "Yun-see," or at least, pretty much) is entering the home stretch of a months-long tour behind his dreamlike, English-language solo debut "Go," a collaboration with composer Nico Muhly for which not enough superlatives exist. (A companion CD/DVD, "Go Live," comes out November 29th). The singer, who plays the 9:30 Club Monday and Tuesday, talked with Click Track about life on his own and the recent, somewhat controversial cancellation of his acoustic in-store tour.

You've said that before you made a solo album, you felt as if you'd been in a cocoon. Did making the album give you more confidence?

For me, you mean? No. Maybe, yeah.

Do you think it will affect how you make albums with Sigur Ros?

Maybe. It was a good experience to do this, working with a lot of new artists and musicians and producers. It's healthy to work with different people.

Do you think you'll work with Nico Muhly again? You should say yes.

Yes. He's a fun guy to be around, anyway. So we definitely might do something together.

You only met your band about 10 days before the tour started. What was it like backstage?

It was really awkward. No, it's really good….They encourage me to [be playful], so it's good for me.

(On the cancellation of his in-store tour and his love of Metallica, after the jump.)

Jónsi - Go Do [Acoustic] - Live at Origami from plastic pearl on Vimeo.

You recently stopped doing in-store performances. What was that all about?

The record company set up these in-stores all around the U.S. and I just didn't want to do it.

No one seems like they're having fun performing at in-stores. It's the middle of the day, everybody's staring. They don't seem enjoyable.

Yeah, it's definitely fun to play for people if you want to do it and you're in the right mood and the right headspace. But when you're made to do it it's not so [fun]. The record company kept asking me to do more and more, so finally I just had to stand up and say, "Stop."

Have any of your bandmates been out to see you perform?

Only one, the drummer.

Were you nervous?


You've said you grew up listening to Metallica. For real?

Yeah, Metallica and Megadeth and stuff like that. But now I just listen to Billie Holiday and Django Reinhardt and stuff like that….It's nice to have in the background, like a comfy sofa.

By Allison Stewart  | November 8, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories:  Be specific  | Tags:  Jonsi, Sigur Rós  
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