Published Sep 10, 2009Icelandic trio Gus Gus return with their sixth full-length album, 24/7, on Cologne's accomplished techno label Kompakt. Gus Gus formed in 1995 and became widely renowned as an avant-garde collective of musicians, artists and performers. Through the years, the combination of various talents and different mediums has contributed to the evolution of Gus Gus and their unique style of electronic dance music. On 24/7, Stephan Stephensen, Birgir Rórarinsson and returning full-time member Daníel Ágúst raise the bar while keeping their signature '90s analog sound alive. The first song and single of the album, "Add This Song," is an euphoric, epic club anthem that builds into a 4/4 acid dance floor meltdown paired with Daníel Ágúst's soft, pop-like vocals. Gus Gus also perform "Take me Baby," a song written and sung by eccentric composer Jimi Tenor. Tenor's filtered, dark vocals are combined with rocking schaffel techno beats and deep, gloomy synth sounds. "Hateful" was written in collaboration with Detroit techno producer Aaron-Carl and together they create an infectious, bumping techno pop vocal track. The entire album delivers a moody eclecticism, combining synth pop, chunky party anthems and skilful techno stompers bound to make you dance for the full 56 minutes.
This is your first release on Kompakt. Why the switch and how did this new relationship form?
Stephensen: Yes, it is our first one on Kompakt and for us [it's] the best release we've done so far. The next one will be much better, of course. The relationship was born when Mr. Mayer came to Iceland to play the Airwaves festival. He was hunted down with no options to choose from and GusGus were a Kompakt artist. We are very happy with our new home. They are all borderline gay like us so it's a match made in heaven.
Daníel Ágúst returns as a full member to Gus Gus. Can you describe the group dynamic as a trio?
Not really. It's a kind of magic.
How did your collaboration with Jimi Tenor come to fruition?
President Bongo had the idea to remix "Take me Baby" for Pineapple Records. Jimi and the President are good friends but there were no available stems for that track because it was recorded "live" on a two-track in NY back in the day. Jimi didn't die without a solution and sang the track again and the dream was a reality! That's basically the story even though there are many juicy details left out. Not printable.
How did you compose with Aaron-Carl while being on different sides of the Atlantic? How did this process work exactly?
The "Hateful" track has a long story. Aaron-Carl was here in Iceland some years ago and along with President Bongo and Vidar Hakon from Trabant they started working on "Hateful." Aaron then released the track on his label. We had the vocals in our computer and tried them to a beat/bass line we had going on. Then, when we went recording the album in the Tankurinn, Daniel took the track to another level with his magnificent performance!
What special role does the Doepfer A-100 play in your music?
Well, it's the Captain of the team. It motivates players when they are down. It never looses its cool and drives the entire club to borderline extremes. It's out heart; it's our rhythm and it's our soul. Well, almost. It sounds good. (Kompakt)