Exposure: Benni Hemm Hemm
Benni Hemm Hemm is the brainchild of Icelandic musician/composer, contemporary of Sigur Ros and Múm and current Edinburgh resident Bennedikt H Hermannsson. His songs are backed with the blare of a large-scale DIY brass band on releases through Berlin’s Morr Music label. With a third album just out on Iceland’s Kimi Records label, and following a couple of solo shows, Hermannsson has convened a baroque chamber version of Benni Hemm Hemm for a European tour which is showcased in Edinburgh this issue.
Tell me about the new band. The last time I played with my band was with a youth symphony orchestra in Reykjavík with more than 40 people on stage. So trimming down to a trio with two wonderful Edinburgh-based musicians, Emily Scott and Owen Williams, makes things more intimate and has to be more focused. That keeps things together in a completely different way.
How is the Icelandic music scene coping with the country’s financial collapse? I’ve heard that Bubbi Morthens, who first got famous as a punk rebel in 1980 and is now a very well off pop star, has returned to his punk band and is number one on the charts. But the music scene in Iceland has never had any money. That’s the best thing about it. It’s completely free from business.
What’s next for Benni Hemm Hemm? I’m writing tons of music now and there are lots of shows booked for the summer. Then I’ll be recording a new album some time this year. But I’m trying to plan less and keep things open.
Benni Hemm Hemm, The Bowery, Edinburgh, Sat 21 May. www.bennihemmhemm.com