Högni Egilsson is known internationally for his work with bands like Hjaltalín and Gus Gus. He’s even better known in Iceland for his work in other industries such as composing for film and theatre, and even for teaching methods of creativity to computer science students at the University of Iceland. But you may know Högni as the creator of Grapevine’s 2019 Album of the Year—his debut solo album, ‘Two Trains.’
Here's an excerpt from an interview we took with Högni about the album:
It’s a complex, epic album in its symphonic swells, but Högni has a simple way of describing its creation. “Initially it was about progress,” he explains. “It started with a reflection—or maybe an allegory—for some sort of metamorphosis. It’s sort of about raising your conscious awareness towards something of a bigger picture, not a micro-story.” The album took six years to complete, so in a sense, there was no choice for Högni but to look at the big picture."
Due to Högni’s openness about his bipolar disorder, it’s easy to assume that that ‘Two Trains’ is a simple metaphor for the illness. However, the record itself is so multifaceted that it challenges such a straightforward analysis, opening up many dichotomies whilst simultaneously moving beyond them. “I was fascinated by the dichotomy of the inner versus the outer—the technical, objective aspects versus the emotional, subjective aspects of life,” says Högni. “The subjective world, versus the world that we see. Even what we listen to in music is a witness to the invisibility of life—how these frequencies that we hear lure us into a world we want to be in.”
He describes this binary as the “the eternal struggle that art deals with,” and sees progress being made in this arena. He concludes, thought-provokingly, “The indescribable magic of art and performance is a real motor for life and imagination. The future and progress and all these things are intertwined. That’s how technology and society intertwine and binds together through these things in a magical, mysterious way to create this big picture we call life.”
Read feature interview here with Högni