• Mani Svavarsson: "It made all the difference for a kid like me”

    Written by Ritstjórn Albumm
    January 27, 2020



    Musical experiments have a 38-year history, and the first experiments were held in Tonabćr in 1982. That year's music experiments took place in Harpa's Northern Lights Hall from March 21 to 24 and the final evening took place on March 28. Music Experiments was a great springboard for young and promising musicians, but the competition has shot many bands into the starry sky, such as Of Monsters and Men, The Dolls, Greifen, Agent Fresco, Maus, Minus, Wake, XXX Rottweiler and Bottom Mud.

    The band DRON won the first Musical Experiments in 1982. “To be honest, I don't remember much about the details. But I remember we were really excited. There was a lot of garage bands going on at this time and this initiative was great, getting the bands together and competing, because what is more fun for Icelanders than "tournaments" in any of them" says Máni Svavarsson, musician and one member of DRON when asked how the music experiments have been.


    DRON refreshes just after the victory in the Music Experiments in 1982

    "That put the focus on these little bands. They were given the opportunity to perform in a field where audio and visuals did their work and we boys felt we were doing something "pro". On each semi-final night, a big band came out if I remember correctly. All this took place in Tónabć, which was a social center in Austurbćna, where 365 media were later housed. Soon after this a music marathon was held, with bands playing endlessly for a few days, I think. We also played there with all the bands that had participated. I remember the solidarity and joy between all these kids that participated, because when I looked back, we were just kids” says Máni, who himself was 15 when DRON won the competition. It is safe to say that Máni inherited the music gene, as his parents are Elly Vilhjálm singer and Svavar Gestsson musician and part-time director, who founded SG recordings in 1964.


    The band DRON on stage


    The name DRON stands for the 'Danshljómsveit Reykjavíkur og Nágrennis' and, says Máni, the name of the band probably came from Braga the name of Ragnarsson, the singer of the band. "He was a great singer, a great text author and an even better person. At this time, the new wave was emerging and many great things were going on. I think the thing that made DRON different is that we took a step back and mixed classic rock 'n roll with melodic pop with a wave of new wave. The new wave somehow represented a depressive "look" where people could hardly smile" says Máni. "DRON counted in and entertained even better in the field than the audience in the auditorium, that made the difference, I think."


    The victory changed everything

    "The final night was great. What I remember most from the moment the results were read was that Oscar Drummer (my best friend at the time), held the drum chains with both hands full of stress. When the name DRON was read as a winner, he broke the chains in one grip. I firmly believe he could play it today" says Máni as he recalls the victory, but how did the win affect the team?

    "It changed everything for us because we were able to come out and people knew who we were. We got 20 hours in a Recording Studio studio award - and I remember thinking: 20 hours, what should we record many albums for? . Today takes 20 hours to find the right bass sound, in the right section, in the right song. We ended up recording two songs that came out on SATT albums by Jóhann G. Jóhannsson, who was tireless in supporting the backs of aspiring musicians at this time. "


    The band DRON

    Máni has made the music his life's work and has been widely used in the industry as he says. "For a long time I worked on creating advertising and composing music for TV shows. Magnús Scheving then asked me to create music with erobic routines. He competed in sport at the time and achieved great results. It developed into an extremely successful partnership under the name Latibćr (LazyTown) , which ended up being my main job for many years. From there I have unforgettable memories and I had the opportunity to compose many of my best songs. Working with Magnus was a unique experience and we got along really well, ”says Máni.

    "Today I still work on music. I work mostly with music for children's and family shows in the UK. It is rare that television content contains as much music as LazyTown did, so when it comes to creating a "live show" for the children's television content, songs and music are often missing. There I can help with fun tunes. I have composed music with six of the last live shows Peppa Pig, along with Teletubbies and many others. "


    Máni is grateful to have participated in the race in his time and to work on what he loves, the music. "It is a privilege to work on what one loves and it is wonderful to have found one's shelf. I am extremely grateful to have been involved in the Music Experiments in his time and for the work he has done there. It made a difference for a kid like me to come forward and get feedback. "


    Mani in Lazy Town.
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