INTRO: JÚNÍUS MEYVANT
Nestled in the North Atlantic, Iceland, often referred to as the “Land of Ice and Fire,” boasts a music scene as dynamic and captivating as its landscapes. The Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar, lying just off its southern coast, offer breathtaking beauty and unique geological facets. Eager to explore these wonders, we took a ferry to these magnificent islands, drawn by their dramatic volcanic landscapes teeming with seabirds, their rich history of human resilience, and the ever-evolving forces of the earth.
It was on these islands, amidst this surreal backdrop, that we had the privilege of meeting Júníus Meyvant, the stage name of Icelandic singer-songwriter Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson. Living in the very heart of this scenic beauty, Meyvant’s life and music are deeply intertwined with the rhythms of this land. When asked about the influence of his homeland on his music, especially being born and raised in the Westman Islands, he replied, “Everything in my surroundings is influencing my music every day with me noticing and without noticing. I usually get lost in thought and zone out. Short answer, yes.”
As we embark on a series of introductions to various Icelandic characters in our AW23 editorial over the coming months, Meyvant emerges as our inaugural feature, setting a high bar with his profound artistry that reflects the essence and innovative spirit of Icelandic music. Artists of his caliber draw inspiration from ethereal landscapes, long winter nights, and the nation’s vibrant heritage, crafting sounds that transcend typical genre boundaries. While his music resonates with the mellow tones of the ’60s and ’70s, Meyvant gives it a modern, refreshing touch. His captivating performances, from the bustling stages of New York City to renowned music festivals, are a testament to his global appeal.
Our conversation revealed an interesting tidbit about Meyvant’s early days. When asked about his experience with music school, he humorously clarified, “I didn’t get kicked out of music. I wasn’t allowed to participate. Too much energy.” Despite these initial challenges, his indomitable spirit shone through. However, when probed about any wild tour incidents, he mused, “This question got me thinking for 20 minutes. I got nothing. Maybe my brain is blocking my tour memories because of trauma.”
Beyond the realm of music, Meyvant’s world is rooted in exploration and connection to his homeland. The serene atmosphere of the Westman Islands and Iceland’s stark, raw beauty are constant sources of inspiration. Addressing the shared ethos of creativity and innovation, Meyvant remarked, “Others can tell you how I reflect in these areas. But I always try to give hope and honesty. I continually push myself towards things I don’t fully comprehend.”
In our rapidly changing world, Júníus Meyvant emerges as a beacon of timeless musical expression. His creations bridge epochs, inviting listeners to a transcendent auditory journey. His unique expression is not confined to his music alone. We had the honor of photographing Meyvant in the Gusto Shirt and Samurai Trousers in paisley corduroy, the Gusto Shirt in juicy green, as well as our soon-to-come Terek Jeans and Juneau Jacket.