“Big snails. I felt very bad. I want to apologize to L.A. for stepping on a snail.” Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson, co-singer and guitarist for up-and-coming Icelandic indie-pop band Of Monsters and Men, recounts his regrets at involuntary snail violence on the streets of Los Angeles to the audience at the Red Bull Sound Space At KROQ hosted by Ted Stryker who originally debuted their song, “Little Talks,” on his KROQ’s 4:20.
When people think of Los Angeles, they don’t often think of humungous snails. There’s the beaches; there’s the beautiful people; there’s the perfect weather. But Þórhallsson’s mention of snails is well-suited for the extremely naturalistic stories that Of Monsters and Men have woven into the lyrics of their lush songs.
Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, the band’s other co-vocalist and guitarist, did give a shot out to the nearly-consummate sunshine-laden weather of Southern California.
“Sun,” said Hilmarsdóttir. “We have sun. But, you have more sun.”
Joined by guitarist Brynjar Leifsson, drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, piano/accordion player Árni Guðjónsson, bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson, and a talented young blonde lady on the trumpet, Of Monsters and Men played an ambrosial amalgamation of organic folk and exuberant chamber pop with a four song set.
The set included “Dirty Paws,” “Love Love Love,” “Little Talks,” and “Six Weeks” from My Head Is An Animal.
The band narrated a story about how the band originally formed for the 2010 battle of the bands competition, Músíktilraunir, in Reykjavík, Iceland.
They impressed a “collection of five judges” and went on to nab a coveted spot at the 2010 Iceland Airwaves festival.
“We just started writing a lot and playing some shows and it was really great because we suddenly got a chance to play a lot of shows in Iceland,” explained Hilmarsdóttir to Stryker. “It was cool.”
The band went on to release their début album, My Head Is An Animal, in September 2011 with “Little Talks” exploding in Iceland and over the pond in America.
For their United States release which comes out on April 3, Of Monsters and Men plan on including two new songs which the band said “were definitely inspired by the surroundings” of a cabin in Iceland they went to go write at.
After all this success, when asked how they came together to enter the Músíktilraunir competition in the first place, Þórhallsson responded: “I guess we’re all just good friends.”