If you've caught the brilliant new trailer for this year's Iceland Airwaves, you can't have missed the energetic compéring from 27 year-old DJ Flugvél Og Geimskip, who blasts through the initial-announcement line-up with vim and vigour.

The 405 was first drawn to the Icelandic eccentric at last year's Reykjavik festravaganza but it was her recent outing in Groningen for Eurosonic Noorderslaag that really cemented our love for Steinunn Eldflaug Harðardóttir, whose act name translates as DJ Airplane and Spaceship, fitting in nicely with her self-proclaimed genre: horror electronic music from outer space.

Harðardóttir claims to have started out making music at the tender age of 1. "I wanted to be a rap musician because my mother was listening to rap a lot," she explains, "so I would do rap concerts on my bed because I thought it looked like a stage. The lyrics were 'kindr í dós, kindr í dós', which means 'sheep in a can, sheep in a can', because I didn't know so many words then. I was still a baby." That's still pretty good going for a 1-year-old, to be fair. "Yes", she agrees with a cackle.

"Later on I wanted to record the music that I was making," she recalls, "so my parents gave me a small Fischer Price recording device when I was 5. And since then I have been recording my whole life. With my family, we travelled around Iceland camping and every time we came to a new town I would go to the boot of the car and sing - it was my way of touring. Kids from the towns would come and see me perform and afterwards we would all go and play."

When Harðardóttir started school her mind was still very much on music. "We would have two lunchtimes [breaks] and so I would use the first lunchtime to tell everyone 'there's a concert in the next lunchtime' and people would come to see me playing in the second lunchtime." It's quite resourceful, if you think about it: promoting the gig during the first break so that people actually know about it and then using the second break for performance. "It was very fun," Harðardóttir chirps excitedly.



Safe to say she knew what career she wanted for herself pretty early on, then. "Yeah, yeah, I always wanted to be a musician," she nods. "But, in a way, it wasn't something I thought about as 'this is what I want to do', I was just doing it anyway. When I was about 16 years old, when they needed someone to play in-between concerts at school - other bands' concerts - I just said 'yeah, I can do that, I can be a DJ or something. So I was a DJ but I actually played my own music in-between the other bands. Then I started to play more and more concerts and it just continued."

At that point Harðardóttir only had one instrument - an old Yamaha Portersound keyboard. "I can't remember the exact name of it," she says, "but I remember it was silvery and I used to call it the New-Wave Instrument, because it was from the New-Wave time and it sounded New-Wave to me. My friends always said they couldn't play with me because they were rehearsing with their own bands so I would also say that I was rehearsing with my own band but, really, it was just me and the New-Wave keyboard. It played drums by itself and it could play bass by itself and so I could continue singing, which meant that I could be a full band with just one keyboard," she reasons.

Harðardóttir's dream was to release her own music but she was hesitant to do so at first: "I was afraid that the cool guys in school would think 'oh this is boring, this is just strange' so I never did it until I came across this other artist called Sigríður Níelsdóttir. I always used to go to this record store called 12 Tónar and I wanted to publish a CD and bring it to that shop but I didn't do it because the guys in school made me think it was a stupid idea. Then one time I saw this really strange CD for sale in 12 Tónar and it was by this woman, Sigríður Níelsdóttir, a CD with her playing an old organ and singing. She made the music herself and recorded the music on her own and she was 90 years old! Every time I came to 12 Tónar she had made a new CD. So if I had money I would buy her CD. I think in total she made, like, 53 CDs but I don't have all of them. You know - she or someone in her family had guinea pigs and she was sampling the guinea pigs and putting them into her songs [sings] like this, very old voice, very beautiful and playing the organ and then stop! And [emulates sound of a guinea pig] and then she put again her organ and her singing [sings]. And it was very funny. She also had two art exhibitions in 12 Tónar and I bought one of her pieces of art. Then she died. But Kira Kira, an Icelandic musician, made a movie about her called Grandma Lo-Fi - it's very funny."

Did Harðardóttir's ever get to meet her idol? "No, I never did but I got her phone number and once I rang her and said "Hi, how are you? I'm a... aðdáandi, erm- how do you say - oh, yes, I'm your fan! And she just said: "Yes". She really didn't want to speak with me on the phone [laughs]. But what she did was very encouraging to me. She gave me courage to bring my own music to the CD shop so I was making CDs, going to the shop and putting them next to Sigríður Níelsdóttir's CDs. Then I started putting out Youtube videos and I went to the radio station to try to get them to play my songs. Sometimes they would play them. A few times a year."

So, essentially, you were your own writer, producer, recording engineer, manufacturer, distributor, promoter and radio plugger! "Yes", Harðardóttir laughs. "I was also my own concert manager. If I wanted to play a concert I would go to concert places and ask them to let me play. And then I would have to find other bands to play with me and then I would have to make the posters. So I am used to doing everything by myself. At least now I have my manager [María, who also looks after Ásgeir]."

One of the things we love about Harðardóttir's particular brand of quirk-pop is the mix between '90s beats and early The Knife vibes. She takes this as a compliment. "Both those references are great for me. Early '90s drum and bass, for instance, is my favourite music and when I was growing up my parents were listening to 808 State and things like that, so they became my influence. And I really like The Knife so it's very good."

And how did she come up with 'horror electronic music from outer space'? "When I write," she explains, "I start off with making some drum beats and I find other sounds that I think sound good and I play around. In the end I always think, oh I made another horror song. I made another sad, gloomy horror song about space. It always happens. I try to make fun songs about the summer that are jolly and fun but it doesn't happen. They always end up being about something terrible like monsters and blood and the dark and dangers in space, like black holes and things like that. It's horror space music. I think it's just because I love to read old horror stories and gothic novels and watch horror movies. I read everything about space and watch Youtube videos about it and listen to podcasts about science and space. So I think those things influence what I am singing about."

So far Harðardóttir has only written and released songs in Icelandic but this may well change soon. "Now that I am playing international festivals I think that, because the song are adventures and I am telling a story in a song, it's very sad if I have to explain the songs before I play them, because people don't understand Icelandic. So I think I have to start making some English songs and sing in English. If I am playing for people that don't understand the lyrics and so they don't get the stories then they can't get into the songs."

We point out that her fellow countryman, Ásgeir, had the songs on his Icelandic debut album translated into English by John Grant. Would Harðardóttir consider going down a similar route or would she prefer to start from scratch and try writing in English herself? She ponders this for a moment. "Because I don't really think I am good in English then maybe if I sing and record from scratch in English it would sound childish, so I would need some words to do it properly," she says. At the risk of sounding like we're brown-nosing, we reassure her that her English is, in fact, very good. "Really?", she asks, her eyes lighting up. "Maybe it's those Youtube videos and those podcasts! If you say my English is good then maybe it would work!"



Using a different language might take her song-writing in different directions, we suggest. "Yes, that's true. I think that singing in English there is a freedom because it is not my first language, so I can sing something like "I love you so much" and it doesn't sound so stupid to me because it's in another language. It could be good. But it could also end up being very childish or naïve. I will try it and I will send it to you and you can tell me."

We can't not ask about her act name and its provenance. "Oh, actually, I think I have to change that too, because everywhere I go and play they think I'm a DJ," she says. "I'm always asked to be a DJ somewhere but I am not a DJ. I'm a musician. Here at Eurosonic they've not had a mixer ready for me and I didn't get a sound-check because they think I'm a DJ. So I have to do something about this. But the name is because of that time I started out being a DJ between bands at school. I like airplanes and spaceships because they can take you away from your day-to-day life on earth, bring you to the sky and space, which is what I am trying to do with the music - to take people to another place. Airplanes and Spaceship sounds good, actually. Yeah, I think I will change my name to that."

Before we leave Harðardóttir in peace we briefly chat about her new album, which she is preparing for release in the next couple of months. "In Iceland I already have two albums out that people take seriously and one album, a third one, that I am making now. I have five other CDs that I made before, which I sold in that shop, 12 Tónar. And I have a few cassettes but I don't know if I would let anyone hear those now."

With her last album being about outer-space, the new one will build on that theme but with a twist. "I was meditating," she tells us, "and I went into the deep, deep, deepest black ocean I have ever known and I saw some small lights and small stars. And, first, it was small fish that were glowing but I discovered that if you go very deep into the ocean you get into space because the deepest black is also in space. It connected space and the deep ocean. For me, at the time, it was the same thing. The stars in the sky and the planets glowing were just like the little fish in the deep ocean and it was a mind-blowing experience for me. So I decided to make the new album about the deep sea." She'd like to release the new record on a full moon. "Then people will go crazy and they will come to my concert and be crazy at the concert and be drunk and scream."

We definitely want to be there when that happens.

For updates on DJ Flugvél Og Geimskip and details about her forthcoming album check out her Facebook page.