Icelandic musicians Krummi Björgvinsson and Halldor "Dori" Björnsson may have made their names playing hardcore and metal in Mínus and Sólstafir, respectively, but together in Legend they create evocative electronic alt-rock that's heavier thematically than it is sonically. This is particularly true on the title track of their forthcoming second album, Midnight Champion, which is set for release on October 13th (you can pre-order it here). A throbbing, slow-burning cut, it delves into dark territory, and it's video, which makes its premiere above, follows suit. Below, Björgvinsson discusses the song and its brutal yet visually stunning clip.
WHAT IS THE SONG "MIDNIGHT CHAMPION" ABOUT?
KRUMMI BJÖRGVINSSON It's basically about how we create killers with our prejudice and abuse. The main character is a broken dark soul — Midnight Champion — out for revenge against mankind and becomes a martyr. Rising like a phoenix from the flame. Being born again. How mankind destroys everything that it doesn't understand and it harbors fear, which leads to regression of our empathy, compassion, knowledge and imagination.
HOW DID YOU GUYS GO ABOUT WRITING THE SONG?
We had the bass line for quite some time before we did anything to it. I felt like the bass line was leading you to some kind of climax so I knew that this song would be some kind of trip. One evening we were finishing up in the studio when suddenly the vocal melody came to me very clearly. I went home and wrote down the lyrics and thought that this will be the title track. It was almost seamless in an eerie way.
WHO CAME UP WITH THE CONCEPT FOR THE VIDEO?
I came up with the concept of the video. I wanted the video to accommodate the subject matter. After that, we all kind of worked on it and finished the storyboard.
DID YOU GUYS HAVE ANY RESERVATIONS ABOUT IT INITIALLY, CONSIDERING THE SUBJECT MATTER?
Yes, a little bit at first. I knew that it was a very touchy or sensitive matter, but we wanted to tell this story so we are ready to take the consequences. Of course, this had to be executed in the right way. The video is a bit abstract and kind of a dance, so to speak. I don't see the video glorifying mass shootings so I hope people won't get offended. We don't see much of the victims, which was a conscious decision on our part. We follow the broken dark soul to its redemption by committing a sin or an evil deed. It's contradictory in a way.
WERE YOU PERSONALLY INVOLVED IN THE FILMING OF THE VIDEO? IF SO, WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE?
Yes, I was. I was assisting director and helping out with whatever was needed to be done. I was also an extra in the video among the other guys in the band. The experience was great. We got two amazing directors to direct the video and a really good cinematographer and the lead actor, Walter [Grímsson], is a close friend and a super talented actor, so we were in good hands. We filmed the video near Vík, the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island. It has some stark atmosphere and very pretty surroundings. It was perfect for the main character's travel to meet his fate. The video was filmed in two days on a Arri Alexa Mini camera to get that 35mm film feel.
IS GUN VIOLENCE A BIG ISSUE IN ICELAND AS IT IS IN THE U.S.?
No, not really. There are a lot of guns in Iceland, but gun crime is fairly uncommon, thankfully. We see what's going on around us in the world and we live in some very scary and terrifying times. Legend is a dark band. Our music has the feel of something ominous. Our subject matter is usually something on the fringe.
IS THERE A PARTICULAR EMOTION THAT YOU WANTED TO GET ACROSS WITH THE SONG AND VIDEO?
I want you to feel like there's something about to happen. You don't know what it is, but you can feel it. You can't help but to be drawn into the world of the Midnight Champion, but at the same time you're reluctant. Like a moth to the flame. Something forbidden, baleful and acrimonious.
"Midnight Champion" Video Credits:
Director: Sigurvin Edvarsson & Rútur Skæringur N. Sigurjónsson
Assistant directors: Krummi Björgvinsson & Frosti Jón Runólfsson
Cinematography: Viktor David Johannson
Producer: Krummi Björgvinsson
Lead actor: Walter Grímsson
Jakop Trausti Þórðarson, Elmar Reyr Hauksson, Haukur Pálmason, Ríkharður Sigurjónsson, Viktor Smári Sigurjónsson, Bergþóra Ástþórsdóttir, Þórir Kjartansson, Linnea Hellström, Starri Hauksson, Karen Helena, Viktor Demirev, Diljá Sævarsdóttir, Halldór Á Björnsson, Kukl, Gaukurinn