'I Wanna Go Bang' was the techno tune of 2015. But dancefloor ubiquity was the last thing on Bjarki's mind on the day it was released. The banger – made in 30 minutes with a kick drum originally intended for a gabba track and a nifty DJ Deeon sample – had been sitting on the Icelandic artist's hard drive for three years before it was cut to wax for Nina Kraviz's трип imprint. In fact, it was only after friends encouraged him that he sent it over to the label boss.
Released on the brilliantly titled two-track 12" 'Arthur And Intergalactic Whales', the runaway success of the spontaneous jam caught Bjarki off guard. It thrust him into the limelight, increased his bookings and turned him into something of a star. But, as a trilogy of albums released this year shows, his production goes way beyond the floor-filling belter that made his name.
'Б', released in June, 'Lefhanded Fuqs', released in September, and 'Æ', released at the end of this month, showcase music Bjarki's made over the last few years, a sprawling, ever changing collection that's as wildly experimental as it is downright slamming. It's clear that the trio of records are from an artist who defies expectations, burrowing deep into the possibilities of electronic music. And one who also refuses to be defined in live settings, often neglecting to play 'I Wanna Go Bang' and relishing the divisive outcome.
Bjarki's always done his own thing: he says his grades slipped at an early age, preferring to be the class clown rather than hone in on his studies during his childhood in Iceland. He got into music at the age of 12 after using his friend's older brother's music equipment and soon found his calling. After years of messing around with hardware and Fruity Loops, he eventually linked with Nina Kraviz after a USB of his music made its way to her. Bjarki's found home on three of the four various artist concept albums that трип has issued since its inception in 2014 and this year, with three full length releases, steps out as an artist proper.
Bjarki is at the epicentre of the трип operation (which scored Mixmag's Label Of The Year in 2015) and, alongside the label head, is about to embark on a US tour that sees the pair host parties in a series of unique locations. As with everything that goes into трип, each rave has been carefully considered and everywhere from air hangars to film studios have been chosen as far more interesting places to party than established venues.
Though he's definitely a "name", it's clear Bjarki isn't too fussed about consciously maintaining his headline status. As he revealed when we caught up with him in London in September, he prefers the mysticism of raves and the outdoors to dark clubs, isn't bothered by the technicalities of music production and just wants people to dance, whether they've heard of him or not.
Exclusive Q+A and track premiere below.
DJ Pierre and Kai Alce in The Lab Atlanta
The house music staples join us for a special LAB in Atlanta
Squarepusher's first album in five years to come via Warp
Listen to his new track, 'Vortrack' ahead of the LP release