Ensimi was formed in 1996 as an outlet for a few friends to get together and have some fun with music ideas, fusing together rock with electronics. There was no agenda to form a band at first but after their first demo recording got into the hands of an label A&R, they got offered a recording contract without even playing a single gig.

Ensimi’s first album, Kafbátamúsík made a big splash in the music scene in 1998 earning them 2 Icelandic Music Awards for best new act and song of the year. Ensimi’s first real live performance was for the music documentary film and festival “Pop in Reykjavik” and they followed the album release with concerts around the country and were one of the few acts performing at the first Iceland Airwaves Festival. Kafbátamusik is considered one of the best albums ever released in Iceland to this day.

After a busy live schedule and media hype, Ensimi got an offer to work with the legend, Steve Albini for their next album. With only a few weeks to record and no songs ready, the band locked themselves in a rehearsal space and banged out an albums worth of songs just in time for Steve’s arrival. Albini’s notorious approach to only work with tape machines and no digital wizardry showed the audience the raw side of Ensimi. The second album, BMX was released in 1999. It was a schizophrenic blend of rock songs which Albini recorded and the style of electro rock Ensimi introduced on the first album. Another round of tours and media appearances followed.

Ensimi decided to leave their label and for the third and self titled album the band set up their own studio and recorded the album themselves. The album Ensími was released in 2002 and for the first time Ensimi did some tours abroad playing the SXSW festival, an east coast tour of US and other countries. Ensimi signed with a US label and a German management and plans were set in motion for a US / Europe release and tours. After years of silly arguments between the label and the management, the band decided to walk away and got themselves released from their contracts.

In 2010 Ensimi emerged with a new album entitled Gæludýr which got much critical acclaim and did the usual local touring and festival appearances.

A new album is scheduled to be released in 2015.

Apart from Ensími, all of the band members have been actively working with many of the Iceland’s premier talents.


Hrafn Thoroddsen – Vocals / Guitar / Synth

Franz Gunnarsson – Guitar / Vocals

Guðni Finnsson – Bass / Vocals

Arnar Þór Gíslason – Drums

Þorbjörn Sigurðsson – Synths / Vocals