Launching at last November’s Iceland Airwaves, within the space of a week, Fufanu had become the most talked about new band of the festival, made their UK live debut at London’s JaJaJa night and supported Damon Albarn at the Albert Hall – winning the approval of Brian Eno into the bargain – and leaving a trail of foaming plaudits in their wake.
January saw the band return to perform crushing sets at Eurosonic before a return to the UK supporting The Vaccines on their sold out March/ April tour – also slipping in a memorable two-night stand with Bo Ningen at Hoxton Bar & Grill. In June things once again stepped up a gear when the band drew a crowd of over 700 to their exhilarating bandstand show on the bill, supporting Blur at Hyde Park.
Formerly operating as techno/ electronic duo, Captain Fufanu (while Kaktus and Gulli were still in their teens), with the addition of live instrumentation – and the band name shortened to a more economical Fufanu (“the Captain was left behind at a rave in Cologne”) – the pair began working up a dark, metronomic take on 70s and 80s European music. If clangorous metallic guitars and floor shaking syncopated bass are key elements in the band’s powerful circumspect post-punk, then the live show with it’s MBV-like furnace blasts of volume is a game changer whereby the mordant wit suggested by song titles like Plastic People and live opener Goodbye can shift up into thrillingly cold malevolence, fronted by ‘slyph-like’ singer Kaktus Einarsson’s magnetic stage presence.
The band’s unusual origins go a long way to explaining how Fufanu have arrived at their exacting sound. “It is an entirely new band, even though it feels the same,” considers Kaktus. “There was no certain moment when we realized that this was our sound. We just liked what we were doing and kept experimenting. From [Roskilde Festival 2013] onward, the idea of a new sound for us was born — although leaving techno was not the outcome we imagined. As for what drives them to make such varying, eclectic and progressive music – “We are just making exactly the music that we want to listen to” reasons Kaktus in the self-explanatory tone of a man to whom it would not occur to be doing anything else.