Ensimi was formed in 1996 as an outlet for a few friends to get together and have some fun with ideas, fusing together rock with electronic music. There was no agenda to form a band at first but after their first demo recording got into the hands of a label A&R, they got offered a recording contract without playing a single gig, nor having a full line-up or even a name for the group.
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 arguments between the label and the management, the band decided to release themselves from their contracts.
A period of a long hiatus ensued, and band members wound up working with many of the A-list Icelandic artists, both in recording and touring. Also, a slew of side projects found life and gave birth to various releases.
In 2010 Ensimi emerged with a new album entitled Gæludýr which got much critical acclaim and did the usual local touring and festival appearances. They followed up with their 5th album Herðubreið in 2015 securing the band as a long-distance runner, maintaining their critical acclaim and popularity.
In 2018 the debut album “Kafbátamúsík” got a vinyl release, 20 years after initial cd release. In honour of the release, Ensimi played the album in full for 4 sold out concerts.
A new album is slated for a 2020 release.