Eva Maria Thiessen
The band ADHD has four members and comes from Iceland. Their five CDs are images of and capture something of the infinite wide space of the North, where far vistas are only interrupted by volcanos whose names even trained newsreaders find difficult to pronounce. Iceland – a land of extremes. And one of these extremes includes the fact that this country has an unusually high number of musicians in relation to the total population. Naturally, at times this can lead to friction. And such friction is evident in their music.
ADHD’s motto might be: ‘We are family!’ Keyboarder DAVÍÐ ÞÓR JÓNSSON, guitarist und bassist ÓMAR GUÐJÓNSSON, saxophone player ÓSKAR GUÐJÓNSSON und drummer MAGNÚS TRYGVASON ELIASSEN know each other since childhood. Above all they are friends who know they can rely on each other through ‘thick and thin’. More precisely they are the creative nucleus of a big family which also includes wives, children, friends, relations and like-minded comrades. It is never dull in the hurly-burly ADHD home. And since 2009 they are a band. But as they have known each other for so long they never bothered with definitions and categories. ÓSKAR GUÐJÓNSSON comments: ‘Many bands work together for musical reasons. With us it’s a bit different. Our musical backgrounds are very different, but we belong together. In the band we can define our common basis.’
This search for common ground in the concentration on expansive vistas creates the unmistakable accord among these four Vikings. Although each of the musicians has clear roles, what matters to them fundamentally is the collective sound which in turn is so dense that the collective dissolves into a unified whole. They are a band in which the four ‘extremists’ can freely grow, but entirely without “flexing muscles” towards one another.
The band’s name ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may be somewhat confusing indeed in the face of the hypnotic effect of their music. But GUÐJÓNSSON acknowledges that the music may even have a therapeutic effect on the group itself. As with a volcano, the energy first concentrates in the interior, only to erupt with all the more intensity and force. As well on there studio albums, ADHD focus on, and impress their audience with, their eruptive live energy.
ADHD do not deny their roots in jazz. Improvisation and spontaneous reactions are still very much part of the components of their music. Musicians, however, who live in a country of only 300.000 inhabitants have to be versatile. Thus they are open to and allow for all sorts of musical matters which interest them. With every album they increase the radical consciousness with which they play their monolithic, yet holistic, music. And they go the whole hog. They leave behind all rules and worries in their music and reach a point whereby the only thing that matters is self-expression in sound. It seems as if the script for their music has been written directly from life into their instruments. – And that is good because in this way the family continues to grow.
Óskar Guðjónsson: Saxophones
Ómar Guðjónsson: Guitars, Bass
Davíð Þór Jónsson: Piano, Hammond, Synths, Bass etc.
Magnús Trygvason Eliassen: Drums, Percussion