Q & A With Keelrider Vocalist Björn Birnir

Q & A With Keelrider Vocalist Björn Birnir

XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?

We have a single coming out on December 6th which will be premiered on indymetalvault.com on December 4th and we also have a music video for it which will probably be premiered in the beginning of 2020.



XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?

 I started the band with one of my closest friends Atli when I was working on a music video back in the spring of 2015 for a song called “Stay” that ended up on our first album. The band has had about 10 members in various positions but the current line up I’d say has been together about a year. Pétur, our drummer joined the band in late 2015 so we’ve been playing together 4 years now.



XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?

I’ve had a guitar since I was a kid and I’ve always loved writing songs, so I decided to finally complete a song, with proper production, etc. instead of just the usual demo that ended up “in a drawer”, which I did… but then it was too late… no going back, now we’re working on LP nr.2.



XS ROCK: What is your music background?

Pretty much just writing songs on my own since childhood, no real bands or playing live until I started Keelrider with Atli. Egill (bass) and Stefán (lead guitar) are pretty much the only ones in the band who have played live with other bands before joining Keelrider, with some relative success I might add.



XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?

I have no idea really, isn’t that the impossible answer to give, how one is perceived by others?

I’m hoping the honesty resonates with people… I try to write something interesting but don’t like pretentiousness so I do my best to keep things grounded and real.



XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals? (Next 1 to 3 years.)

Pretty much just, playing every show we can, writing solid material, releasing our next album in 2020.

We expect nothing but prepare for everything.



XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?

Leaving a dent in the world, I’d love it if we made music that went flying around the world and we’d have something cool to remember when we’re all too old to play anymore.



 XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?

That is a really difficult choice because those two things are so completely different…

Writing is something I do for peace of mind, it’s something I can’t do without…

Playing a great live show is so out of this world I can’t really do without out that either haha



XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Life I guess and the world we live in… mostly the gloomy side of things… I can’t really write “happy” songs cause even trying makes me cringe instantly… But yeah, politics, hardship, being down and out, frustration, corruption, you name it.



XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.

We haven’t really taken this band on the road yet, we live in Reykjavik, Iceland so it makes the most sense to play mostly in the capital and we have to fly to mainland Europe or the States for instance if we really want to go on the road, that is something we’re looking forward to greatly!



XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?

A gentleman never tells 😉



XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?

Mine was at least, people tend to be fairly laid back here in Iceland and starting a band is hardly uncommon in a place where people spend so much time indoors due to the weather.



XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?

Our new song Sun is definitely up there, Over and Beneath The Monolith is really cool live as well… I pretty much love playing all our songs… but then again I don’t really finish writing songs I don’t connect with…



XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?

In the beginning, it was Metallica, their cd’s got worn down into dust in cd player back in the day.

I loved pretty much everything about that band, they’re absolute legends.



XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?

This is completely impossible haha

Down and Opeth would be cool… can you guys hook us up with them?



XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?

Getting Rob “Blasko” Nicholson to listen to our upcoming single and getting a positive review, hands down.

But also getting a bunch of airplay on national radio along with an interview with a seasoned pro called Sigvaldi Ástríðarson, he’s been in the business for years and years, solid dude.



XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?

Well, I have a day job as a system administrator so, that I guess.

We also have a truck driver, a baker, a sanitation worker and a plumber in the band… so if a zombie apocalypse would suddenly be upon us… I think we’d be alright.



XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?

A new must for me is a wireless Shure sm58 mic.

A few of us use wireless in-ear monitors(which is insanely helpful for singers and drummers at least)

Both guitar players have wireless transmitters plugged into their axes.



XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?

I think it’s really cool how easy it is to connect with people in the industry and how much more accessible everything is, recording and releasing music etc. but the downside is everybody is making music so it’s tricky to cut through the noise.

XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?

Well, many people from Iceland are surprised we’re locals when they hear our music.

Also maybe that our first album paid for itself with radio play royalties within 8 months of release.




XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?

Grungey stoner metal, with strong melodies and killer riffs, we like odd time signatures and keeping things interesting songwriting-wise (the music pretty much just comes out that way), the vocals often get compared to Layne Stayley, Chris Cornell and Peter Steele (which doesn’t exactly piss me off)



XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?

We have a new single coming out December 6th called “Sun” and it’s a killer song, we have an album in the works, the single premieres on indymetalvault.com on December 4 as I mentioned already. so be sure to check it out!!!

Likes and follows on social media are fuel for the fire and have a lot to do with the success of bands

so we definitely appreciate each one we get. Thanks, guys!



XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!



  • Vocals: Björn Birnir
  • Rhythm Guitar: Benedikt Sveinbjörnsson
  • Lead Guitar: Stefán Pétur Bachmann Bjarnason
  • Bass: Egill Fabien Posocco
  • Drums: Pétur Pétursson

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