Benni Hemm Hemm: Iceland’s latest indie darling

Posted July 18th, 2007 by Eric Greenwood · No Comments

Being big in Iceland doesn’t exactly have a lot of perks. For Benni Hemm Hemm, three years of hype (Rolling Stone said he “evoked the sunshine prospect of Brian Wilson conducting a troupe of Salvation Army horns at a 1967 Smile session”) and selling 30,000 records in a country with a population of 300,000 meant he could barely quit his day job at the library. Almost all of his business decisions defy commercial acumen, yet he can’t seem to “screw up enough”:

“Hermannsson hasn’t made a single decision that makes commercial sense. The antifestival he started became a nationwide success and he promptly dropped out. His band gained a reputation as the best live show in Iceland, so he hired more members. He got great reviews abroad, then released an album in a language spoken by 300,000 people. Now, in the height of European festival season, a touring circuit most Icelandic bands covet, he is hitting the American highways with an 11-piece band.”

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