Gusgus are one of the most sought after and longstanding electronic acts from Iceland. Armed with a legendary, must-see live show that encompasses all the elements that they are known for, on stage Gusgus extend their tracks and warp their soundscapes in a way that is unique to each performance. World-renowned for their genre-defying style, an eclectic infusion of modern club culture and echoes of the past, they have remixed legendary acts such as Depeche Mode, Björk and Sigur Rós, and have consistently found increasing relevance within an ever-changing electronic music scene, carving their own fortune and sound that is further exemplified by the release of ‘Lies Are More Flexible.

DMCWORLD checks in…

Photos by Alexander Elizarov and Kjartan Hreinsson


Tell us a little bit about the creative process behind ‘Lies Are More Flexible’. How long  were you in the studio before you decided that it was ready for the world to experience?

We are always in the studio on and off working on new ideas or working some tracks further, so it is difficult to say when we “actually” started focusing on finishing this album. Also as we are touring on and off all year round, prolonged studio sessions are rare.  The first tracks came to live as demos in mid 2016, though some of them did sit for a while before we knew how to develop them further. I think the focus on “finishing the album” came at the start of 2017 and the first of two, “Lies are more flexible” was ready 5 months later.

It’s been 4 years since you last released a studio LP. What was the reason behind the hiatus?

Well, it takes a bit of time to get albums out of the system after you finish them.  So almost a year passed from the album ‘Mexico’ in 2014 before we started doing new music.  It also takes time to figure out what combos of influences you want to tap in to, on your next musical exploration.  In my opinion being an electronic musician is so much about exploring both technology and a new way to tackle what you feel are unfinished ideas from the past.  Ideas that you feel you can add value to, in line with new technology and general development of culture and taste.  This time the chord structures and arpeggios from the “synth wave” era from around 78-82 called on us to explore further along with slow grooves of the same time.  I think the first track that came to light was “Fuel” along with “Our World” (next album) that both are explorations with arpeggios.  Then when the groove in “Don’t know how to love”, with that distorted Juno106 in the chorus, was on our desk, we could feel the new album coming.  In the end of winter 2017, we realised that we were working on two albums, not one, so we decided to split the work up and finish the first one.  It was ready the beginning of summer 2017, just took a bit of time setting up the release structure.

How would you say your sound and production style have evolved throughout the past decade? What about since the beginning of your career?

I would say that what has evolved this last decade is perhaps the mind set of being an explorer when doing music, not just turning on the same sounds you used yesterday and beginning writing some catchy stuff.  And the exploring is not just about creating new sounds and soundscapes it has also to do with time traveling to fuse different genres from different times in a new mix for new generations of electronic music lovers.  Looking at some physical changes since we started in 1995, we have in that time moved from creative sampling to modular synth manipulation.

‘Lies Are More Flexible’ sees you experiment with a wide range of sub-genres and styles, where would you say most of your inspiration stems from?

I find the times where electronic music was specially flourishing interesting.  Especially where the revolution in music was in sync with changes in underground culture.  Of those the ones most interesting to me are the times between 78-82 you can call “synth wave”, the intelligent brakes of 92-94 and then the new German feel of emotional techno emerging 04-06.  There are lots of interesting things I tap into from the last 10 years but they are more sparse and unconnected scenes.  On “Lies are more flexible” you can sense all of these but perhaps the stranger alleys of the “synth wave” give it character.

You guys have been around to first-handedly witness the evolution of the clubbing scene. What are some of the biggest differences you’ve noticed between the crowd at your shows 10 years ago and the crowd now?

Not much changes in the crowd really, it has always been good and into our grooves all this time.  But true, it has been a privilege to witness first-hand the evolution of electronic music dating back to the very early 80s.  It’s been a real treat.

After working together for so long I can only imagine that you have cultivated not only an incredibly rare creative partnership, but a special kind of friendship as well. How have you made it work for so long? What are some of your biggest pet peeves and things that you admire about each other the most?

We are very much loners, it is just our nerdish love of music and the joy of performing it together that keep us still hanging in there.

Are there any tracks on ‘Lies Are More Flexible’ that you have a particular affinity for?

All of them touch some special, a bit pervert, spot, deep in my emotional system.  ‘Featherlight’ is perhaps a favourite in many ways, but the ones that have more of the “Italo Disco” feel, move me more in a sexual way. I somehow connect “Italo Disco” with gender freedom.

The video for ‘Featherlight’ is a stunning piece of multimedia. How did your collaboration with the Icelandic Love Corporation come to fruition?

They are old friends of ours, so the idea came rather naturally a few years back.

Gusgus - Featherlight (Official Video)

You have quite an impressive arsenal of tech and studio gear. What would you consider to be your most prized piece(s) of equipment?

The ARP 2600 and the Juno 2 were the most important synths in the 90s.  You can hear the Juno 2 all over the tracks from that time and well into the 2000s.  The piano in “Moss” and “Call of the Wild”, the pads in “Anthem” and “Purple”, the bass in “Dance you Down”, the synth in “David” and the organ in “Ladyshave”, these are all sounds from my Juno 2.  But since the album “24/7” I have been focusing more on my modular system, mostly Doepfer, for sound exploration and percussion sampling.  Also then the Juno 106 has replaced the Juno 2 as the main polyphonic synth last decade.  It just sounds so good, even though it is just one oscillator.

Which part of the world is your favourite to visit when you’re touring and why?

None in particular.  But I can name that our favourite food we find in Mexico and the love we feel in Eastern Europe and Germany has kept us going.

What was the last piece (or pieces) of mind-blowing new music that you heard?

After being swamped in electronic music for more than 30 years, the mind-blowing experience is harder to find.  But I am still always searching for new music, a new fix, as music is basically my emotional drug.  Some of my recent finds I like are Oliver Huntemann’s album from last year, “Propaganda” and the Karmon album from this year.  And some of the new (to me) names I am following are ANNA and Fabrizio Lapiana.

Going off of that, what would you say – since you first started attending electronic music functions – are some of the most memorable shows you’ve ever seen?

Finally checking out Depeche Mode last year in Munchen.  And then 808 State back in 91 in Iceland as our first taste of the new rave culture.

Can you name a couple of noteworthy producer/DJs that you think will be ones-to-watch in the following years?

ANNA and Fabrizio Lariana.

After seemingly having done it all, what   plans do Gus Gus have in the upcoming future? Will there  be another LP  following ‘Lies Are More Flexible’?

As “Lies are more flexible” is one of two albums we have been working on for the last years we will try to finish the later one and get it out, latest early next year.  Then there is an itch in the back off my brain that wants to go back to sampling and doing cut up beats, tapping in to one of my favourite years in music, 1993.

Stream album here…