A Frenchman in Iceland


Five years ago, French singer-songwriter ANTSY left palm trees for icebergs. Now settled in Reykjavik, he reflects on the state of French and Icelandic music…

Xander Brett

Antsy landed in Reykjavik six years ago, coming straight up from Hyères-les-Palmiers on the French Riviera. There’s a good music scene there, particularly when it comes to indie rock, but, as we all things in France, if you want to make it, you need to head for Paris. International bands don’t go south of Lyon (except sporadic concerts in Marseilles), and the home-grown indie rock isn’t popular. With strict language laws, it’s almost impossible to get a record deal if you sing in English. 2013 was a turning point. Antsy’s band split up, and he started a job he knew would be temporary. He was searching for what he wanted to do, and who he wanted to be. Then, that August, he went to Iceland. He and his best friend hitchhiked Route 1 (Iceland’s ring road), going from campsite to campsite. He was hooked on Iceland’s mythical beauty, and after five visits he gave up the airfares and moved there full-time.


At first, he had so much settling to do, he couldn’t think about making music. What’s more, he’d never gone solo before. But he’d moved with his acoustic guitar, his drums and some skeletons of songs (Summer Longing, his latest single, being one of them), so he bought a synthesiser and settled down. He went for the solo project and the new sound. Antsy joined the close-knit but disproportionately large Icelandic music scene. Now, he was allowed to sing in English and look outwards. There are few venues, but the festivals more than make up for it: Iceland Airwaves etc. There’s support from the Icelandic Music Export Office (Útón), keeping an Icelandic identity but proud of exporting to the world. Antsy embodies that. From France to Iceland: it’s a leap. But it could have been worse… imagine going from central Paris to the Icelandic countryside!

ANTSY is a French singer-songwriter. His latest single, Summer Longing, is out now.

This article has also been published in Nordic Style Magazine.

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