Singapore Sling is an indie band from Reykjavík, Iceland.
As of July 2007 they have released three albums and a best of compilation. Singapore Sling have supported the Brian Jonestown Massacre on their North American tours and covered Dirty Water a 1966 garage rock hit by The Standells in their debut album. They have also covered The Monks’ I Hate You in the 2006 compilation Silver Monk Time: A Tribute to the Monks.
Their Neo-Psychedelia sound has often been compared by the medias to acts such as The Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Raveonettes, BRMC and Serena Maneesh. Although in a tongue-in-cheek the band’s frontman Henrik Bjornsson defines it as “a cross between Simon and Garfunkel”.
In January 2007, Singapore Sling’s frontman Henrik Baldvin Björnsson had declared the band was writing and recording a new album through his Myspace blog. They have performed new numbers during concerts in Europe in 2007.
Despite the band’s frontman Henrik Björnsson works in a bar as a bartender, the bands name doesn’t come from the Singapore Sling cocktail but from an infamous black and white B movie by Greek director Nikos Nikolaidis.
In a June 2003 interview with VRT Radio 1 (Belgium, Flanders), Henrik Björnsson stated:
“We had a first gig. It was booked and we didn’t have a name and I had been looking for a film called “Singapore Sling” for a long time. I couldn’t find it anywhere. It sounded cool, so that became the name of the band. It’s some kind of dark, perverse Greek film from 1990. I haven’t found it yet, so if you know someone who has it, please let me know. I hope it’s good. A dark perverse noir film and a guy who has sex with a corpse. And he’s called Singapore Sling.”
The movie has been described by most European and American professionals as “disturbing”, but director Nikolaidis declared he had been inspired by Greek tragedy, European film noir and Kammerspiel. Main cast includes Greek actor Panos Thanassoulis (as Singapore Sling), French actress Michèle Valley (as the mother) and American actress Meredyth Herold (as the daughter). Despite being forbidden in United Kingdom, it has been premiered in Canada in 1990 and was released in DVD in the United States in 2006.
Singapore Sling was formed in Spring of 2000 in Reykjavík, capital of Iceland with the reunion of Henrik Bjornsson (singer, songwriter, guitarist) and Einar Kristjánsson (lead guitarist). Henrik had some 8-track demos and wanted to create a band, one of these demos was Overdrive that surfaced online in the Iceland Airwaves 2001 official website and that would later become Overdriver, the opening track for the debut LP.
The band evolved to a sextet formation with changing lineups performing at Iceland Airwaves, Reykjavík’s main music festival created in 1999, before getting a record deal with the local label Hitt Records (Edda) in 2002.
The lineup was then as such:
Henrik Björnsson: vocals / guitar / keyboard
Einar Kristjánsson: lead guitar
Þorgeir Guðmundsson: bass
Helgi Örn Pétursson: guitar / keyboard
Bjarni Jóhannsson: drums
Sigurður Magnús Finnsson aka Siggi Shaker: tambourine / maracas
Recently the lineup changed, as of July 2007 current members are:
Henrik Björnsson: vocals / guitar / keyboard
Einar Kristjánsson: lead guitar
Hákon Aoalsteinsson: guitar
Bjorn Viktorsson: drums
Sigurður Magnús Finnsson aka Siggi Sniff: tambourine / maracas
Debut album (2002-2003)
Main article: The Curse of Singapore Sling
Singapore Sling released its debut album The Curse of in August 2002, then the band performed at Iceland Airwaves 2002 music festival.
The album has been licensed by New York indie label Stinky Records for a North American release in 2003. Why this record is been released in America is because a guy came here on a festival and then he let some people hear it in America explains Henrik Bjornsson. Einar Kristjansson adds “The whole idea of the Airwaves Festival is like a festival for Icelandic bands to export or be spotted. Iceland is so isolated and they have this festival. Icelandair sponsors it and they give flights and stuff like that to journalists and label people so they can come and see us. The whole festival is sponsored by Icelandair and the government to get Icelandic music to be heard outside of Iceland.”
About the record’s name Henrik Björnsson explained in a June 2003 interview: “We ran into a lot of obstacles while recording the record. We turned on the lights and the light bulbs would explode. On the first day of recording the tape machine broke down. There were just endless things like that. And then we were depressed one day and Einar checked his bank account. There was 666 krones. And the curse seemed appropriate.
The band toured the United States and Canada in summer 2003.
Second album (2004)
Main article: Life Is Killing My Rock ‘N’ Roll
Although their home label Edda left the music business and shut its branch Hitt Records, Singapore Sling released their second record Life Is Killing My Rock ‘N’ Roll in Iceland through Sheptone Records a vinyl records store where Einar works, and in the United States with an American support tour.
The track Curse, Curse, Curse has been picked up by British actors Ewan MacGregor and Charley Boorman to be featured in the 2004~2005 TV documentary series Long Way Round (LWR). Virgin released the soundtrack CD in 2004.
Third album (2005)
Main article: Taste the Blood of Singapore Sling
Sheptone Records released the third album Taste the Blood of Singapore Sling in 2005. Although it was distributed in Denmark by Reykjavik / Copenhagen based indie label 12 Tónar, it has not been licensed for the United States by Stinky Records yet.
In 2007, German label 8mm Muzik bought the rights for an European release and sold a best of anthology featuring 4 tracks for each one of the two first albums, plus two tracks taken from this third album.
Singapore Sling appeared in the 2005 feature documentary Screaming Masterpiece  which is dedicated to the Icelandic music scene.
In 2006, German label Play Loud! Music released a 2-disc tribute compilation to The Monks. Singapore Sling covered the track I Hate You. All songs were especially recorded for this project between September 2005 and May 2006, they were mastered at Faust Studio by Hans-Joachim Irmler from the Faust.
European Record Release Tour (May 2007)
Main article: The Curse, the Life, the Blood
In May 2007 German label 8mm Musik Ltd managed the European Record Release Tour in support to the release of The Curse, the Life, the Blood, the band’s anthology especially dedicated to the European market.
Touring band supporting the release was a quintet including a female bassist called Bibi. European venues were located in Germany, France, Benelux, Denmark, Austria, Italy and Czech Republic.
Fourth album (late 2007)
In May 2007, German label 8mm Muzik announced on its official website that “Singapore Sling are currently working on a new album to be released end of 2007”..
The Curse of (2002)
Life Is Killing My Rock ‘N’ Roll (2004)
Taste the Blood of (2005)
The Curse, the Life, the Blood (2007)
2002: The Curse of Singapore Sling
2004: Life Is Killing My Rock ‘N’ Roll
2005: Taste the Blood of Singapore Sling
2007: The Curse, the Life, the Blood
2006: I Hate You – 4:34 (covered from The Monks) on Silver Monk Time: A Tribute to the Monks (CD-pl-02)
2001: Overdrive (8-track) – 4:45 (demo version of Overdriver) hosted in Iceland Airwaves 2001 official website.
1. Official Myspace
2. Singapore Sling’s official myspace blog, January 23 2007
3. The Curse of Singapore Sling, Cucamonga, 6 June 2003
4. Singapore Sling (1990) profile in the IMDB
5. The Curse of Singapore Sling, Cucamonga, 6 June 2003
6. Singapore Sling profile on ED Distribution
7. The Curse of Singapore Sling, Cucamonga, 6 June 2003
8. The Curse of Singapore Sling, Cucamonga, 6 June 2003
9. The Curse of Singapore Sling, Cucamonga, 6 June 2003
10. Screaming Masterpiece overview at allmovie guide AMG
11. Silver monk time – a tribute to the monks (Play Loud! Music website)
12. 8mm Musik official website (bands)