Björk enjoyed international success with the Icelandic post-punk band before they disbanded in 1992 and she went on to release her first solo album ‘Debut’ in 1993. That album’s lead single ‘Human Behaviour’ started life when she wrote the melody in her younger years, and later brought it to sessions with The Sugarcubes.
Speaking to Uncut for a wider cover interview with Björk for their November issue, Baldursson recalled his years of working with the artist – having first witnessed her performing with punk band Tappi Tíkarrass in 1981.
— Uncut Magazine (@uncutmagazine) September 15, 2022
“Björk was just 16, but even in soundcheck, it was pure performance,” he said. “Just so much raw power. Seeing her sing on stage for the first time, taking you by surprise – that’s something you don’t forget easily, even though you work with a person for years.”
Going on to explain how The Sugarcubes worked as a unit, he said: “You couldn’t really bring finished songs to rehearsal. You could bring ideas and then we would work from them, feed off each other’s ideas and jam it out and mould these things like clay. But it was becoming quite obvious to us all that she needed another outlet for her ideas and creativity.
“I remember she brought an early version of ‘Human Behaviour’ for us to work on, but it never quite worked with The Sugarcubes.”
On watching Björk’s solo career develop from there, Baldursson explained: “I love hearing how she constantly tries to break new ground and she’s always doing experiments. That’s to a large extent what it’s all about for her: music as a way to explore things.
Baldursson also discussed how the global success of the band’s 1987 single ‘Birthday’ was totally unexpected. “I was surprised when ‘Birthday’ was a hit, for sure,” he admitted. “The song just sprang out of the woodwork, fully formed. We were working on this strange loopy groove, and Björk started singing the melody and it just took off.
“It felt like it jumped out of the aether – it was magic, absolutely. But I’m not sure we thought it would be a hit. We were still punks – we didn’t have that mindset.
Order the November issue of Uncut here.
She also recently launched the podcast series Sonic Symbolism – detailing the journey behind each of her albums as a solo artist.