Ólafur Arnalds

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Ólafur Arnalds
Ólafur Arnalds in 2007
Ólafur Arnalds in 2007
Background information
Born (1986-11-03) 3 November 1986 (age 27)
Mosfellsbær, Iceland
Genres Neo-classical, experimental, electronica, ambient
Occupations Musician, composer, record producer
Instruments Piano, drums, guitar, banjo
Years active Early 2000s–present
Labels Erased Tapes, Mercury Classics
Website olafurarnalds.com

Ólafur Arnalds (born 3 November 1986) is a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Mosfellsbær, Iceland.[1] Ólafur Arnalds mixes strings and piano with loops and edgy beats crossing-over from ambient/electronic to pop.[1][2] Ólafur was a drummer of hardcore/metal bands Fighting Shit and Celestine, as well as others.


In 2004, Ólafur composed and recorded the intro and two outros for tracks on the album Antigone by German metal band Heaven Shall Burn. On his Facebook page he described how he got to know them: "I was playing drums in a hardcore band and we were supporting the german metal band Heaven Shall Burn on their Icelandic tour. Being a huge fan, I gave them a demo with some very overly dramatic prog-rock songs I had been making at home - it was not so classic like this but had some badly computerized strings and piano in it. A few months later they contacted me asked if I would write some intros and outros for their new album, but only with the piano/strings elements - So I wrote my first classical pieces (incl the one i posted above). Their album was a big success in Europe and a few months later I got a phone call from a label asking 'would you be interested in making a full album with compositions like this?' I hadn't really considered continuing writing music like this, but said yes."[3]

On 12 October 2007, Ólafur's first solo album Eulogy for Evolution was released. It was followed by the EP Variations of Static in 2008. In the same year, Ólafur toured with Sigur Rós. He is also reported to have sold out The Barbican Hall in London.[1][4]

In April 2009, Ólafur composed and released a track daily for seven days, instantly making each track available within 24 hours from foundsongs.erasedtapes.com. The collection of tracks was entitled Found Songs. The first track was released on 13 April.

In October 2009, the ballet Dyad 1909 premiered with a score composed by Ólafur.[4] Choreographed by Wayne McGregor and performed by Wayne McGregor Random Dance, the ballet was inspired by Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition to the South Pole in 1909.

In April 2010, Ólafur released a new album entitled ...And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness.[5][6] During 2010 Ólafur also went on a well-received Asia Tour organised by China-based promoter Split Works.

On October 3, 2011, Ólafur started another seven-day composition project similar to Found Songs, this one entitled Living Room Songs. The tracks were made available at livingroomsongs.olafurarnalds.com/ each day throughout the week. The project was released as an album on December 23, 2011.[7]

In November 2012, Ólafur Arnalds announced a new partnership with the Universal Music label Mercury Classics. The first album to be released on the label is titled For now I am Winter and announced for international release in February 2013.[8]

Also in 2012, his song Allt Varð Hljótt was used in the score and the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games.[9]

Ólafur Arnalds has been involved with various other projects and has his music appear in many films, television shows and advertisements. His songs have been featured on So You Think You Can Dance in multiple seasons.[10] He also spoke at length on the subject of fan-submitted art in the 2011 documentary film Press Pause Play.[11][12] His song "Til Enda" was used in a trailer for the 2012 film Looper.[13][14] More recently, he composed the score for the 2013 ITV series Broadchurch.[15][16]

Ólafur's cousin Ólöf Arnalds is also a well known singer/songwriter.



Year Album Peak positions Certification
2007 Eulogy for Evolution  –
2010 ...And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness 73  –
2013 For Now I Am Winter 130  –
2014 Gimme Shelter  –


Year Album Peak positions Certification
2008 Variations of Static
2009 Found Songs
2009 Dyad 1909
2011 Living Room Songs
2012 Stare (with Nils Frahm)


Year Single Peak positions Album
2007 "Eulogy for Evolution"  – Eulogy for Evolution
2010 "A Hundred Reasons"
(Ólafur Arnalds & Haukur Heiðar Hauksson)
2013 "Old Skin" 29  – For Now I Am Winter
2014 "So Close"
(feat. Arnór Dan)
54 Broadchurch OST



  1. ^ a b c "Ólafur Arnalds: Beautiful the Same way the Arctic is". Headphone Commute. 
  2. ^ Fischer, Tobias. "Interview with Olafur Arnalds II". Tokafi. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Arnalds, Olafur (1 September 2012). "Song from the past #6". Facebook. Retrieved 22 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS - Ólafur Arnalds". WeirdMusic.net. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Ólafur Arnalds. "Ólafur Arnalds' Facebook page". Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  6. ^ Dempster, Gemma. "Olafur Arnalds". Supersweet Zoo. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ólafur Arnalds - Living Room Songs". Erased Tapes. Retrieved 2011-10-05. 
  8. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (16 October 2013). "Theater, Dance, Film, Pop: Don’t Pin Him Down". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  9. ^ "Ólafur Arnalds". IMDb. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ólafur Arnalds". Mercury Classics. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "PressPausePlay - Ólafur Arnalds Interview". YouTube. 
  12. ^ "Press Pause Play Press Kit". Press Pause Play. 
  13. ^ "Ads, Trailers and Promo Placements". Nettwerk Music Group. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Grant, Sarah (20 October 2013). "Olafur Arnalds Demands Quiet, Hears Riff in Movie Score". Bloomberg. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Hale, Mike (6 August 2013). "A Murder Haunts a Rugged Coast". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  16. ^ Langlais, Pierre (17 February 2014). "Le chant de "Broadchurch"". Télérama (in French). Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  17. ^ "Ólafur Arnalds". UltraTop. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  18. ^ a b "Ólafur Arnalds". LesCharts. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 

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