Of Monsters and Men

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Of Monsters and Men
Of Monsters And Men.jpg
Of Monsters and Men playing in New York City on 5 April 2012
Background information
Origin Garður/Garðabær, Iceland
Genres Indie pop, indie folk, indie rock
Years active 2010–present
Labels Record Records, Universal Republic, Republic[1]
Website www.ofmonstersandmen.com
Members Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir
Ragnar Þórhallsson
Brynjar Leifsson
Kristján Páll Kristjánsson
Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson
Past members Árni Guðjónsson

Of Monsters and Men is a five member, English-language,[2] indie folk-pop band from Iceland, formed in 2010. The members are lead singer/guitarist Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, co-singer-guitarist Ragnar "Raggi" Þórhallsson, guitarist Brynjar Leifsson, drummer Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson and bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson.[3][4] The band won the Músíktilraunir in 2010, an annual battle of the bands competition in Iceland.[5] In 2011, Of Monsters and Men released an EP titled Into the Woods. The band's 2011 debut album My Head Is an Animal, reached the No.1 position in Australia, Iceland, Ireland and the U.S. Rock and Alternative Charts, while peaking at No. 6 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart, No. 3 in the UK, and Top 20 of most European charts and Canada. Its lead single "Little Talks" was an international success, reaching the Top 10 in most music charts in Europe, including No. 1 in Ireland and Iceland, and No. 1 on U.S. Alternative Songs.

Of Monsters and Men won the 2013 European Border Breakers Awards.


Formation and early work (2009–2010)[edit]

The band's origins began in 2009 when Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir decided to add to her solo project, Songbird. Of Monsters and Men entered 2010's Músíktilraunir as a quartet with members Nanna (co-lead vocals, guitar), Raggi (co-lead vocals, guitar, melodica, glockenspiel), Brynjar (guitar, melodica, backing vocals), and Arnar (drums, percussion, melodica, glockenspiel, accordion, backing vocals). Raggi came up with the band name, Of Monsters and Men, and everyone else liked it, so it stuck.[6]

Following Músiktilraunir, the quartet added two more members, Árni (accordion/keys, backing vocals) and Kristján (bass, backing vocals), and continued to tour venues in Iceland and work on new songs.[7] They were invited to perform at the 2010 Iceland Airwaves festival, and it is there that the Seattle-based radio station KEXP recorded the band performing "Little Talks" from a living room session.[8]

My Head Is an Animal (2011–present)[edit]

Of Monsters and Men performing in October, 2011.

The band signed with Record Records in February 2011 for the release of their debut album in Iceland.[9] In March 2011 they went to Studio Sýrland in Reykjavík to record their debut album. In August 2011, Philadelphia's Radio 104.5 began playing "Little Talks" and propelled the band to nationwide popularity.[10] Their debut album My Head Is an Animal was released in Iceland in September 2011 with both it and "Little Talks" hitting No. 1.[3]

With success in Iceland and growing popularity in the United States, the band signed with Universal for a worldwide release of their debut album.[11] The band released its Into the Woods EP on 20 December 2011, which features four songs from their debut album, and later released My Head Is an Animal in the United States on 3 April 2012.[12]

The band performed at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island, on July 29, 2012, Osheaga Festival in Montreal on August 3, 2012, and then at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 5, 2012. They have toured in several European countries including Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Sweden.[13] Of Monsters and Men also appeared October 5, 2012, on the new PBS music show Sound Tracks: Music Without Borders, performing "Mountain Sound".[14] Later Árni Guðjónsson left the band to go back to school.

Trumpeter, Ragnhildur Gunnarsdóttir, joined in the 2012 tour, and is simply a session player. The band has not commented on interest to eventually bring her into the band.[15]

The band performed "Little Talks" and "Mountain Sound" on Saturday Night Live on May 4, 2013.[16]

The band performed in the 1st Annual Boston Calling Music Festival on May 26, 2013.[17]

The band played T in the Park in July 2013, the biggest music festival in Scotland. They performed on both Lollapalooza Brazil and Chile. They also performed at Coachella, on April 12 and 19, 2013. On January 26, 2013, "Little Talks" was voted into the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2012 at number two, a prestigious musical honour in Australia. They appeared at Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, in June 2013 and played at The Other Stage at Glastonbury Festival in that same month. In July 14, 2013, the band performed in Optimus Alive! festival, in Lisbon, Portugal, one of the most popular festivals in Europe.

Their song "Dirty Paws", from which the title of the album originated, was featured in a trailer for the 2013 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and the iPhone 5 introduction video released in September 2012.[18] They contributed the track "Silhouettes" to the The Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack.

Future Projects[edit]

The band has confirmed that they are working on a new album, as of August 2013.[19] In an interview published on May 6, 2014, Nanna could confirm that the album was on the way, but that the band had not decided on a release date yet.

Band members[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
BEL (Fla)
BEL (Wal)
My Head Is an Animal 1 17 14 45 4 4 1 5 4 6 3
Live from Vatnagarðar
  • Released: December 10, 2013
  • Label: Republic Records
  • Format: Digital download

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions

Into the Woods EP 108 18


Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
BEL (Fla)

"Little Talks" 2011 1 7 9 3 55 5 3 1 4 12 20 1 My Head Is an Animal
"Dirty Paws" 2012 10 35 19
"Mountain Sound" 26 53 69 28 22 66 103 2
"King and Lionheart" 2013 1 17
"—" denotes singles that were not released, or did not chart.


Year Organization Nominated Work Award Result
2012 MTV Video Music Awards "Little Talks" Best Art Direction Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Of Monsters and Men Best Push Act Nominated
2013 ECHO Awards My Head Is an Animal Best International Newcomer Nominated
Best International Rock/Pop Group Nominated
Juno Awards "Little Talks" Video of the Year Nominated
Billboard Music Awards My Head Is an Animal Top Rock Album Nominated


  1. ^ "Republic Records". Republic Records. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  2. ^ "PBS Arts: Of Monsters and Men - 'Little Talks'". PBS Arts. 2011. Retrieved April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Of Monsters and Men Facebook Page". Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  4. ^ "Of Monsters and Men in exultant Philadelphia debut". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Músíktilraunir – English". Musiktilraunir.is. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Chan, Tracie (1 March 2012). "An Interview with Of Monsters and Men: On Monsters, Jugglers, & Their First US Tour". Austinist. Retrieved 13 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Of Monsters and Men: Iceland's Folk-Pop Stars". Paste Magazine. Sep 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks; KEXP". KEXP. 16 Oct 2010. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Of Monsters and Men Sign with Record Records". Record Records. 3 Feb 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Best New Releases, April 3rd, Vol. I – Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, Max and the Moon, Lux, Black Mountain, Twin Steps | Best new indie rock music songs, albums, bands, artists and festivals". Indierockcafe.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  11. ^ "Universal Signs Icelandic Band Of Monsters and Men". Iceland Review. 23 Oct 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Friday on My Mind: KEXP’s Most Viewed In-Studio Sessions". KEXP. 9 March 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Nanna (nannabh89) on Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  14. ^ "Of Monsters and Men: Global Hit | Sound Tracks". PBS. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  15. ^ "Twitter / nannabh89: @DarkeningAbyss Ragga is a". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  16. ^ Wete, Brad (5 May 2013). "Of Monsters and Men Perform 'Little Talks' and 'Mountain Sound' on 'SNL'". Billboard.com. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  17. ^ "Home » Boston Calling Music Festival". Bostoncalling.com#. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  18. ^ "Apple - Introducing iPhone 5". Apple Inc. on YouTube. Retrieved October 11, 2013. 
  19. ^ http://www.gigwise.com/news/82835/of-monsters-&-men-to-start-new-album-in-august
  20. ^ a b "ARIA Albums Charts". ARIA. 
  21. ^ a b "Of Monsters And Men - Austrian Charts". austriancharts.at/ Hung Medien. 
  22. ^ a b "Of Monsters And Men - Belgium (Flanders) Charts". ultratop.be/nl/ Hung Medien. 
  23. ^ "Of Monsters And Men - Belgium (Wallonia) Charts". ultratop.be/fr/ Hung Medien. 
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  25. ^ a b "Of Monsters And Men - German Charts". charts.de/ Hung Medien. 
  26. ^ "Top 100 Individual Artist Albums - Week ending 30th August 2012". Irish Recorded Music Association. Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "Of Monsters And Men - Dutch Charts". dutchcharts.nl/ Hung Medien. 
  28. ^ a b "Of Monsters And Men - New Zealand Charts". charts.org.nz/ Hung Medien. 
  29. ^ a b "Of Monsters and Men - UK Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  30. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2013 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  31. ^ a b "Of Monsters and Men: Spring Tour, Platinum Single and More". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  32. ^ "Bundesverband Musikindustrie: Gold-/Platin-Datenbank". Musikindustrie.de. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
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  34. ^ "American certifications – Of Monsters and Men". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 15, 2014. 
  35. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart – 2 May 2013". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 
  36. ^ Peak positions for singles in Iceland:
  37. ^ "Italy Charts: Top Digital Download". Federation of the Italian Music Industry. fimi.it. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Of Monsters And Men - Irish Charts". irish-charts.com/ Hung Medien. 
  39. ^ "Australian Charts". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  40. ^ "Certifications in Germany". 17 August 2012. 
  41. ^ "Italy Certifications". Federation of the Italian Music Industry. fimi.it. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Canadian digital download certifications – Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks". Music Canada. 
  43. ^ "Week Ending Oct. 21, 2012. Songs: Rihanna Ties Whitney". Recording Industry Association of America. music.yahoo.com. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  44. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart – 24 March 2013". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved April 29, 2013. 
  45. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles Chart| Australia's Official Top 50 Songs". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  46. ^ "Canadian digital download certifications – Of Monsters and Men – Mountain Sound". Music Canada. 
  47. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart – 28 April 2013". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved April 29, 2013.