Heima : The 2006 Sigur Ros Tour Around Iceland


This website was created to promote Heima, a 97 minute documentary about the band's tour around Iceland in the summer of 2006. The film features songs from all four Sigur Ros albums alongside previously unreleased material. It also included a double DVD set.
Heima is a unique record of that tour, filmed in 16 locations across the island, taking in the biggest and smallest shows of the band's career

Content is from the site's archived pages as well as from other relevant sources.

For more information go to: https://sigur-ros.co.uk/band/disco/heima.php

 

 

Heima : An introduction

Last year, in the endless magic hour of the Icelandic summer, Sigur Ros played a series of concerts around their homeland. Combining both the biggest and smallest shows of their career, the entire tour was filmed, and now provides a unique insight into one of the world’s shyest and least understood bands captured live in their natural habitat.

The culmination of more than a year spent promoting their hugely successful ‘Takk…’ album around the world, the Icelandic tour was free to all-comers and went largely unannounced. Playing in deserted fish factories, outsider art follies, far-flung community halls, sylvan fields, darkened caves and the hoofprint of Odin’s horse, Sleipnir*, the band reached an entirely new spectrum of the Icelandic population; young and old, ardent and merely quizzical, entirely by word-of-mouth.

The question of the way Sigur Ros’s music relates to, and is influenced by, their environment has been reduced to a journalistic cliché about glacial majesty and fire and ice, but there is no doubt that the band are inextricably linked to the land in which they were forged. And the decision to film this first-ever Sigur Ros film in Iceland was, in the end, ineluctable.

Shot using a largely Icelandic crew (to minimise Eurovision-style scenic-wonder overload), ‘Heima’ - which means both “at home” and “homeland” - is an attempt to make a film every bit as big, beautiful and unfettered as a Sigur Ros album. As such it was always going to be something of a grand folie, but one, which taking in no fewer than 15 locations around Iceland (including the country’s largest ever concert at the band’s Reykjavik homecoming), is never less than epic in its ambition.

Material from all four of the band’s albums is featured, including many rare and notable moments. Among these are a heart-stopping rendition of the previously unreleased ‘Gitardjamm’, filmed inside a derelict herring oil tank in the far West Fjords; a windblown, one-mic recording of ‘Vaka’, shot at a dam protest camp subsequently drowned by rising water; and first time acoustic versions of such rare live beauties as ‘Staralfur’, ‘Agaetis Byrjun’ and ‘Von’.

Heima is the first chance to see Sigur Ros live on DVD. November 5, 2007.

* The huge horseshoe canyon at Asbyrgi was, according to legend, formed by the hoofprint of this mythical beast.

 



Sigur Ros Heima Film Trailer

 

 

Sigur Ros break their two-year silence to release their first-ever film and a companion album later this autumn. Filmed over two weeks last summer when the band undertook a free tour of Iceland, 'Heima' stands as a colossal labour of love - not to say grand folly - typical of this most exacting of bands. While most people set up a few cameras at, say, a festival, and call it a DVD, Sigur Ros decided they would push the boat (bus and plane) out for their debut venture into live film, hauling 40-plus people round 15 locations to the furthest flung corners of their homeland to create something, well, inspirational.

On their way they went to ghost towns, outsider art shrines, national parks, small community halls and the absolute middle-of-nowhere-ness of the highland wilderness, as well as playing the largest gig of their career (and in Icelandic history) at their triumphant homecoming Reykjavik show. 'Heima' (Icelandic for "at home" or "homeland"), truly, shows Sigur Ros as never before.

Whereas seeing the group live is normally a large-scale and sometimes overwhelming experience, making full use of lights and mesmeric visuals, 'Heima' was always intended to reveal more of what was actually going on on stage. It does this via long-held close-ups and a rare intimate proximity, without ever once breaking the spell.

Loosely based on a documentary format - and including personal reflections from the band - 'Heima' also serves as an alternative primer for Iceland the country, which is revealed as less stag destination-du-jour and more desolate, magical place where human beings have little right to trespass.

'Heima' features performances of songs from all four Sigur Ros albums, many radically reworked, as well as two exclusive new songs in 'Guitardjamm', which was filmed inside an abandoned herring oil tank in the far West of the country, and the traditional 'A Ferd Til Breidarfjardar 1922', performed with poet Steindor Andersen.

'Heima' was directed by Dean DeBlois, a long-time fan of the band and director of the Oscar-nominated animated feature 'Lilo & Stitch', using an Icelandic crew.

'Hvarf-Heim', the companion record, is more cousin than sister release. It has two titles because it is in effect two separate, but complementary, entities, with -- get this -- two front covers and a limited edition run of two discs. Open it one way and it's 'Hvarf' ("disappeared" orr "haven", a five track electric studio record comprising mainly unreleased rarities from Sigur Ros's back-pages, none of which is on 'Heima'. Open it the other way and it's 'Heim' ("home"), a six track acoustic record, comprising delicate new unplugged versions of some of Sigur Ros's best moments, which have never been performed before.

The band were originally asked to deliver a traditional live album to go with the live film, but thinking about it, with Sigur Ros that wasn't ever going to happen, and what we have here in 'Hvarf-Heim' is infinitely more stimulating and exciting than some will-this-do? toss-offs of songs they honed to perfection in the studio aeons ago.

'Hvarf-Heim' features three previously absolutely unreleased electric songs (Salka, Hljomalind and I Gaer) and is, anyway, wall-to-wall re-workings. Whatever way you look at it, 'Hvarf-Heim' is a great Sigur Ros record.

'Heima' received its worldwide premiere on September 27, 2007 at the Icelandic Film Festival and a run of national premieres at film festivals all around the world followed including a UK premiere. The film received a nationwide UK release in selected cinemas across the UK. On November 5th 'Heima' was released as a Special Edition double DVD package with a 104-page book containing stunning photos from the tour. It was also be released as a standard 2-DVD set. The first disc of both packages featured the 'Heima' film, with a choice of a 5.1 surround sound or pcm stereo mix, whilst the second DVD will contain the full performances of each song in the movie amongst many other extras.



 

News

 

More Heima screenings

Tue, 30 Oct 2007

Irish Film Institute. 1st, 3rd & 4th November. www.irishfilm.ie Cinema Panora, Malmo. 4th November. www.panora.nu Cinema K Suns, Riga. 14th & 15th November. Stockholm Film Festival. 21st November. www.stockholmfilmfestival.se Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. 25th November & 5th December. www.goldenhorse.org.tw Tallin Black Nights Film Festival. December, exact dates tbc. www.poff.ee Nordlichter Film Festival, Dresden. 8th & 9th December. www.filmverband-sachsen.de

 

Heim

Tue, 23 Oct 2007

The six songs that comprise 'Heim' are acoustic versions of material taken from all four Sigur Ros albums. They were recorded in Iceland either during the band’s summer 2006 tour or in spring 2007. All songs are live recordings. A couple of years back, when the idea of making the live film that would become 'Heima' was first discussed, it was agreed that there should be a live album to accompany it. When the band came to listen back to the material that had been captured on the road, however, it was stripped down acoustic renditions of songs that caught their imagination, rather than the electric versions, which always seemed inferior to the album recordings. Actually, the unplugged scenario had been pretty much imposed on the band, there being no power at some of the locations. Four of the songs here ('Vaka', 'Samskeyti', 'agætis Byrjun' and 'Heysatan') were played acoustically on the road during the summer tour, with the remaining 'Staralfur' and 'Von', being first interpreted for a protest concert against a planned road development next to the band’s studio in the artistic community of Alafoss, back in February 2007. 'Heim' means "home".

Hvarf-Heim

Tue, 23 Oct 2007

‘Hvarf-Heim’ has two titles because it is in effect two separate, but complementary, entities, with two front covers and a limited run of two discs. Open it one way and it’s ‘Hvarf’ ("disappeared" or "haven"), a five track electric studio record comprising mainly unreleased rarities from Sigur Ros’s back-pages, none of which is on ‘Heima’. Open it the other way and it’s ‘Heim’ ("home"), a six track live acoustic record, comprising delicate new unplugged versions of some of Sigur Ros’s best moments, which have never been performed before. Hvarf The five tracks that make up 'Hvarf' are new recordings of songs taken from various points in Sigur Ros’s history. Three of them have never been released on record before, either because they were not recorded in the first place, or because they were recorded and then not included on a finished album. The other songs, 'Von' and 'Hafsol' are radical reworkings of songs from the band’s first (pre-Kjartan, pre-Orri) album. 'Hvarf' (say "kvarf") means "disappeared", which is what almost happened to this material… On the other hand, it also means "haven", which links it into 'Heim'...

Hljomalind / Staralfur

Tue, 23 Oct 2007

This limited 7" vinyl / download single, is released in October ahead of the 'Hvarf-Heim' album from which both tracks are taken. 'Hljomalind' was originally known as ‘Rokklagio’ (‘The Rock Song’) until the band had to come up with a proper title for this release. The song has taken on some sort of legendary status among Sigur Ros fans, maybe the NME review goes some way towards explaining why: "There is no argument. Sigur Ros make the greatest atmospheric music ever. 'Hljomalind' is a deeply emotional track that soars into the sky...". ‘Staralfur’ is one of those Sigur Ros songs that everyone just loves, but for the longest time they didn’t play live, so to hear it played at all is something special, but to hear it played acoustically is something that only very few people have had the pleasure of - until now. This recording was made live on the floor of the band’s studio for the 'Heima' film.

Heima

Tue, 23 Oct 2007

In 2006, having toured the world over, Sigur Ro³s returned home to play a series of free, unannounced concerts in Iceland. Heima is a unique record of that tour filmed in 16 locations across the island, taking in the biggest and smallest shows of the band's career. 'Heima' is a 97 minute documentary feature film including songs from all four Sigur Ro³s albums alongside previously unreleased material and, on disc two of the DVD release, a brand new song, also titled 'Heima'. Here's the track-list for disc two of the Heima DVD, as it runs if you use the "play all" function on your dvd remote (which is also in chronological order). 01. Glo³so³li 02. Memories of Melodies 03. Heyso¡tan 04. So© Lest 05. Go­tardjamm 06. Olsen Olsen 07. Popplagio° 08. Po¡ll o¡ Hoºsafelli 09. Surtshellir 10. Sko³gar 11. ogo¦tis Byrjun 12. Kvo¦o°amannafo©lagio° Io°unn 13. ožorrablo³t 14. o fero° til Breio°afjaro°ar Vorio° 1922 15. Vaka (Snaefell) 16. Dauo°alagio° 17. Hoppo­polla / Meo° Blo³o°nasir 18. Staro¡lfur 19. Vaka (Alafoss) 20. Heima 21. Von 22. Samskeyti 23. Tour Diary

 



 

Heima

In 2006, having toured the world over, Sigur Ros returned home to play a series of free, unannounced concerts in Iceland. ‘Heima’ is a unique record of that tour filmed in 16 locations across the island, taking in the biggest and smallest shows of the band's career.

‘Heima’ is a 97 minute documentary feature film featuring songs from all four Sigur Ros albums alongside previously unreleased material and, on disc two of the DVD release, a brand new song, also titled ‘Heima’.

Heim

The six songs that make up 'Heim' are acoustic versions of material taken from all four Sigur Ros’s albums. They were recorded in Iceland either during the band’s summer 2006 tour or in spring 2007. All songs are live recordings.

A couple of years back, when the idea of making the live film that would become ‘Heima’ was first discussed, it was agreed that there should be a live album to accompany it. When the band came to listen back to the material that had been captured on the road, however, it was stripped down acoustic renditions of songs that caught their imagination, rather than the electric versions, which always seemed inferior to the album recordings.

Actually, the unplugged scenario had been pretty much imposed on the band, there being no power at some of the locations. Four of the songs here ('Vaka', 'Samskeyti', 'agætis Byrjun' and 'Heysatan') were played acoustically on the road during the summer tour, with the remaining 'Staralfur' and 'Von', being first interpreted for a protest concert against a planned road development next to the band’s studio in the artistic community of Alafoss, back in February 2007.

'Heim' means "home".

Hvarf-Heim

‘Hvarf-Heim’ has two titles because it is in effect two separate, but complementary, entities, with two front covers and a limited run of two discs. Open it one way and it’s ‘Hvarf’ ("disappeared" or "haven"), a five track electric studio record comprising mainly unreleased rarities from Sigur Ros’s back-pages, none of which is on ‘Heima’. Open it the other way and it’s ‘Heim’ ("home"), a six track live acoustic record, comprising delicate new unplugged versions of some of Sigur Ros’s best moments, which have never been performed before.

Hvarf

The five tracks that make up 'Hvarf' are new recordings of songs taken from various points in Sigur Ros’s history. Three of them have never been released on record before, either because they were not recorded in the first place, or because they were recorded and then not included on a finished album. The other songs, 'Von' and 'Hafsol' are radical reworkings of songs from the band’s first (pre-Kjartan, pre-Orri) album.

'Hvarf' (say "kvarf") means "disappeared", which is what almost happened to this material… On the other hand, it also means "haven", which links it into 'Heim'...

malind / Staralfur

This limited 7" vinyl / download single, is released in October ahead of the ‘Hvarf-Heim’ album from which both tracks are taken.

‘Hljomalind‘, originally known as ‘Rokklagiô’ (‘The Rock Song’) until the band had to come up with a proper title for this release, has taken on some sort of legendary status among Sigur Ros fans, maybe the NME review goes some way towards explaining why: "There is no argument. Sigur Ros make the greatest atmospheric music ever. ‘Hljomalind‘ is a deeply emotional track that soars into the sky...".

‘Staralfur’ is one of those Sigur Ros songs that everyone just loves, but for the longest time they didn’t play live. To hear it played at all is something special. To hear it played acoustically is something that only very few people have had the pleasure of - until now. This recording was made live on the floor of the band’s studio for the ‘Heima‘ film.

Sigur Ros

Heima

 



 

Production Notes

 

It’s strange to say now, but when we first thought about making a film of Sigur Ros we didn’t immediately consider Iceland. The band hadn’t toured the country this century, and the crowds in, say, Portugal were so very excitable that our minds were initially elsewhere. At some point, however, Kjartan mentioned that he’d had always had a notion that they should play a show in the National Park at Asbyrgi in the far north of Iceland, and we latched upon this as a sign.

 

So, three years ago, in the middle of 2004, we made a reconnaissance trip to this strange canyon just shy of the Arctic Circle, to check Midsummer Day light levels and think about how we might stage such an event. In the end, we decided the midnight sun would be too bright for a film incorporating the band’s onstage lights and visuals, and the shoot was conceptually pushed back a few weeks to late July, to allow for some dark to creep into proceedings, but hopefully not so far as to make it too cold to play outdoors at night.

 

We couldn’t shoot the following summer because the ‘Takk…’ album was about to come out and the band’s calendar was full of artwork deadlines and the like, and anyway they hadn’t played live for ages and would be too rusty to film. So instead we settled on the very end of the touring period, a whole year later, in the summer of 2006.

 

Slowly the idea mushroomed. Seasoned Icelandic all-rounder, Kari Sturluson came in on the creative and logistical side, and gradually more locations were added - inevitably including a hometown show in Reykjavik - til we had a full tour of the island in our sights. Since certain shows had to be free for practical reasons, it was decided to make every stop on the tour free, and for Sigur Ros to roll into town with something like their full production, regardless of local facilities (or lack thereof) and the sheer expense and folly of the exercise. Only two of the shows, Reykjavik and Oxnadalur were publically announced, with the other smaller community hall show and Asbyrgi relying purely on word-of-mouth.

 

In the event, the open-door policy worked amazingly well, with people of all ages, who would never have normally bought a ticket for a Sigur Ros show, just coming along to check it out. As the tour went round it gained a semi-mythical status, with the biggest national daily, Morgunbladid, saying in an editorial that this was some kind of gift that was joining the nation together at an important time.

 

We stopped at many amazing places on the two-week jaunt around the country, some with audiences and some without. A disused herring factory at Djupavik, with its strange circular fish-oil tanks in which Jonsi sang ‘Gitardjamm’; a lonely protest camp against the building of a dam in the pristine wilderness; a traditional “Thorrablot” meal with an audience of pagans, among them.

 

Although the band wanted a visual record of the live show with which they had just toured the world, we also wanted to deliver a different kind of experience of watching Sigur Ros than you get in a gig venue. Many people watch Sigur Ros with their eyes closed (sic) and enjoy the show as an overall experience. What we wanted was to move the camera in much closer and reveal what was actually going on on stage.

 

We watched a lot of rock (and non-rock) films in trying to work out what we did and didn’t want to do in making what turned out to be ‘Heima’. We liked ‘Jazz On A Summer’s Day’, ‘Pink Floyd Live In Pompeii’ and ‘Walkabout’. We didn’t like ‘Travis Live At T In the Park’. Both ‘Pompeii’ and ‘Jazz…’ had amazing close-up photography that felt almost invasively intimate, the cutting was minimal and any camera motion – and there was little - was at snail’s pace. All these things were great. Plus ‘Jazz…’ also made amazing use of the audience at the 1958 Newport Festival.

 

From Nic Roeg’s debut ’Walkabout’ we saw a way of making an ostensibly beautiful environment look annihilatingly huge, a place where humans really had little right to be, which is how Iceland had always seemed to us on our way round. In order to do this, we put aside any ideas of using American or European directors (we’d talked to a few), who might find the clichéd lures of volcanoes, geysers and the Blue Lagoon too irresistible, and went instead for an all-Icelandic crew, collected around local producer and man-who-can, Finni Johansson.

 

We filmed eight shows, ranging from the smallest (Snaefell protest camp - incidentally the first time the band had ever played acoustically anywhere) to the biggest shows of the band’s career (Reykjavik was the largest show ever in Iceland with around 25,000 people), in addition to filming a bunch of locations without audiences.

 

Denni Karlsson, the director of the summer filming, started the editing process in the early autumn, but the initial results fell somewhat short of the grand expectations we had had in trying to follow the footsteps of some of the most enduring music films ever made.

 

We played around with the footage for months, trying to get a proper film out of it, before admitting that what we had was a bunch of pretty performances without much of a narrative thread to hold it together. Meanwhile, on a parallel track, we were talking to a guy called Dean DeBlois, a Canada-by-way-of-Hollywood dude, who’d written and directed ‘Lilo & Stitch’, and was asking us if we might want to get involved with a forthcoming animation feature.

 

We’d met Dean the previous autumn at our Hollywood Bowl show and knew he was a keen fan of the band. So we didn’t feel too bad asking him for some advice with how to progress a movie that’s hitting the creative buffers. We knew he’d been Head of Story at Disney and figured he might be able to give us some pointers. We sent him the 120 hours of footage we’d shot in the summer and he spent a weekend staring at a computer screen.

 

He also read the Tour Diary written at the time of the tour on the band’s fan-site, and for the first time worked out what exactly we’d been trying to accomplish all along. The next week he came back with what he thought we needed and said he’d be up for helping us get it.

 

So, in the spring of 2007, Dean wound up in Iceland to shoot another substantial tranche of live footage with the intimacy brief to the fore, as well as environmental colour, sub-textural links and, crucially, the face-to-face interviews with the band, which – despite the fact that the band were uncomfortable with talking to camera - he felt would provide the glue to hold the whole thing together. He also came up with a title, ‘Heima’, which instantly seemed better than our, then sadly accurate, ‘Lost In The Lava’.

 

Finally, we found English editor Nick Fenton, who was suggested by a mutual friend who had wanted use him for a Joy Division doc, but had graciously allowed us to “borrow” instead. Thankfully, Nick decided not to watch our blind alley edits and, looking at the work with fresh eyes, immediately found layers and connections that brought a new weight and power to the film.

 

Between them, Nick and Dean provided the final missing pieces of this jigsaw project, producing a honed and impressive end result from what were pretty disparate elements. Dean’s undoubtedly commercial eye and Nick’s more experimental leanings seemed to hold each other in some kind of dynamic tension, lifting the film further and higher than we could have hoped or, at times, expected.

 

‘Heima’ was filmed on Hi Definition entirely on location in Iceland and mixed in Dolby 5.1. It was off-lined in London through June and July, and then finished in Los Angeles in August 2007. All the music was recorded live on the road with absolutely no overdubs by Birgir Jon Birgisson, who is the engineer at Sigur Ros’s studio in Alafoss, and Ken Thomas, co-producer of ‘Agaetis Byrjun’, ‘( )’ and ‘Takk…’

 

John Best, Manager Sigur Ros. 15th Sept 2007.

 

 

HeimaFilm.com