Interview Une Misère – “Finding beauty in misery is necessary to cope”

Une Misère, Iceland’s up and coming blackened hardcore wunderkind, has come under my attention ever since they released their first single ‘Overlooked/Disregarded’ back in 2016. Their evolution over the past three years has been riveting as track after track came out, yet unfortunately without even a hint at a likely EP. A few months ago however Une Misère at long last announced what we all were eagerly awaiting: their first full-length. It won’t be long until you can get your hands on ‘Sermon’ which releases November 1st on Nuclear Blast. In the meantime I’ve had a little chat with vocalist Jón Már Ásbjörnsson who, it seems, is as eager for ‘Sermon’ to come out as we are.

GRIMM: Did you all have some form of musical experience before Une Misère?

Yeah, we all came from bands within the same scene. In the Icelandic heavy music scene, you either play black metal or you play anything else. *laughs* We fell into the latter category. Since we all came from different backgrounds playing in grindcore, powerviolence, or regular hardcore bands, one day we got together and decided it would be fun to create music as long-time friends. So here we are.

We have to keep strong, and if we have to ask for help along the way to make it through, then that’s what we have to do.

GRIMM: So your musical backgrounds founded the basis for the band. How do your personal experiences fit into that?

Well, as I said, we were good friends before we started Une Misère. When we figured out that it was what we wanted to do, that it was what we needed to do, that’s also when we realized we walked more common ground than we thought we did. We had all shared a fairly similar upbringing, and had been molded by the feeling of isolation and by the dark moments in our lives, and by the dark place that is Iceland. This surprised us because we’re talking about stuff we didn’t know about each other until we started this band. Every idea we came up with simply fit in part thanks to those similarities.

Before, when we were just a couple of dudes playing music, we actually called ourselves Damages. We were aiming for it to be the “heaviest band in Iceland”. But then we wrote ‘Overlooked/Disregarded’. That’s when we realized we’d really hit something, and that we had to figure out what that was and pursue it. We decided we needed a new name, a new image, the whole deal. And then further develop it. So that’s kind of how Une Misère came into being.

GRIMM: Yes, and, looking at your history, the artwork, your image, and above all listening to the music, it seems like the concept is well-developed. Just one question: why ‘Une Misère‘? Why French, man? Why not the Icelandic term for misery: ‘eymd’? Yes, I looked it up. *laughs*

*laughs* You actually said it correctly. Well, we don’t want to be just another Icelandic band. I mean, you have Auðn. you have Misþyrming. We don’t want to fall into the category where everything is only bleak and horrible and awful, because we don’t believe that. Things can be bleak, and they can be horrible and awful, but if you dig a little deeper and manage to see past what is right in front of you, you’ll realize that there’s also beauty. It’s all so beautiful. Finding that beauty in misery is necessary to cope with it.

That’s why we chose the French name. ‘Eymd’ is just a cold, bleak word in Icelandic. Whereas ‘misery’ in English isn’t loaded enough; it’s just a word. But ‘Une Misère‘ sounds beautiful. It rolls off the tongue. It tells you that whatever negative emotion you’re feeling is unwanted yet welcome at the same time. When we heard our guitarist’s roommate say it in French, we thought “oh my god, that’s the name of our band”. It warms you up despite the cold.

This interview continues on page 3.


Wim is an avid enthusiast of any form of extreme music that ranges from ridiculously profound to profoundly ridiculous.

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