LaFontaine was playing a DJ set at a school party, when he had a chance encounter with Icelandic electronic music artist Addi Exos.
Exos saw his potential and entered LaFontaine into his first-ever DJ competition, in which he placed second. Since then, LaFontaine has developed as a DJ and music producer in Iceland and played festivals like Iceland Airwaves and Secret Solstice. Later this month, LaFontaine will play Sónar Reykjavík in Harpa alongside popular electronic music artists like Skrillex, Paul Kalkbrenner, Nina Kraviz and SBTRKT.
His road as a musician has been winding, and full of exploration and experimentation. He’s produced music under several alter egos including MTHMPHTMN and He is she, though he now focusing his efforts entirely as LaFontaine.
In 2012, when he got more serious about his music, LaFontaine started organizing club nights at Faktorý with good friend and collaborator Alexander Ágústsson. Shortly after, they started Rafarta Records together, which released its seventh album on February 10.
I sat down with LaFontaine and learned about his take on the electronic music scene in Iceland, what we can expect at his live set at Sónar, the upcoming release of his newest album, and the details about his serendipitous encounter with Addi Exos.
Scott: What is your general opinion about the electronic music scene in Iceland?
LaFontaine: It’s easy to work with everyone and there is a really supportive environment here. People aren’t tearing each other down. Everyone wants you to get better. The community is really small and I met almost everyone in the scene my first year. Everyone wants to collaborate with each other, and the music is constantly evolving too. A few years ago techno was really big but now house is more popular. I could never play the same techno I did three years ago in a club today.
Scott: And what’s this about you maybe collaborating with fellow Icelandic electronic musician Futuregrapher?
LaFontaine: When tourists come for Iceland Airwaves, people always know of Futuregrapher. He’s made great electronic music for a long time. He just recently asked me if I wanted to make music with him. I was stoked because when Futuregrapher asks you to make music with him, you know you’re doing something right.
Scott: And when you get to play at Sónar you know you’re doing something right too
LaFontaine: [laughing] That’s true. I’m so stoked to play Sónar. I think it’s going to be really good for me. Press is coming from all over the world and that will help me share my music.
Scott: Tell us what people can expect from your Sónar set.
LaFontaine: I have done a lot of DJing but what’s interesting about my Sónar performance is I’m doing a live set. People are going to be able to come to the show and feel heavy bass and the sound will be very ambience and dance-like. A friend will be performing with me, helping with synths and atmosphere. You will want to close your eyes, lay on the floor and feel the music.
Scott: Since entering the electronic music scene in 2012, you’ve been on a wild ride. Share a bit of that journey with us. How did you get to where you are now?
LaFontaine: When I went to high school I met a girl randomly and she asked me to DJ this school pre-party. She said I could play whatever I wanted in the first hours before people started to get drunk and request Rihanna and stuff like that. So I started playing (Polish music producer) Robert Babicz and then all of a sudden Addi Exos (popular Icelandic electronic music artist), who was the brother of the girl holding the party, walks in with a DJ mixer for me and hears the song I was playing. He liked that I was playing Babicz and told me some stories about the musician. After that, Addi contacted me on Facebook and told me he entered me into a DJ competition without me knowing it.
Scott: How did the DJ competition go?
LaFontaine: I never played in a competition before so I called my uncle Guðlaugur (from the band Fufanu), and he taught me how to play on turntables. I ended up in second place. Addi got me a gig on the main stage at NASA after that.
Scott: Wow, that´s a sweet gig to land. And sometime after that is when you met Alex, your good friend and collaborator at Rafarta Records?
LaFontaine: Yeah, we noticed that we were listening to the same type of techno, so we started with some ideas on how we could work together. We started doing these club nights back in 2012 at Faktorý. And then we started Rafarta and released music. Alex is the reason why my first EP was released; he hooked me up with a label he also released with. We are really good friends. Since then I’ve been working a lot on my own stuff.
Scott: What are you working on right now?
LaFontaine: Well I can’t share too much about it, but I am releasing a record soon. I am taking a lot of time to put something out that reflects the kind of music for which I want people to know LaFontaine. I’m working on it with people like Áslaug from Samaris, Krummi from Mínus and Legend, Krákan from Shades of Reykjavík (which LaFontaine is also a member of), and the duo Fufanu.
Scott: What will you do after Sónar?
LaFontaine: I´m going to play a few other festivals like Saga Fest, Secret Solstice and hopefully Airwaves again. I really want to play abroad because I’ve never done that before, especially in Berlin and New York. I want to continue working on my music, make this my living and tour the world. For me, I’m making music because I think it’s fun and people seem to enjoy it. It just feels really normal for me.