“…what fascinates me about this drag/trans-thing are all the heterosexual men that feel the need to dress up in women’s clothes”
– Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson
Sex operations, drag shows and bank robberies. The brand new music video from Retro Stefson, one of Iceland’s most popular bands, is everything but conventional. Gayiceland.is sat down with bandmembers and brothers Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson and Haraldur Ari Stefánsson and found out how they felt about stepping into high heels for the first time and why it’s not an issue for them to be labelled gay.
Your music video was made for the song She said, which can be found on your third album Retro Stefson. Lets begin with you telling us a little bit about the song itself.
U(nnsteinn): The song is about a woman and her sexual pleasure.
How did you come up with the idea for the video?
U: I had been watching Cloud Atlas with my older brother. Hugo Weaving is in it and he’s great, so I started watching more of his movies. My brother recommended Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. And then I knew I wanted to have drag in the video but I also wanted burglars. Then I showed my idea to the cinematographer Hákon Pálsson. He contacted the director, Einar Baldvin who re-wrote everything and a week later we were shooting. Very fun process.
Have you been in drag before?
H(araldur): I have done it once before, my girlfriend had a drag assessment in make-up school and I was the victim.
U: First time for me.
What was the feeling like?
H: The feeling was great, from the moment you put the make up on, the characteristics of the queen came up.
U: At first it was fun, then it was painful but still fun.
What about performing like that in front of a group of people?
U: We are performers anyway but it was actually tricky to have to do dance moves as well. But the audience was composed of people we know so that was nice.
H: Performing in front of people is an amazing feeling, especially if the performance goes well.
How did you prepare yourselves?
H: We got instructions from pro drag queens, to shave all body hairs, in a specific way.
U: You prepare with coconut oil in the face one hour before you shave. And if you look at drag-queens when they are off duty, you can see that most of them have perfect facial hair.
Was it easy to find dresses in right sizes?
U: In the end we made them fit 🙂
Is it as hard to walk in high heels as the ladies say?
H: Its very difficult. I don´t understand why girls torture themselves for a whole night to wear them, I had to take pauses.
Where you never afraid of being labelled gay?
H: No why would we be afraid of being labelled that?
U: We don’t really care. But one thing I knew people would misunderstand is this gay thing. Because what fascinates me about this drag/trans-thing are all the heterosexual men that feel the need to dress up in women’s clothes. The sexual orientation of the characters in the video is really a small issue, the real issue is the trans part.
What about getting a negative reaction from the LGBT society?
U: I’m not afraid of that no, we’re celebrating a true LGBT form of entertainment.
H: No, but we can´t control how people react to our work. It´s up to them.
The ending has raised a lot of eyebrows. Unnsteinn, you are being examined by a doctor, in a situation you might expect at a gynaecologist. Could you shed some light on it?
U: I’m having a sex change operation. That’s why we robbed the money.
Apart from Iceland, where is best to reach the song and album?
The album is out in Europe, and also online. I recommend people check out our website www.retrostefson.com.
Any final words?