The xx's Romy Madley Croft: my favourite places in Reykjavik

The xx recorded parts of the I See You album in Reykjavik. It was so inspiring they’re holding the Night + Day Iceland festival there in July. Here, the singer-guitarist reveals the band’s city highlights

We spent three weeks in Reykjavik in the summer of 2014, and threw ourselves into creating music at Greenhouse Studios for the I See You album. The sun never really set and we were so inspired by the incredible landscape we’d seen on our journey to the studio, the deep cultural history in the air and the intimate and communal atmosphere that is so unique to Reykjavik. These are a few of the places we loved.


Harpa Concert Hall, Reykjavik, Iceland.

This venue is actually the root of how we ended up choosing Iceland as a place to record. I first went to Iceland on a holiday with my at the time very new girlfriend, now fiancee, who suggested we go to Reykjavik to see Björk play at Harpa – and I jumped at the chance. I not only fell in love with my girlfriend but with Iceland as a place. This venue is incredible, a beautiful musical landmark designed by the ever-inspiring Olafur Eliasson. It both stands out from and complements the landscape.

Reykjavik Roasters

Turntatble and plant on a table at Reykjavik Roasters in Iceland.

The locals we met told us this place does the best coffee in town. It feels like a cosy living room, there is a record player and a lot of classics records to play … I am pretty sure they were playing a Patti Smith album when we went there, and she is my hero!


Interior of Gló, Reykjavik.

A vegetarian cafe with a daily-changing menu. We came here every single lunchtime before heading into the studio. [My bandmates] Oliver and Jamie aren’t vegetarians but they loved it, too.


View from the DJ booth, Paloma club

We loved the nightlife in Reykjavik. There is the sense that if you are craving it, a wild night is out there waiting to be found. We started one night at another cool bar next door, Hurra, before heading to Paloma for a dance where we had a fun time. It’s surreal to spend a night dancing to incredible music in a bar (which, in retrospect, can only be described as resembling a boat) to emerge outside at 4am to bright, crisp daylight. All those extra hours of daylight definitely play with your mind!

Marshal House

It’s only just opened so we haven’t been yet to this tall white building with huge glass windows in the harbour that is the new home to the Museum of Living Arts … but we hear it is amazing. We’ll visit when we are back in Iceland for the Night + Day festival.

The Night + Day Iceland festival is on the weekend of 14-16 July; weekend ticket with camping access £150.85, ticket plus guesthouse from £302.60, day tickets £75.87

Romy Madley Croft

The GuardianTramp

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