Born during a high school assignment in an English class in 2000, TZMP was formed by friends Arni Kristjansson and Steinn Linnet. With only a single song under their belt, they won their school's talent show which put the pressure on to make new material. They performed at small venues and then TV, which led to a support gig for local heroes Quarashi before their world tour.
The next year they found themselves in Honiton in Devon, England, recording their debut album. Through chance encounters, the drummer from space-rockers Hawkwind and Global Communication's Mark Pritchard lent their talents to two songs on the album.
With a brand new album under their belt, TZMP performed across Reykjavik gaining a small but cult following. A deal with a label was struck, however it fell through when the label went bankrupt. They kept on undeterred, playing the Iceland Airwaves festival several times and becoming one of the hottest act playing the start day of the festival.
They self-released their first album “The Album” in 2004 and continued performing until Arni moved to Japan in 2008 and Steinn to Denmark a few years later. Over the following years the band would rarely perform, but gradually create an album's worth of electro rap songs.
“Anthology: Simply The Best” was released in 2016 after a successful crowdfunding campaign. TZMP celebrated its release with a show in Tokyo with Japanese chiptune act YMCK, held a much-praised Reykjavik show in early 2017, and followed that with a second album launch at Húrra that summer.
Since the release of their second album the band has been dormant, however they sometimes perform a song or two at weddings or get-togethers. While the band isn't as active as they used to, the spirit of alien love lives on.
Seldomly Asked Questions
Where did the band name come from?
From this sketch by comedian Paul Kaye, as celebrity correspondent Dennis Pennis. He's standing on a sidewalk in Los Angeles where he says:
"I'm standing outside the notorious Whisky a Go Go club, and it was here in 1981 that two fresh faced teenagers Robert Zuckakis and Earl Mondeyano first talked about forming the greatest rock and roll band in the world. Fifteen years later.. nothing. Zilcho. Never played a gig. Losers. That's Hollywood, that's why we love it."
Steinn adopted the Zuckakis name, and Arni became Earl Mondeyano. At first, the bands name was The Zuckakis Mondeyano Project, taking cues from The Alan Parsons Project, but eventually we shortened it to TZMP.
Most memorable show?
Through a friend we were booked to perform at an annual party for students of the School of Navigation (a school for sailors) at a skiing lodge just outside of Reykjavik. We played our set to our very enthusiastic friend, and a roomful of indifference. Once our performance was over, we planned to stay for the party but caught word that we had gotten threats of physical violence, so we hitched a ride back into town with the comedian of the night.
Another memorable gig was at a community center in Chiryu, Japan. Arni was invited to speak at a cultural event for World Expo 2005 which was happening nearby. After speaking for about a half an hour on Iceland culture, he performed several songs as TZMP for a crowd of elderly Japanese. Set list included "Alien Millennium", which covers intimately what aliens do in the bedroom.
First big break?
While we never broke mainstream, playing concert venue Iðnó warming up for rap-rock group Quarashi was a big step. That booking came about after we performed at culture show Sílikon on TV network Skjár Einn. The band leader for Quarashi saw our performance and called us up a few hours after it aired, asking us to be their only warm up act at their world tour's first show the next day. We were panned by the critic of newspaper Morgunblaðið, however that show also introduced us to many new fans.
How did the drummer from Hawkwind and Mark Pritchard come to be on the first album?
The recording engineer knew Richard Chadwick (Hawkwind's drummer), as he lived down the street from his studio in downtown Honiton. He was a great sport and played the drums beautifully on "Alien Millennium".
We heard that Mark Pritchard was getting a record mastered at our engineers brother's studio LOUD Mastering in neighboring Taunton. Both of us had been longtime fans of his through Jedi Knights and Global Communication, so our engineer set up a "surprise visit" to his brothers studio while Mark was there.
Nervously, we asked him to contribute to our album. We were prepared to record a quick shout out onto a MiniDisc player we brought with us, but he thought about it for a second and then offered to do something for our UK Garage tune "Scatalicious". A few days later he sent us amazing sound effects that we used on the track and we've been friends ever since.
Does TZMP comprise of only Arni and Steinn?
Through our history we've had several people join us on stage. During our first shows, our friend Níels was our solo back up dancer, dancing around artistically waving whale baleen. At first we played our songs off a portable CD player but eventually we got our friend Árni Bragi aka DJ Kocoon to become our DJ. When performing our minor cult hit Champagne Girl, Berglind Prunner aka Jenny Kamikaze joined our ranks and sang with us at several shows.
Do hieroglyphs come out of the mouths of aliens when they speak?
Yes, that is a true story.
Does either member have a birthmark on the inside of their eyelid?
It’s a rumour that can’t be confirmed.