In Iceland, elves live in mountains. They’re called “huldufólk” for “hidden people.” Some Icelanders tell tales of seeing elves in the night, playing the family pianos perhaps, but mainly elves dwell in geology or, if you prefer, mythology.
And whoever I find from Iceland, I ask if they believe in elves.
The Icelandic pop group Of Monsters and Men (“King and Lionheart,” “Crystals,” “Mountain Sound”) are coming to Las Vegas to perform Thursday at the Cosmopolitan hotel’s Boulevard pool (tickets:$35), so I put the elf question to guitarist Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson.
“It’s a way for us to protect nature, because when people are making roads inside the country, inside beautiful nature spots, people (have) said, ‘There are elves in this hole,’ or, ‘There are elves in this mountain, so you can’t go through it, or you’ll get cursed!’
“It’s like Santa Claus. It’s more fun to believe in it.”
What kinds of elves are we talking about? Short, sweet cookie-eating elves? Or fierce, tall Lord of the Rings elves who kill villains with arrows?
“You aren’t actually supposed to see them,” he said. “I don’t know what they look like. I imagine they’re really handsome and beautiful elves, like the ‘Lord of the Rings’ elves. They’re all Legolas.”
“Thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment,” I said. “I’m glad you’re not fearful of being (interviewed by) an elf.”
“I like it. It’s perfect,” he said.
His Icelandic band has only been to Vegas once before, for a concert, and Þórhallsson’s charming memory of walking the Strip for an hour goes like this:
“You have a lot of mini versions of things around the world, right? Like, a mini Eiffel Tower or something. And there were a bunch of street performers dressed like famous people that I recognized.”
Of Monsters and Men comes to Vegas with a second album,” Beneath the Skin,” and the opening act is Elle King (“Ex’s & Oh’s”).