It is that time of year again and Eurovision is already in full swing, with Tuesday's semi-final seeing Montenegro and San Marino go through to the final for the first time in Eurovision history. Furthermore they snatched those two places from countries that you would have expected to go through without any doubt, they are Portugal and Belgium.
But our attention towards Iceland, whose entry Pollapönk made it to the finals (live Saturday night on BBC1 - check your own national broadcaster), they mix punk rock with children's music, this however is overshadowed by the interesting fact that their back-up vocals are split amongst Óttarr Proppé (from Ham) and Snæbjörn Ragnarsson (from the Viking Metal band Skálmöld). You might as well admit that Iceland and Finland have both gone down the rock route this year (we would like to see more of this), what with Ukraine's Gothic pop entry also gone through, there is a little theme going on this year.
Rhys Stevenson managed to catch up with Pollapönk and talk to them about their Eurovision endeavors, their entry 'No Prejudice' and the Icelandic Rock Music scene. Many thanks to Haraldur
Gíslason for talking to us.
"Eurovision is a happy place".
Hey guys, first off how does it feel to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest?
It is a dream come true to get on to a big stage like this and to get our message out to as many people. We don’t feel any pressure, but we are determined to have fun and do our very best to make Iceland proud.
The song "Enga fordóma (No Prejudice)" is about a young person who has the habit of stuttering around others and fears to be mocked or bullied because of this. With this song it is Pollapönk’s aim to help eliminate all bullying and prejudice as everyone has the right to live in peace and harmony with the rest of the world. We think that the world needs to hear the "no prejudice" message. Especially from middle age, heterosexual, white men like us. Being middle age, heterosexual, white men makes us a group that is most unlikely to be discriminated against and we believe that we should use this opportunity to point out the injustice in this world. Of course we know that it will not instantly make the world a better place. It is our small contribution.
What inspired you to get the suits? Especially in vibrant colors :)?
With different colors we are calibrating diversity. We may look different on the outside but on the inside we are the same. Also we just look very good in these colored suits.
What does Pollapönk mean and why that name?
Pollapönk means two things. Punk for kids and puddle punk.
Could you tell us in the UK a bit more about the Icelandic Rock scene?
The Icelandic rock scene is very good. All the members from Pollapönk come from the Icelandic underground rock scene. There is a lot of good bands coming up and the scene is growing.
Now you have been going eight years, where have you played outside Iceland?
Not so much as Pollapönk. But Heiðar and Haraldur are in a band called Botnleðja that has toured a lot outside Iceland. Once they supported Blur in the UK. Gudni and Arnar are in a band called Mugison that has toured a lot as well. Bibbi or mister Orange as we like to call him is in a heavy metal band called Skálmöld. Our member of parliament Óttarr is also in a band called Ham.
Could you give a brief history of the band and how you met?
Pollapönk was founded in 2006 by guitarists Haraldur Freyr Gíslason and Heiðar Örn Kristjánsson of the Icelandic post-punk trio Botnleðja. They created Pollapönk when graduating as Bachelors of education from the University of Iceland. The purpose was to write and perform music that children and adults alike would enjoy and be able to sing-a-long to. The first album "Pollapönk" was a major hit in Iceland. In 2007 drummer Arnar Þór Gíslason who is Haraldur‘s brother and bass-player Guðni Finnsson joined Pollapönk which then became a quartet. Pollapönk have made two more albums, and played numerous gigs for children and grown-ups all over Iceland. In everyday life Haraldur Freyr is the chairman of the Association of Pre-school Teachers, Heiðar Örn is a Pre-school teacher and Arnar Þór and Guðni are professional musicians.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out? Any thank you's?
No prejudice! Spread the word.
The Eurovision Semi Final No.2 is on tonight on BBC3 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm and UK viewers CAN VOTE tonight - we'd like Malta, Israel, Lithuania, Finland and Slovenia to go through amongst others - Romania, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Belarus.
The Eurovision Final is on Saturday - BBC1 (again check your national broadcaster) at 8pm we believe.
The Alternative music interview page features interviews from Eurovision entries to other non-metal music entities.
Eurovision Song Contest