This time last year, Euroband travelled to Serbia to represent Iceland in the Eurovision Song Contest. Despite having one of the best songs in the whole competition, and one of the firm fan favourites in the run up to the contest, not many people were allowing their hopes of ‘This Is My Life’ qualifying to the final, to be raised too much. This is because Iceland hadn’t once managed to qualify from the semi final stage of Eurovision since the change of format was introduced in 2004 – regardless of the fact that they’d consistently been sending great songs to the competition (Selma, Silvia Night, Erikur Hauksson).
Thankfully though, common sense prevailed around Europe and ‘This Is My Life’ progressed straight to the final! The club laced pop track was delivered effortlessly by Euroband, made up of Fridrik Omar and Regina Osk, and to this day gets one of the best receptions when played at the scandipop club night. This year, Fridrik is back at Eurovision to provide backing vocals for the latest Iceland entry, ‘Is It True’, sung by Yohanna. Hopefully he can work his magic a second year in a row, as ‘Is It True’ thoroughly deserves to make it to the final this Saturday.
The first semi final takes place this Tuesday night. But we caught up with Fridrik from Euroband last month at the UK Eurovision Preview Party to talk about Eurovision and Euroband! Here’s how it went!
scandipop: Hello Fridrik, how does it feel to be back in London for the second year running?!
Fridrik: It’s great, really nice. Last year was an amazing night, magnificent. There was a great energy in the place and I hope it’s gonna be like that tonight.
scandipop: And you got one of the best receptions last year as well didn’t you?
Fridrik: Yeah, I think it was a really good night.
scandipop: I think everyone in London last year was quite surprised. Because as well as representing Iceland in Eurovision that year, Euroband is also a well know Eurovision tribute band back in Iceland. So when we heard you belt out your club version of ‘A Ba Ni Bi’……we were all really pleasantly surprised. So you’re obviously really big fans of Eurovision then?
Fridrik: Yeah, as a band we play about 50 different Eurovision songs. We have 6 people in the band; a drummer, guitar player, keyboard player…..and we play all over Iceland all year round. Just Eurovision songs!
scandipop: And how long have you been doing that for?
Fridrik: 3 years.
scandipop: And before you won Songvakeppni in Iceland, to go to Eurovision, you also participated a few times as a solo artist didn’t you?
Fridrik: Yeah, Regina and me both entered as solo artists.
scandipop: So what are Euroband’s plans for the next few years?
Fridrik: Well tonight, I’m gonna sing a song for the first time to a London audience, the new single from Euroband. Although Regina of course is in Iceland – pregnant! One month to go.
scandipop: So the new Euroband material has been recorded with former Eurovision star Selma. How did that come about? Who approached who?
Fridrik: Selma did a gig with us 2 years ago, and we’ve been close friends since then, so it wasn’t a hard thing to do.
scandipop: So when Regina announced that she was pregnant, you just called Selma up and asked if she wanted to join the band for a while?!
Fridrik: Yeah, yeah.
scandipop: So is it just for this single or will you be doing lots of gigs around Iceland in the longterm.
Fridrik: Yes, we’ll be doing lots of gigs around Iceland together. She was supposed to be with me here tonight but she just couldn’t make it. She’s a presenter on the Icelandic version of Idol and that takes place tonight, so she couldn’t be here.
scandipop: But she’s wishing you luck.
Fridrik: Yeah, she really wanted to be here.
scandipop: Well that would have been really good.
Fridrik. Yeah, she’s great. She’s a mother of 2 kids, and she’s working a lot around Iceland, doing musicals, and shows.
scandipop: Ok. Well of course even though you’re not actually representing Iceland this year at Eurovision, you’re still going to Moscow aren’t you, because you’re doing backing vocals for Johanna!
Fridrik: And that’s even harder!
scandipop: Is it?!!!
Fridrik: Yeah it is.
scandipop: No, surely not!!!
Fridrik: Yeah, yeah it is! Because singing backing vocals is really hard. I’m telling you!
scandipop: So you’re actually more scared about doing backing vocals?
scandipop: Wow, I’m surprised at that! And you’re doing it with Hera Bjork too! She did backing vocals for Euroband last year didn’t she?
Fridrik: Yeah we originally hooked up in the year 2000. And we did a song together. So, I’ve known her for a long time, we’re really close friends. I think we’re gonna share a bed together in Moscow!
scandipop: Oh, well that’s really good friends then! So what do you expect to happen this year? The Icelandic song is one of the favourites, are you expecting to qualify from the semi final?
Fridrik: Yeah I think we’ll go through to the final. I think….honestly…..I don’t think we’re gonna win. It’s very hard for Iceland to win. It’s really difficult.
scandipop: Well there’s some pressure of Johanna this year which is your fault!!! Because last year, Euroband were the only act to get Iceland to the final since the semi final format was introduced 5 years ago!
Fridrik: True, but it’s better that it’s a ballad, because if it was an uptempo song then there would be much more comparison. In this year’s Eurovision there are many ballads though. And now that we have the jury back, I think that they are going to vote for the ballads.
scandipop: And what’s your favourite from this year?
Fridrik: There’s something about this guy from Norway. He’s really really fresh, he’s loving what he’s doing – you can see that. And I think he’ll get many points just for that.
scandipop: Ok. Well thank you for your time Fridrik!
Fridrik: No thank YOU! It was nice talking to you.
scandipop: And best of luck in Moscow. See you there!
At the Preview Party, Fridrik peformed his new single, ‘I Want To Know’ which we really liked. It’s another dance orientated pop song, in the same vein as ‘This Is My Life’. Its author, Orlygur Smari, emailed us last week to let us know that you can now hear the song on youtube. So have a listen to this little treat!