Interview: Australia's 'Festivali i Këngës' interval stars 'Mixed Up Everything'
When Eurovision fans tuned in to watch the Albanian national final 'Festivali i Këngës' in December the last thing they expected to see was a long-haired shirtless Australian rock band.
No one was more shocked to hear broad Aussie accents on Albanian TV than ourselves here at Aussievision and we were pretty darn impressed with their rendition of the classic Scorpion song 'Winds of Change'
In 2019 the interval acts had been recent Eurovision legends Mahmood and Eleni Foureira so many international Eurovision fans were a little miffed at first.
But their performance and attitude won over the Twitter fandom and saw a whole new fan base discover the band from Melbourne, with some calling for them to represent Australia at the Contest.
We caught up with them to find out more about the band, how the performance came about and if they would consider doing Eurovision.
Check out our Q&A with them below:
First and foremost, why are you in Albania? What happened?
We were just finishing up recording our new album 'I Choose' in Belgium in December 2019, when the Coronavirus first started hitting the news. Although it still wasn't a big deal at that time. So we continued playing some gigs that we'd lined up in Belgium and down in Italy in January 2020. But that's when people started taking the Virus more seriously and we started actually having gigs cancelled/postponed. Assuming the virus would dissolve in time for our European Summer Tour, we decided to ride out the few months leading up to Summer in Europe... much easier than a 27 hour flight back to Australia for 3 months!! So we decided to stay in Albania. It's outside of the Schengen Zone, so we avoid VISA troubles, and it's heaps cheaper than staying in the UK. Add the sun and beach all year round, and it sounds like a perfect idea! Little did we know that we'd be spending over a year here...
How have you spent your time while in Albania - it's a beautiful country, the coast is terrific?
Yeah, the beach is where we spend the majority of our time. We live for the sun and the sea, working out, swimming and keeping fit. We've been able to do a fair bit of sightseeing too, so we've been able to visit a lot of the major Albanian cities, as well as some really cool nature stuff, that you wouldn't believe is hiding away in the Albanian boonies! A lot of time is spent at local pubs drinking and eating pizza. You can take the whole family to a nice restaurant for $60 - think of it kinda like a European version of Bali! Music of course takes most of our time and we drive our parents (and neighbours) crazy playing 7am-11.30pm! We have been playing loads of concerts online for our 500k+ YouTube fans, and we've also done loads of live streams on Instagram and Facebook. We've been able to connect pretty closely to our fans through the live streams. We've been working on new songs too.
So we are so intrigued.... how did the gig to perform at 'Festivali i Kenges' (FiK) actually come about?
Well the musical side of us has only been surviving thanks to, what seems to be, the one and only fully equipped rehearsal/recording studio in Albania "AK Records". We've uploaded heaps of great quality videos from their studio to our YouTube channel, that we've dubbed the 'Live Studio Sessions'. Anyways, the videos started gaining a lot of traction among the Albanian music community, being recorded in their own country. And our videos made it so far as to the producers of FiK, who asked us to play a guest performance at their show!
We understand you didn't get to play live but you wanted to? What happened there?
We're old-school style musicians. Everything should be as real, raw, unedited and close to reality as possible for us. But we were told that due to the coronavirus this year, FiK weren't going to have any live backing musicians because of social distancing. That wasn't a problem for us, we're brothers, there's no social distancing between us haha! But it meant that they wouldn't have the necessary equipment available for a live performance. So of course, rather than pass up the opportunity, we bit the bullet and did our first (and hopefully last) "lip-sync" show.
Since FiK was performed outside for the first time, it looked very very cold? Was it as cold as it looked and if so why were you wearing shorts??
Yep, it was pretty cold! You could see our breath throughout the whole show... but we're known for being the shirtless, long-haired, cargo-shorts-wearing brothers from Melbourne. It's our look - so we had to continue the trend, no matter the cost!! We did however class it up just a touch, with the top coats and top hat...
Did you get to catch any of the show or performances and if so did any of the songs stand out to you guys? Any favourites?
We weren't able to catch any of the performances while we were there at the event, it was all very "quick in, quick out" (due to Corona rules) But of course we caught the first couple of nights on TV. It's hard to say, because we're really not fans of that kind of music in general. But if we're honest there was a little bit of singing along during Giliola Haveriku's performances... that chorus gets stuck in your head so easily!
Eurovision fans who tuned in to watch FiK as it's the national selection for Albania were quite taken with you guys, did you see the reaction online - particularly Twitter?
Well it's funny, our Twitter had been suspended for the past 6 months. The simplest way of explaining it, was that we'd been away from Australia too long, and we couldn't verify our phone number! We tried explaining it to the Twitter Support, but their customer service was terrible. We'd kinda given up on ever getting that account back. But then the evening of the FiK, they reached out to us and apologised for our suspension, and unsuspended us! So thankfully, we were able to see everyone's reactions to us being on the show. And we were very surprised to see the international reach that we got through FiK, we didn't know so many people watched it outside of Albania. We received a lot of love from brand new fans, throughout all our social media, not just Twitter - so it was a good bit of exposure for us!
Fans were also calling for you to represent Australia one day at Eurovision - would you consider going in 'Australia Decides' (the contest to choose Australia's representative) in 2022?
Sure, why not... if long haired hard rockers are still accepted in Australia, we'd love to bring some raw, screaming guitar rock to the Aussie Eurovision table.
Once we all saw you had the same hair we weren't surprised to hear you're brothers, when did you start performing together?
We've been playing as a band together since we were babies. In fact, Kevin came up with the band name Mixed Up Everything when he was 4 years old... that's why it's not quite normal English but rather baby talk haha! We literally don't remember a time when we didn't see ourselves as a rock band. We were playing concerts for our parents as toddlers, Kevin drumming on Mum's cushions, Todd and Blake on guitars (Dad's tennis racquets), and Koby on a toy xylophone that we had. We'd jam songs from The Offspring, blink-182, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rage Against The Machine. We slowly started transitioning to real instruments, taking lessons at school, and performing our first real song (Californication - RHCP) in front of our Primary School.
And for those new to you guys, how would you describe your musical style?
Heavy rock. Reminiscent of the 90s but also incorporating elements of 80s rock and metal. Lots of guitars and a sound that's much more organic than anything you'd hear on the radio these days.
You've had quite a lot of success already so what's in the pipeline for 2021 other than getting home?
We're happily riding out the coronavirus here in Albania. We've actually been interviewed on an Albanian Talk Show, and we're scheduled to do another one tomorrow. So things are happening here for us, who would've thought... Big In Albania! But we're really looking at getting back out on tour in Europe this year. We've got our new album 'I Choose' coming out around Easter, and a few music videos along with it. So 2021 is shaping up to be a big year for us (if the pandemic allows)!
Do you have any exact plans to get back to Australia?
Not at the moment. We'd love to get back to Melbourne as soon as possible, and catch up with friends and family. However, rock is still a solid and appreciated genre here in Europe. Our shows have actually had raving reviews from reputable papers around Germany, Belgium, and Netherlands. We also were invited to play at the official opening of one of the biggest Festivals in Belgium (something equivalent to Melbourne Moomba Festival) So things seem to be happening for us over in Europe, and therefore we want to maintain this momentum we've gained. We're constantly being invited to play shows and visit new cities and countries. If something big opens up for us however we'll be back home in a flash. But at the moment, we're having too much fun, and rocking the venues while doing it. What more could we want?
Thanks guys, good luck for 2021 and hopefully see you back in Australia one day!
Find out more about the band on their site www.mixedupeverything.com and follow them via: