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  • Writer's pictureDale Roberts

"We want to reach a higher placement" - KEiiNO talk to us about their second shot at Eurovision

It's been a big week or so for KEiiNO.

First they were announced as returning artists for Norway's national final 'Melodi Grand Prix', then they released their song they hope will take them to Rotterdam and finally they performed the song live on Sunday.

All three of these events saw a hugely positive response from the majority of Eurovision fans.

We had a chat to them about their decision to come back, their song and their special relationship with fans.

Have a read below:

So when did you make the decision to enter Melodi Grand Prix and have another shot at Eurovision?

We kind of knew right after our performance in 2019 that we definitely wanted to go back. We ended 6th place, and as any athlete that result only makes you want to do better and aim higher. We really wanted to reach a higher placement with a song that might both please the audience and the juries! But we knew that the song had to be the right one. We love Eurovision and Melodi Grand Prix, and it is really an honor to be back!

Your song 'Monument', did you write that after making the decision to compete or did you have the song first?

We wrote it in summer 2019, on this beautiful cabin in the southern coast of Norway. It was not written directly for the competition, but we got this strange feeling when we wrote it. We knew it was something special about it, both the lyrics, the melodies and the production, so we decided to submit it to the competition.

Tell us about 'Monument', what's it about and what should people expect from the song?

“Monument” is about the most important moments and people in a lifecycle. The song honors those who enrich other people’s lives without receiving medals or having streets named after them. “Monument” is an uptempo electro pop-song with Nordic melodies, Sami rap and joik. It was written in a simple cabin on the Norwegian coastline and produced in Berlin and Kristiansand. As with almost all other KEiiNO songs, it’s written and produced by the band together with Alexander Olsson and Rüdiger Schramm. But to make it sound monumental, the recording includes our live band, a crazy amount of samples and live strings by musicians from the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.

What did you learn from your 2019 experience at both Melodi Grand Prix and Tel Aviv that you will bring into your 2021 performances?

Just being a part of it gave us so much experience, but we've really grown as a band, and we hope all the live concerts and performances the last two years make our performance great in the final. We will definitely enjoy the moment, and make people watching at home dance, sing along and have fun!

For a country of only 5 million people, Norway really punches above its weight at Eurovision - why do you think it does so well?

Well, thank you! Our country is filled with a lot of talents and great musicians, and we really see the value of being a part of such a great show as the Melodi Grand Prix. There is not really a good answer to this, but we love Eurovision, and want to be a part of the competition with a song that our country is proud of!

You have become a huge favourite with the Eurovision fans and they were overjoyed to see you return, why do you think they resonate with KEiiNO so much?

Wow, that is amazing, and beyond our imagination. We hope that people find comfort and happiness through us and our music. We are a band who love diversity, being different, accepting all cultures and backgrounds, and hopefully people see us as someone they can rely on. Our music also reflects that we’re a band who do whatever we feel the urge to do, we create the music we feel we can present to the world, and we include people from all over the world while we’re working on it. We can’t wait to travel and make our beautiful audience dance again!

Since Eurovision you have toured Australia and Europe and released a whole bunch of new music, do you ever take a rest? It must have been a very busy time for you all?

Yes, luckily there’s three of us, so we find a balance. We love to travel, meet new people and have concerts, so it’s just fun being on tour. 2019 was pretty hectic, but we were able to do music for a living, travelling the world together and making our biggest dreams come true, so it makes the hard work worth it.

Aussievision team members with KEiiNO during the 2019 Australian Tour.

In your debut album Okta, released last year, we saw you collaborate with many indigenous acts from around the world, including Electric Fields from Adelaide and Te Hau Tawhiti from Brisbane, why was that so important to KEiiNO to do?

2019 was the year of Indigenous Languages, and we were announced ambassadors by the UN. So we felt that including amazing indigenous expressions in our music was a good way to recognize this award. In 2019 we went to Australia and wrote 'Would I Lie' with Electric Fields and 'Roar Like A Lion' with the Maori band Te Hau Tawhiti. We also went to NY to meet up with Charlotte Qamaniq, an inuk throat singer from Canada, and created 'Black Leather'. Such an amazing experience being able to travel the world and at the same time meet so many inspiring artists and create music together!

And finally, we loved having you here for your Australian tour, if you are able to visit again (and have more time) is there anywhere you would like to visit that you couldn't go to last time?

Oh, well! We loved being there as well! You have a really beautiful country, and the people are so nice! Yes, we would love to visit Perth as well! A lot of people wanted us to go there, but we couldn’t in 2019.. So maybe this year! We definitely hope so.

KEiiNO will compete in the Grand Finale of Melodi Grand Prix on Saturday 20 February (Sunday morning 21 February) Australian time.


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