Since winning Iceland’s national selection for Eurovision 2014, kid-friendly punk band Pollapönk have been busy re-working their song into English and filming their official music video. At the moment the odds suggest that their fun, funky song “No Prejudice” won’t qualiy for the final. But the bookies have said that about Iceland in the past—and been proven wrong. Pollapönk recently spoke with William Cahill, a wiwiblogger in Ireland. Here are the highlights.
Congrats on winning in Iceland! Why did you decide to compete in Songvakeppnin, and were you shocked when you won?
It is dream come true to get a big stage like this to get our message to as many people as possible. We were very happy to win the Icelandic Söngvakeppni. First of all, it is a fun thing to do. We are in this to have a good time and get the Pollpönk message to people. The first thing we thought of was how we were going to make this fit to our day jobs. That has been a puzzle but it is all going well now.
We’ve already seen your brightly-coloured suits in the national final, in your video, and in your publicity shots. What’s the significance of them?
The colors are the Pollapönk identity. Well, the tracksuits are the band’s outfits for all occasions and have been for many years. Extremely flexible and good gig suits and for dancing as well. We are not caught in public without them as Pollapönk. But for the finals here in Iceland we took it a step further and had high class “Tuxedo” suits tailor made for each of us in our colors Pink, Blue, Yellow, and Red, and I do believe that gave us a bit extra for our performance in the finals.
Can you reveal anything about your staging at this point?
There are meetings taking place every day on that matter. One thing’s for sure! It will be amazing!
How did you guys meet?
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 bassplayer 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. I met my younger brother when he was born, Heiðar when I was 11 years old and Guðni 20 years ago.
Some of your members are preschool teachers. Do the children know you will be competing in Eurovision and what are their responses, if they have any?
Yes, they do and are very excited. They find it unreal that their teachers are on TV all the time.
Furthermore, you describe yourself as a punk band for kids. Do Icelandic kids (and adults) like that in Iceland?
Of course. Children should be treated with respect when it comes to music. Children likes all kinds of music. And if it is done with ambition they will like it.
Do you think people get the message of your song, and have you yourself ever experienced prejudice in your own lives?
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 majority group 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. We have experienced prejudice in our lives being male preschool teachers. We have also been discriminatory. We believe that you have to look inside regularly an look at your own prejudice and change you behavior.
Why did you decide to change your song from Icelandic to English?
We think that the message of the song is so important that it was necessary so that more people could understand what we are all about.
We can assure you that we are no joke. We are in this all the way. We hope our message will get through to the beautiful people of Europe. We will fight prejudice and discrimination with love.
Why have you not been doing any promotion at events such as Eurovision in Concert or the London Eurovision party?
We are sorry to say that we don’t have a budget to tour before the contest. We have to find other ways to promote the band to Europe.
What has been the reaction in Iceland to your song “No Prejudice”?
The support from Iceland has been amazing. The song is the most popular song in Iceland and we feel that the hole nation is on our side.
Finally, do you have a message for our readers here on wiwibloggs.com?
No prejudice! Spread the word.
Thank you Pollapönk and best of luck to you in Copenhagen!
William Cahill is our Irish correspondent. Follow him on twitter @williamcahill16. Follow the team from wiwibloggs.com on Twitter @wiwibloggs and keep up with the latest Eurovision news by liking our Facebook page.