Hatari will represent Iceland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Hatrið mun sigra”. The song is a growl-infused techno piece with a big message — before hate will prevail we must remember to love.
Icelandic broadcaster RÚV selected the anti-capitalistic BDMS techno performance group through its annual Söngvakeppnin 2019 format. Over the course of two semis and a final, ten songs became one. Hatari won by a landslide. Iceland hasn’t made it to the final since 2014 and the small country in the North-Atlantic is still awaiting its first Eurovision victory. Hatari’s intention is to change both records.
As we draw closer to Tel Aviv, we have compiled a list of 10 facts you need to know about Hatari. Are you ready? Let’s do this!
1. They are more than just a band
Hatari are a multimedia performance group — they don’t call themselves a band but choose to describe their collaboration as an art group. The three frontmen are Klemens Nikulásson Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson and Einar Hrafn Stefánsson. Dancers and backing vocalists Sólbjört, Ástrós and Andrean are also considered to be part of the group. To top it off, the outfit also includes a graphic designer and a video artist, both of whom are part of this year’s Icelandic delegation.
2. They are multi-award winners
For two years running — 2017 and 2018 — Hatari won the Best Live Performance trophy from Grapevine, an English-language Icelandic magazine. But the newest gong on their mantle is for Performer Of The Year. They picked it up at the Icelandic Music Awards last month. They were also nominated for Best Rock Song with “Spillingardans“, but lost out to “Another Little Storm” from Benny Crespo’s Gang.
3. They first appeared in 2016
It remains unclear as to when the group first formed, but their first recorded appearance was at Iceland Airwaves 2016 — the country’s biggest music festival. Before, Hatari were virtual unknowns. Afterwards, they took the local music scene by storm. The fully formed concept group intrigued audiences with their extreme performances and polemic lyrics.
4. Einar — the drummer-gimp — is also a member of Vök
Vök is an indie-pop-electronica band that started in 2013. They began as a duo consisting of singer Margrét Rán and saxophonist/sampler Andri Már. Their popularity grew after winning Músíktilraunir, an annual battle of the bands style competition for young musicians. Einar later joined the band as a percussionist. They have released two albums and numerous singles. Right now, they are touring Europe, hence Einar’s absence from Amsterdam’s Eurovision in Concert and the postcard shoot in Tel Aviv. But fear not, Vök’s schedule doesn’t clash with Hatari’s plans to takedown capitalism at Eurovision 2019.
5. They’re one big happy family
Einar and Sólbjört, the female dancer with the pixie cut, are a couple and have a young daughter together. But they aren’t the only parents in the group. Klemens also has a young daughter with his partner. And talking about family, some members of Hatari are actually related. Well, one could say “hey, isn’t everyone in Iceland related one way or another?”. But Matthías and Klemens are in fact first cousins. Matthías’ father and Klemens’ mother are siblings. The two have known each other from year one. We wonder at what age they came up with the iconic clap dance we saw in the intro before Hatari’s Söngvakeppnin performance?
6. They actually quit in 2018
Hatari was formed with the aim to topple capitalism, as y’all know. But despite not being around for particularly long, at least not long enough to bring down a whole societal system, the group announced their dissolution in 2018. They hadn’t achieved their ambitious goal and, hence, it was time for the project to end. Hatari held a soldout farewell concert on 28 December last in a small venue in downtown Reykjavík. So, it came as a little bit of a surprise when they popped up on the list of entrants for Söngvakeppnin 2019. Also, given the competition’s rules, Hatari must have known that they had been selected to compete in the national selection while performing their swansong.
7. Matthías is a playwright
For various reasons it is hard to work as a full-time musician in Iceland. Therefore many, if not all, have something else on the side to help pay the bills. Aside from being a member of Hatari, Matthías is also an up-and-coming playwright. He wrote the play Griðastaður (Sanctuary), a one-man show about mortality, the mass-production of furniture, Billy-shelves, repressed feelings, cute turtles, loneliness, practical spice-shelves, death, life, sorrow and more. It was written as Matthías’ graduation piece from the Icelandic Academy of Arts. It was later shown at Reykjavík’s Tjarnarbíó theatre. When not performing with Hatari or writing plays, he moonlights as a news reporter on RÚV.
8. They are yet to release an album
Even though Hatari have gained immense popularity in Iceland, they have yet to release an album. However, they released the four-track EP Neysluvara (Consumer Goods) in 2017. Apart from that and, of course, their Eurovision entry, the group has only released one other song, 2018’s “Spillingardans” (Dance of Corruption).
9. Klemens has some real construction skills
Klemens graduated as a furniture maker from Tækniskólinn, the Technical College of Reykjavík. He put his studies to good use when he designed and built the set for the “Hatrið mun sigra” music video. No doubt he was involved in the making of the set for their Söngvakeppnin performance too.
10. They have their own company and a soda brand
Hatari owns the company Svikamylla ehf. (Entrapment Inc.). Its website describes the entity as a “transnational private holding company” whose aim is to “bring an end to neoliberal capitalism as well as managing real estate, loans, imports and exports”. In real life, it is the company behind the group’s music releases and performances. During Söngvakeppnin, the members of Hatari were seen holding bottles of an unknown soda drink, which was revealed to be their own brand called Soda Dream — not to be confused with the controversial SodaStream, the Israel-based maker of home carbonation products… Whether or not fans will actually be able to purchase the drink remains unknown, but one can dare to dream.
How do you think Hatari will do in Tel Aviv? Tell us in the comments below.