They’re the reigning winners of the televote at the Eurovision Song Contest, having climbed all the way to the top with the public in 2019. And it’s now very clear that KEiiNO feel like they have unfinished business. How do we know? Because they’ve just been confirmed to compete in Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix 2021 with the song “Monument”. Below you can sip on some very hot and nourishing tea. They discuss their upbeat entry, whether they can win over the jury if they make it to ESC and whether it’s a gamble to return to the contest following their huge success in Tel Aviv.
Tell us about the song.
Alex: “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.
Tom: “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.
How do you think Eurovision fans will react to “Monument”?
Fred: We hope they will love it, of course. Although some fans might be disappointed that our second try for the trophy isn’t as Euroschlager as “Spirit in the Sky”. And we’re not mad if people prefer “Spirit” over “Monument”. But it didn’t make sense for us to do the same all over again. We’ve grown both as a band and songwriters, and we feel “Monument” represents the group in a better way. And the reactions from people to whom we’ve played the song make us believe that “Monument” will be appreciated by many.
Given your current status as Eurovision royalty, is it a gamble to enter MGP again?
Alex: Well for sure. We know we are competing against some big names in the national selection. And some voters might prefer to send an artist that hasn’t been to Eurovision before. But athletes repeatedly try to qualify for international competitions, and we still feel we haven’t shown our full potential on the Eurovision stage, so when we found ourselves with a song with something special, we just went for it.
You say you’ve written a song to please the juries. You didn’t sound too pleased with them after Eurovision 2019…
Tom: I might have said that we didn’t care what the juries think. But I blame the disappointment and an inflated ego after the televote win. Now, after watching quite a few recaps of various past Eurovision’s during lockdown, I have to admit I’ve changed my mind about the function of the juries. The quality of the show has definitely improved after they were re-introduced, and I think a professional opinion about the music does have a purpose. How big their say should be and how many professionals should be included could be debated, but I have no problem saying I was wrong.
Well color us excited! What do you think of KEiiNO’s return? Are you excited to hear the song? Let us know what you’re thinking down below!