Hooverphonic will represent Belgium at Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam with their song “The Wrong Place”.
Hooverphonic were originally due to sing “Release Me” at Eurovision 2020. However, the contest was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, just like several other countries, Belgium opted to reselect its 2020 act for this year’s competition.
And now we’ve compiled 10 facts you need to know about Hooverphonic. Let’s do this!
Belgium at Eurovision 2021: Facts about Hooverphonic
1. They’re a trio
Hooverphonic’s membership has changed multiple times through the years, but Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts have been the band’s backbone since its beginning in 1995. The group currently consists of three core members.
Geike Arnaert (41) — Geike is the lead singer. She first joined Hooverphonic in 1997 and is the voice most associated with the band. However, she left the group in 2008 and only returned to the fold in late 2020.
Raymond Geerts (61) — Born in Sint-Niklaas, Raymond is a founding member of Hooverphonic. He’s been the group’s guitarist since 1995. He has also written on a couple of Hooverphonic tracks, including “Inhaler” and “2 Wicky”. Raymond was also a member of The Ditch for a while. He played the drums with that band, his original instrument. He only started guitar after teaching himself.
Alex Callier (48) — Also born in Sint-Niklaas, Alex is the second founding member. He is the group’s bassist and composer/producer. From 1990 to 1993, Alex studied a degree in Image, Sound and Editing at the Royal Institute for Theatre, Cinema and Sound in Brussels. Funnily enough, after graduating, he started working as a sound technician at VRT — the same broadcaster that selected the band for Eurovision.
2. Their lineup has changed a few times
It’s no secret that Hooverphonic’s lineup has changed several times. The group has had six lead singers since 1995. They are Esther Lybeert, Liesje Sadonius, Kyoko Bartsoen, Geike Arnaert, Noémie Wolfs and Luka Cruysberghs. In fact, their Eurovision 2021 effort “Release Me” had Luka on vocals. She was also expected to sing in this year’s contest. But then in November 2020, much to the surprise of fans and Luka herself, Hooverphonic announced that Geike would be returning to the group and taking her place. The turnover rate may seem high, but it should be remembered that Hooverphonic has been on the go since 1995. In any walk of life, people tend to come and go over a period of 25 years.
3. They were originally called Hoover
In the early 1990s, Alex Callier met Frank Duchêne. They connected over their love for the music of Pierre Henry. His work would influence the typical Hooverphonic sound. Together with Raymond Geerts, Alex and Frank created Hoover in 1995. They soon discovered that there was already a group with that name, so they switched to Hooverphonic. Allegedly, this was also to avoid a clash with the world-famous vacuum cleaner manufacturer. Nonetheless, their debut album was released under the name Hoover. Frank Duchêne left in 1998 due to musical differences.
4. Geike is a solo star
Geike Arnaert has been with Hooverphonic on and off for over 11 years. However, Belgian and Dutch fans might recognise her voice from elsewhere without realising it. She is the female vocal on the big 2017/2018 BeNeLux hit “Zoutelande”. She recorded the song with Dutch band BLØF. Upon returning to the group, Geike confirmed that she will continue with her solo work, including new material and performances.
5. They used guest singers like Madame Monsieur’s Emili Satt
After Noémie Wolfs’ departure in 2015, the group worked with several guest vocalists before their partnership with Luka began in 2018. One of these singers was Emili Satt. Yes, the frontwoman from Madame Monsieur — France’s Eurovision 2018 act. She can be heard on “Badaboum”.
6. They have collaborated with famous artists and songwriters
In 1998, Hooverphonic went on a European tour supporting, among others, Moloko, Fiona Apple and Massive Attack. Alex says that they learned much from touring with these acts, lessons they still use today. They would later cover Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Sympathy”. For their second LP Blue Wonder Power Milk they collaborated with American producer Mark Plati. He has worked with acts such as The Cure, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac. Although Alex writes most of Hooverphonic’s material himself, he occasionally writes with others. One of these is Cathy Dennis. Best known for the very non-Hooverphonic sounding “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” (Kylie Minogue) and “Toxic” (Britney Spears), she chipped in on “Jacky Cane” and “The Last Thing I Need Is You”.
7. They performed at the opening ceremony of Euro 2000
Although Hooverphonic has quite some experience to fall back on, their most nerve-wracking gig, according to Alex Callier, was performing at the opening of the UEFA European Football Championship in 2000. The ceremony was held in King Boudwijn stadium in Brussels. Alex composed “Visions” for the occasion. Over 50,000 attendees watched on in the stadium, while about 1.5 billion more tuned in from home.
8. Alex composed Sennek’s “A Matter of Time”
Sennek represented Belgium at Eurovision 2018 with “A Matter Of Time”, a song composed by Alex. However, he revealed that the original version was very different from the one performed in Lisbon. “The evolution of the song went really weird. I started writing with her and then she finished it with somebody else. My version had a choir during the entire song. My idea for her staging was that she would be surrounded by a cool band, like rockabillies. So surrounded by them, singing along, taking you in. But they didn’t do that, they made it more a diva song, but then you have to be a real diva. That was the advantage for Blanche, she didn’t have to be a diva, because her song was so fragile”.
9. They have released 16 albums
Since their foundation in 1995, Hooverphonic have brought out 16 albums. In 1996 they released their debut A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular. This spawned the international hit “2 Wicky“. Eleven more studio albums followed along with two live LPs and three compilation records. From an artistic point of view, “Eden” is considered to be one of their classics. Their latest album, Looking For Stars, is from 2018.
10. Hollywood has a taste for Hooverphonic
The music of Hooverphonic has proven to be very popular in other media, soundtracking films, commercials and TV series.
- “2 Wicky” — Movies: Stealing Beauty, Finalemente Soli, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, My Best Friend and Permanent Midnight. TV: Entourage.
- “Sarangi” — Movies: Charlie’s Angels and The Dance. TV: Baywatch.
- “Eden” — Movies: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. Commercials: Repsol (Spain) and Alpro (Belgium). TV: Zone Stad and Thuis.
- “Mad About You” — Driven, South Kensington, New Best Friend. Commercials: Smart Car, Autoroutes (France), Volvo and Eurotel Image (Czech Republic). TV: Las Vegas, Cold Case and Third Watch.
- “Inhaler” — Movies: The Real Blonde. TV: CSI.
- “Waves” — TV: Sex And The City.
Other featured songs include “This Strange Effect” (La Femme Nikita), “The World is Mine” (Mile High), “Battersea” (Third Watch and Goodbye To Camelot, Jaguar commercial), “Wardrope” (commercial for J.P. Morgan), “Renaissance Affair” (commercial for Volkswagen), “Jackie Cane” (commercial for Toyota) and “Amalfi” (commercial for Danone).
What do you think of Hooverponic’s track record? Are you excited to see them in Rotterdam? Let us know in the comment section below.