Iceland: The Pollapönk Interview

by Dániel Turgonyi 597 views

Today we travel across the Atlantic to the westernmost nation in the Eurovision Song Contest, namely Iceland for our 9th interview in our series of the 2014 ESCToday Eurovision Interviews. We land in the beautiful Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik where we meet up with the 2014 Icelandic Eurovision hopefuls, Pollapönk. They speak about themselves, their Eurovision entry and teach us about their message NO PREJUDICE!

First of all, congratulations for winning the Icelandic National Final – and with this little introduction, I’d like to ask you to tell us a little bit more the experience of winning the Icelandic ticket for Eurovision – How did it feel to win the selection?

It is dream come true to get on a big stage like this to get our message to as many people as possible. We were very happy to win the Icelandic Söngvakeppni. The first thing we thought of was how we were going to adjust this to to our daily jobs. This whole thing was puzzling for us but it is all going well now.

Eurovision is quite a big thing in whole Scandinavia, and Iceland is no exception – so I guess you all have had some ‘Eurovision-experience’ long before you tried entering the competition. What does Eurovision mean to Pollapönk?

The song and the lyrics were specially written for Eurovision. We wanted  to make a song that was not a typical Eurovision song (if you can say that there is something that you can call a typical Eurovision song) ,with a catchy melody. We also wanted to try to write a lyric that had a message that would be a contribution to human rights campaign. We all have participated in the pre-contest before, Heidar og Haraldur with Botnledja and Arnar and Gudni with Dr. Spock
We don’t generally like the concept to compete in musical contests  but nevertheless this has been a great platform for us to help make the world a better place with a message that the world needs to hear.

When it comes to the results, there is only one ‘true’ winner, but many others fulfill their dreams/goals on the stage. What are your goals?Pollapönk was founded back in 2006 – what was the idea behind the formation of the band?

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.

Maybe it does sound a little bit of a cliché question, but what does music mean to you?

Music is the world for us. Music is our life. We listen to all kinds of music and are always searching for new music. Spotify was a dream come true for musical nerds like us. Now we can discover new things everyday.

The song No prejudice was mostly written by band members, and it is really great to see artists with their own written songs on stage. When it comes to writing, where are you getting inspiration from?

We are a live band that has a lot gigs and we write and play our own songs. Influences comes from all over the place. From, grunge to britpop, from Duran Duran to Wham and everything in-between.

There are songs that work very well on their own on the stage, while there are others which have to depend on the staging, choreography and presentation – what are your plans on the outlook of the stage for Eurovision? How are you planning to stage your entry in Copenhagen?

It ain´t broken then why try to fix it. There are meetings taking place every day on that matter. One thing’s for sure! It we be amazing!

Have you heard any of the songs competing at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Who are your favourites?

All the songs are good in their own way.

Save the best for last, they say – why No prejudice? What does the song mean to you – and what is your little message with it for Europe?

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 aged, heterosexual, white men like us. Being middle aged, 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!

What message would you like to give to your European fans and our readers on

No prejudice!. Spread the word.

 Esctoday would like to thank RUV, Pollapönk and their management for this interview. We would like to wish Pollapönk and Iceland the best of luck at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest.

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