Latvia: The Aarzemnieki Interview

by Vasileios Terzopoulos 553 views

Today we are heading to the Baltics for our next interview in our series of the 2014 Eurovision ESCToday Interviews, namely to Latvia. We land in the beautiful Latvian capital city of Riga, where we catch up with the 2014 Latvian Eurovision representatives Aarzemnieki who speak to us about their forthcoming Eurovision participation and entry. We learn how to Bake a cake with the Latvian hopefuls!

We would like to know the story behind the formation of Aarzemnieki? How did you guys meet and how did you decide to form the group?

“Aarzemnieki” began as a German guy, Jöran Steinhauer wrote a farewell song to the Lat currency, aptly naming the song „Paldies Latiņam!“ (“Thank you, Lat!”).  Later, the video became a Youtube sensation.  The popularity surrounding the song was so large that Jöran decided to pack his bags and make his way to Latvia with one thing in mind- “let’s see what happens next!” However Jöran has actually been connected with Latvia since 2005 as he was a exchange student there. Later he volunteered at a children’s centre and in the German church of Riga. The story behind the “Aarzemnieki” (Foreigners) group’s name is quite precise due to Jöran’s status in Latvia. The word’s complicated pronunciation reflects each foreigner’s struggle to integrate into the local society. In the fall of 2013, the group grew from a solo act with three new members- violinist and vocalist Katrīna Dimanta, drummer Raitis Viļumovs and pianist Guntis Veilands.

 You have stated that you ‘have a special perspective to the show’. Could you explain this further?

Eurovision is very important for us, because it is the biggest music competition between so many countries. To have the chance to sing for Latvia is fantastic! Our vocalist Jöran Steinhauer is always up to date about the ESC, he even took part at the Latvian Pre-Selection already in 2008. Besides it is not a secret anymore that Brainstorm (Latvian band which participated at the ESC in year 2000) made Jöran such a fan of Latvia and the Contest. Another group member Katrīna has also been at the National Finals in Latvia, it was in year 2009 with a band named “Camillas” and the song “Time goes”.

The message of your song is clear, positive and optimistic. What is advice would you give to you listeners?

The song “Cake to Bake” has a melody that helps to come closer to the people hearts. It is a “sticky”, bright and cheerful song, which has a bit of humour and at the same time has something to tell… – Dear listeners, we hope you enjoy our song and don’t be shy, we will be happy if you sing and dance together with us!

What is the best and most delicious recipe for a cake?

The best recipe for a cake has always the mother! Her cakes are much better as those in the Restaurants. It is not some type of cake, like strawberry or chocolate, it’s just “Cake made by Mama” :

Do you guys cook at home? Who is the best cook out of you?

In the moment we don’t have a time to cook. Best cook of us? (all four band members answering)

  • Katrīna: “Jöran!”
  • Jöran: “Guntis!”
  • Guntis: “Raitis!”
  • Raitis: “Katrīna!”

Apart from your cake there is also a cheesecake in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest? Is this contest after all a matter of good taste and attractive ‘flavours’?

It’s not so much about the food as the story behind it.

Our song “Cake to Bake” says – don´t be too proud to admit to your fails or lack of knowledge, go and ask for help and learn something new. Basically – everything is possible, like to melt the ice of the polar caps, for instance 😉 (a line from the song)

We don’t understand why TEO doesn’t want to be a sweet cheesecake. Actually it is a nice nickname. If this name is free (since TEO refuses being called like that) maybe we should name one of our band members like that? 🙂

How are you planning to stage your entry on stage in Copenhagen? Will you bake a cake?

The stage performance remains authentically the same. Maybe we will have some dancing cakes on the stage, who knows 😉

What are your career plans after Eurovision Song Contest and what is your  ultimate and biggest career dream?

We don’t have a time to think about anything else, only ESC. In these weeks our main goal is to give a perfect performance in Copenhagen. That is so wonderful, that we are taking part in Eurovision, we can’t almost believe it.

The ideal future would be to have the opportunity to remain being musician and make people happy with our music, but why should we speak about future, we must enjoy the moment 😉

You filmed a very original, happy go lucky preview video clip for your entry. What was the inspiration behind it?

Our music video was filmed in the Open Air museum of Latvia in Riga. It is situated in a quiet place next to a forest. We invited people to come and sing with us. It was a fun day! We wanted to keep everything as natural as possible. No special effects in the video and no choreographed moves. Just like our performance on the stage.

Have you listened to any of the other songs competing in the Eurovision this year? Which are your favourites?

We have heard all the songs. But we don’t have any favourites yet. Maybe we will have one, when we see the performances live 😉

How are you planning to promote your entry in Europe? Any tours on your agenda?

We would love to do a promo-tour, but that is too expensive. However we are trying to travel as much as we can. We would like to visit all the countries, but sorry, Eurovision is in May already.

Do you have a special message for your European fans and for the readers on readers?

Dear friends and fans, thank you very much for being a part of Eurovision. Without you, the ESC wouldn’t exist. You understand the importance and the positive idea of it. Musical and tasty greetings from “Aarzemnieki” 🙂 would like to thank Aarzemnieki and LTV for this interview. We would like to wish Aarzemnieki and Latvia the best of luck for the fortchoming Eurovision Song Contest!