chats with A Friend In London (DMGP 2011)

A Friend In London are a four piece band hailing from Vostrup, Denmark, and will perform the song New Tomorrow in this weekend’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix. Three members of the band, Tim, Esben and Sebastian joined last week to talk about their band, their new found fame across the Atlantic, and a bit about Eurovision and the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix as well.

ED: Thanks for joining us guys. Your band name is rather unusual – can you tell us how you came up with it?

Esben: We came up with it out of a brainstorm actually. We wanted a name that could be a metaphor for a lot of the things we do, the thoughts we have about the band, and all of our fans and friends around the globe.

Tim: With me staying at a friend’s place in London, we thought about A Friend In London, and it sounded really good. Everybody knows and has an opinion about the city London. The name has really come together for us, and it’s become this thing about interaction with our fans, which we prefer to call Friends. That’s kind of what the name is about, and how we came up with it.

ED: Tell us a bit about yourselves as a band and how you met…

Sebastian: We met at a Danish school of theatre and music in 2003. After our stay at the school, Tim won a single recording of one of his sounds, and then he called me and the other guys and asked if we’d like to record the song with him.

E: We’re four guys with a very strong friendship, and we’ve spent all out time on this band which is now our baby. Sebastian, Ash and I lived together for almost two years now, and before that, all four of us lived together in a house by ourselves with a rehearsal room in the basement.

Photo: Jacob Schou

ED: As a band, you have had quite some success in Canada, can you tell us how this came about?

T: In 2008, we won the European final of Bodog Million Dollar Battle of the Bands, with more than 40.000 bands from around the world participating. This event ignited a spark for us in Canada and since 2009, we have had 3 really good tours in Canada in the state of Ontario, including shows at North by NorthEast (NXNE) and Canadian Music Week as well as a performance at Breakfast TV, the number one morning show in Toronto. And right after the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix we will be going on a new tour in Canada, playing at CMW for the second time in a row, and will also be performing at Breakfast TV again. Exciting!

ED: Tell us about how you came to be in this year’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix…..

S: We were contacted by the two songwriters who wrote the song. They were looking for a band to perform their song and they’d heard some good things about us so they asked us to perform it. At first we weren’t quite convinced about the idea, but when we heard the song we could see that it had a lot of potential and that it also fitted in very well with some of our own songs. So from that point on there wasn’t really much left for us to consider.

E: We had to rearrange the song when we took it up, and then again with the producer, but the product which came out of this process is superb.

ED: Given that the songs will only be released shortly before the contest, are you able to give our readers a bit of an idea about your song in the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2011?

T: Yeah for sure – well the song is first of all a very universal song and so is the message in it. It’s called a New Tomorrow and is about changing the world in the big picture, but what is so great about is that the message can be escalated down to all kinds of things in life. It’s kind of like Michael Jackson once perfectly said, “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change”.

We’re in the need of that message, even if it comes down to just yourself, you’re the only one who can make that new tomorrow, for you and for the world. So it’s a big message, but very clear to understand and handle. The sound of the song is very big too, like John Farnham’s song “You’re The Voice”…. Isn’t that the song he sings? I think it is… yeah well…. you get the picture 🙂

ED: You are performing as song number 10 in this year’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, which has the honour of producing half of the winners in the last ten years – do you feel lucky, or a bit pressured by this statistic?

T: Yeah we just heard that if you believe in statistics we will run off as this year’s winner …! We are so excited and nervous, because we would love to win, but there are a lot of qualified singers and artists in it this year, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. We’d like to be the underdog you know, but now as song number ten I guess we have to step it up and make the statistics count!

Photo: Jacob Schou

ED: Your music style is a bit different to what we have seen in the contest in the past. How do you think the Danish public will respond to your music in the contest?

S: Hopefully it will be very well received. The contest is open for all genres and we hope that people will find it to be a breath of fresh air seeing and hearing for guys play and sing their hearts out.

E: I believe that we have the right appeal to the Danish audience, to make it to Eurovision. Our style of music is different yes, but our style as an artist is different, and our style as people are different too, but we have a solid image, and the song will speak for itself.

E: Would you consider yourselves fans of the Eurovision Song Contest? Do you have a favourite Eurovision song or Eurovision moment?

E: A: I’m not really a fan-kind of guy. The only thing I’m a fan of is The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Radiohead. But my favourite Eurovision song is no doubt ‘My Star’ by the Latvian band ‘Brainstorm’. They participated in 2000 when Danish ‘Olsen Brothers’ won, and I actually think ‘My Star’ was a better song.

T: I’ve always watched the show since I was a kid, but then as I got older it kind of like slipped away and wasn’t important to me… BUT… then the Olsen Brothers came and changed that in 2001 I think it was with “Fly on the wings of love” – That was an amazing year and brought the whole country together as well as whole Europe, because it was again such a great song and message.

S: It was a very big moment for me when Denmark won the Eurovision back in 2000 with “Fly on the Wings of Love”. It really united the nation for a while, like when your national football team takes a trophy home.

A Friend In London will perform the song New Tomorrow in this Saturday’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2011, at 20.30 CET on DR1. You can listen to a clip of their song here. All at wish them the best of luck!