ESCBubble caught up with Zebra Island recently, who are appearing in the first semi final of Eesti Laul on February 13th 2016.
Zebra Island are an electronic pop group from Tallinn, made up of the members Helina Risti, Rasmus Lill, Caspar Salo and Ivar Mägi. We spoke with Helina regarding the band and the upcoming Eesti Laul performance of their song “How Many Times”
How and where were Zebra Island formed? Have any of you done anything in music prior to being in the band?
Zebra Island was born in the autumn of 2011, when our composer Rasmus found me (Helina) and asked if I would like to start a band with him. We started recording on the same day and created our first song, Falling Through. We soon realised that we want to make live concerts and with less than a month we found ourselves on stage. Our group consists of Rasmus, the mastermind behind all our songs and on keyboards, Caspar on drums, our new member Ivar Mägi on guitar and I am singing.
Have any of you done anything in music prior to being in the band?
We all have been bound to music and making music long before Zebra Island. I used to sing since I was 17 in an indie group called Bad Apples. Rasmus also has had different projects, one of the most interesting ones was Kosmofon, space indie. Caspar is the only professionally educated musician in our band, who has played (and still does) in so many bands, that if I’ll start to name them all, we won’t see the end of this interview! Ivar is the real mystery man – nobody knows about his background and how he learned to play the guitar so well. He just comes. And goes. And can play. No questions asked.
How did you get to be involved in Eesti Laul this year?
We targeted Eesti Laul actually a year ago too, with our song Lights & Shadows. I still love that song, we released a video for that just two months ago. As it seems, it’s always worth another try. Like our this year’s songs line says: “Oh no, we won’t stop no matter what!”
I’ve listened to “How Many Times” so many times! Fantastic bit of synth pop in my opinion, how did you choose this as your Eesti Laul entry over some of your other songs?
The idea behind “How Many Times” is to make the listeners feel better and stronger. Life never stands still, that’s the beauty of it – living, breathing, moving. Changes in yourself and other people may be frightening, but we should accept them and never give up. It’s hard to make any solid plans if life is in constant fluctuation, and we should be flexible, like chameleons play along with the surroundings and situations. How many times should we accept these changes, how many times do we need to start all over again? Well, as much as it takes.
Do you have any ideas about how you will stage it that you can tell us about?
We love the duality of our existence – day and night, pain and pleasure, black and white – one can’t exist without the other. That’s what Zebra Island is about – a dance battle between two contrasting colours that in beautiful harmony become a graceful zebra in a colour spectrum. Changing light and magical colours of the Northern lights have always intrigued us, and we see our music through a colourful lens. Also, I’m very fond of emeralds. I have always loved this beetle green color. And ohh, the sparkling jewels, the more the better. These were the hints for my costume, that’s all I can tell so far.
What are you looking forward to about Eesti Laul?
That as many people as possible could hear our music. This is the only way how the right people will find the way to us.
Do you usually follow Eurovision, do you have a favourite Estonian entry?
We usually don’t follow it so madly. But partly yes, I think my favourite Estonian entry was Robin Juhkental in year 2010 with his song “Siren”. But from the passion and strong female power I love Tanja as an artist.
Thank you Helina for answering our questions, we wish you the best of luck!
Listen to “How Many Times” right here: