This weekend sees the start of Supernova, Latvia’s National Selection process and ESCBubble will be blogging all the events as they happen, starting with Sunday’s first Quarter Final!
We have also been lucky enough to catch up with a few of the performers to get to know them and their entries a bit better.
Tonight we bring you Janis Lipsans (aka Pikaso) who will be appearing in Sunday’s show, with his song U (Can Keep Your Cools)
You are a new name to Supernova this year, what can you tell us about Pikaso?
Yes, I am indeed a freshman, but I reckon that’s also to be attributed to hip hop in context. That’s basically what I represent. I’ve been working on my craft for years and it’s been rather local thus far, except for performing at the Tallinn Music Week.
Pikaso is about drawing with words given that lyrics are important and I deliver these in my own style. Also production-wise with the music. I come from the times when it all really started to gain steam here in Latvia – in the late ’90s – and we’ve come a long way to be finally claiming the spot of so-called popular music, although rap is still considered alternative to the most part.
From reading the lyrics, your track for Supernova seems to be a real social commentary. What can you tell us about it and how it came to be part of the selection?
The other night I caught myself trying to justify the narrative for what the song is not about. Just like the song by Kanye West where he would say “..now, everything I’m not made me everything I am’’. The lyrics derive from the very notion of “NOT’’ and leads towards the approval of doing the very thing what one is to do. Period. The obstacles, our insecurity that we project on others around us, the mass stereotypes, the struggle, the “I do have an idea of what I truly want to do in life and realize myself, so please feel free to keep your scepticism’’. This is soul music to me, this is that motivation you may wanna call upon yourself to provide.
There is no video for “U (Can Keep Your Cools)” on YouTube for fans to watch. Was this a conscious choice?
Video is in the making and we are to shoot this in the coming week. I haven’t been friendly with YouTube, I know, but there’s no particular reason that I’ve thought about hesitating. I put out most of my stuff over at Vimeo.
Whilst doing my research, I did find this collaboration between yourself and Dons “Ir, Bija un Būs” – how did this come about?
That right there was just me trying to pick the vocal to deliver on the chorus. Dons was open to participate and delivered his side of it, and I am happy how it turned out. He has a rather unique voice and he nailed it.
What do you get up to when you are not performing?
Oh, well, I got things to do. [laughing off] 3 kids are a lot of responsibility to handle and I am falling behind the curve all the time. I suppose that I am going all in with this, to be able to provide for them with music. But it is far from enough these days, so I gotta work on my break-through. I got little things going on here and there, but I haven’t settled down for a while now enough to call something my day job.
It’s funny when you go into a classroom[true story] and you ought to be representing a father figure, going about it like : Hi there, my name is Janis and I am a rapper. Sure enough, this may sound cool and all, and I would laugh to myself when the kids go ’’I don’t know what it is, but it sounds provocative!’’ – but on a serious note, it doesn’t always put the food on the table and you gonna compromise.
How are you preparing for your appearance at the weekend?
Pretty much a routine work with rehearsal sessions. The main focus is on the back-vocalists, they don’t have that much of a TV experience, but i think we are gonna do just fine. The chorus itself contains my vocals laid on the track, so that should pass on the flavour of how it should sound to 3 other people now, and that may be a bit of a challenge. But we’ll do just fine, I trust these guys 100%.
At the end of the day, this is not about Supernova, but my aspirations regards to the EP “Yes, i am. Who knew.’’ due this year. One step at a time.
What can you tell us about the Latvian music scene at the moment? Do you think that the recent successes in Eurovision have helped more artists come
There is a variety of music coming out – I’m not sure if the particular success by Aminata or Justs contribute to the scene as a whole, but it definitely serves as an encouragement to young artists to speak up and speak out. I dig the jazz scene though.
What are your plans following Supernova – anything on the horizon?
The follow-up would be the EP “Yes, i am. Who knew.’’ and exploring the show-case festivals.
Finally, just some quick questions to get to know you a bit better :
What music are you listening to right now? Anderson Paak (American rapper and songwriter)
What’s your favourite book? “Slaughterhouse – Five’’ by Kurt Vonnegut.
What’s your favourite food? Pasta.
Who would you like to perform on stage with? Chilly Gonzales (Canadian songwriter, pianist and producer)
Thank you so much for your time Janis, and good luck for Sunday’s Quarter Final 🙂
You can watch Supernova along with myself and Joe as we live blog all the action – all the information on the performers, songs, and details of how the contest is going to work can be found here.
And if Pikaso is one of your favorites in the first heat of Supernova, you can cast your vote for him, and three other acts in our poll right here:
See you all on Sunday at 2025CET, 1925GMT and 2125 EET!