Double Faced Eels: ‘We have been preparing in every way we could think of’

The second semi final of Latvia’s Supernova takes place tomorrow evening, and we caught up with one of the acts competing to be Latvia’s representative in Tel Aviv, the ‘Double Faced Eels’. The band are entering with their song ‘Fire’ and have already gained a lot of support in the online polls, making them one of the favourites to win the selection!

We had a nice chat with band members Marka (Martins Gailitis) and Reinis Straume about the band’s participation:

Hi guys, Can you tell us a little about the band and how the current line-up came about?

Reinis: ‘The band originally formed as a punk-rock outfit back in 2004-2005, but we’ve been playing more or less in this line-up since 2010. 2016 marked the beginning of a stylistic shift towards a more radio-friendly format for us and with that came two changes — I sing lead now and Martins (widely known as Marka) is the almighty producer. We songwrite together.’

And the band’s name is an interesting one for sure, is there any story about how the band became known as the Double-Faced Eels?

Reinis: ‘Sure. It’s a good one. The legend goes that Marka was seeing this girl, the father of whom had some sort of disagreement with Marka and called Marka a “two-faced eel” in Latvian. Marka really liked this name and he and the other band mates at the time started calling each other that. This was wonkily translated into Double Faced Eels and the mistranslation stuck.’

Reinis, you were in the second season of Latvia’s x-faktor (is that correct?), how was that experience and how do you think that has helped you to build your career over recent years?

Reinis:You are correct. I got into the live-show-part of the show and left on the 4th episode in a double-elimination. The experience was very valuable for me – I learned a ton about being on a stage of that size, made many contacts and, most importantly, introduced myself to a wider audience here in Latvia. I’m sure some of it will help in Supernova, as well. Thank you, X Faktors Latvia!’

What made you want to return to a competitive process such as Supernova?, is it something you have thought about for a long time?

Marka: ‘We flirted with the idea for a couple of years now and now, after our success on YouTube’s “Best.Cover.Ever” in the USA last year, this seemed like a very good plan for 2019 – proving ourselves in our home country and, who knows, maybe in Europe!’

The band covered Bebe Rexha’s ‘In The Name Of Love’ to great acclaim in YouTube’s ‘Best Cover Ever’

You’ve already had a hit with the Latvian version of the song ‘Liesma’.  When deciding to enter Supernova did you give any thought about entering the song in Latvian, and if not, why did you see it as so important to sing it in English?

Marka: ‘Actually, the song was originally created in English. The Latvian lyrics were written only a few months later. So that’s one reason — the song comes from an English-speaking space (although we are rather happy with the way it turned out in Latvian, as well). The other reason is that we want the message of the song to come across for as many people in the audience as possible. Sure, you can get a non-verbal or extra-linguistic message across as well, but we want our song to really reverberate with people on as many levels as possible.’

Can you tell us a little about the song and the message within it?

Reinis: ‘The song is about a person who has a dream, a goal, a vision and doesn’t let anything stop them on their way towards that. That driving force takes on the form of the titular “fire”. The chorus is meant to be like a mantra to anyone on a similar path — “whatever comes my way, I’ll be alright, because I’ve got that fire burning deep inside”.

We spoke with Edgars Kreilis a few days ago and he mentioned that he had decided to change the title of his song to ‘Cherry Absinthe’ because you also had a song called ‘Fire’.  Would you have been concerned about having the same title, and did you talk to Edgars about it at all?

Reinis: ‘No, we didn’t really talk to Edgars about it and we weren’t all that worried about both songs having the same title, because the songs are really quite different. Of course, it’s nicer now that there’s no room for confusion, and I personally feel the new title fits Edgars’ song much better.’

Marka, we noticed that your name was amongst the writing credits for Elza Rozentale’s song which unfortunately didn’t progress from the first semi-final.  How did it feel having two songs in the competition and were you relieved when they were drawn into different semi-finals?

Marka: ‘I actually produced/co-produced 3 songs in this year’s Supernova and two of them are in this semi-final. Our song and Kristiāna Bumbiere’s “Remedy”. Of course in a way, it may be nicer if your songs are divided between semi-finals, but we can’t really do anything about it. In my opinion, I think the second semi-final is going to be much tougher to win, because the songs in it are better.’

Did you watch the first semi-final, and what did you think of the show?, I imagine you can’t wait to get onto that stage this weekend!

Marka: ‘We did watch the first semi-final – watching it and learning from it is a second-semi-final-contestant privilege that would be irresponsible to pass up. The first semi-final was professional; I feel that the songs presented there could compete with what’s on European radio. The harder part is doing those songs justice live, and that is what will be decisive in determining who wins in Supernova 2019.’

You can listen to Double Faced Eels’ song ‘Fire’ here:

Is ‘Fire among your favourites in Semi 2?, would you like to see it qualify for the final? – you can vote in our poll right here:

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