We are almost at the first “Super Saturday” of the Eurovision season, but with still so much more to look forward to, we are looking ahead to Estonia’s selection “Eesti Laul”, which kicks off on February 13th with the first of two semi-finals, ahead of the Grand Final, at the Saku Suurhall on February 29th.
One of the acts competing in the second semi-final, on February 15th, is Ziggy Wild, the Estonian rock band comprising of members Laura Prits (vocal), Henri-Hannes Sell (drums) Sander Nõmmistu (guitar) and Valdur Viiklepp (bass). Their pedigree includes opening for such acts as Carlos Santana and Status Quo!
We had a chance to chat with their lead singer, Laura Prits about opportunities, influences and what’s in store for Ziggy Wild.
Hi Laura, and welcome Ziggy Wild to Eesti Laul! Ziggy Wild have been around for quite some time, why haven’t we seen you as a band in Eesti Laul before now?
We must admit it’s not the first time we send our song to Eesti Laul. It’s actually the third time, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect. It means a lot to us, that our song got chosen and it’s a song we are really proud of and can’t wait to play it live in Eesti Laul!
Laura, you competed as a solo artist in 2017, how did that come about? ‘’Hey Kiddo’’ was written in a songwriting camp in Estonia. It was actually my first time participating in a songwriting camp and I didn’t know what to expect. Everyone split into different groups and in my group there was one super talented Swedish songwriter Tara Nabavi and one really successful Estonian artist and producer NOËP. The idea of the camp was to put together one producer/songwriter, one lyrics writer / melody writer and one artist/singer and in 8 hours we had to write a song! I remember when we sat in the hotel room/studio it was 10am (for me it’s a pretty early time to write music) and we had this kind of laid back morning vibe. Andres Kõpper (aka NOËP) was playing something on the piano and me and Tara were just humming different melodies. Somehow we found a hook and the rest came with one hour. It was really natural process and I just felt this song should talk about best friends who let you be you and sometimes drag you even into troubles, but it’s all fun and part of life.
I’m really happy with the result and with the whole experience and I really liked that the morning chill vibe was in the song, but at the same time it had a lot of girl power in it. We also made my first music video ever for that song together with super amazing team with Laura Lisete Roosaar, Mart Vares and Sander Allikmäe and a big production team.
Let’s talk about “Lean On Me”, your entry for this year – it’s a brilliant slice of classic rock sound and lyrics, but delivered in a way that isn’t at all formulaic – how was the writing process for it, and was the song always going to be submitted for Eesti Laul?
That was actually first song that we wrote together with our new guitarist Sander Nõmmistu. We had a songwriting camp in the summer of 2019 in July in our rehearsal room and we were trying out different ideas and listening to some recordings of our ideas. But our guitarist Sander started playing the riff and we had just finished brainstorming for a different song titles, but it didn’t feel like it matched any one of them. We tried it with the whole band and when we got to the chorus I started singing suddenly ‘’Lean on Me’’…tadadadada and we did it few times over and over again and just like ‘’Hey Kiddo’’ we had the song ready in less than an hour! This time the lyrics writing process was a bit longer, because I really felt that I wanted to write them by myself, because I could see the storyline in my head when I was listening to the instrumental recording. I knew that this is going be a love story that talks about a woman who is willing to be the support of the man who doesn’t love her. It’s that kind of love story you know it’s not going to be healthy, it doesn’t have a happy ending but you still want to be a part of it. Even if you know you’re going to get hurt you still want to try! I really like to write lyrics that have a storyline because when I listen to music and when a song moves me I see a movie in my head.
We had a really cool opportunity to work with one really great director in Estonia, Hindrek Maasik who captured our idea perfectly in a music video.
We also had a really cool Estonian tattoo and jewelry artist, Keefirivunts, who fitted perfectly in the male role in the music video.
I’ve had a great time researching your musical history, I noticed that you always sing in English, is there any temptation to deliver your sound in Estonian?
We haven’t actually thought about it. It comes kind of automatically that all the lyrics are in English. I’ve also written lyrics in Estonian but it’s quite tricky to write a rock song in Estonian that wouldn’t soften the edges of the song. Maybe in the future we will try something but right now we are focused writing music in English.
Your voice Laura, reminds me very much of Pat Benetar, who would you say are your musical influences in general?
As weird as it sounds a lot of singers whom I look up to are male singers. Dave Grohl, Rob Zombie, Robert Plant, Steven Tyler, Jay Buchanan, Chris Cornell, Yelawolf etc. I really like the power in rock music and deepness in the male voices. From female rock singers I really love that raspiness and dirty sound, but also powerful vocals with great vocal technique. My favourite female rock singers are Taylor Momsen from Pretty Reckless, Lzzy Hale with her super powerful voice and stage presence in Halestorm, but I also like that garage rock sound in Deap Vally. From the old school ladies, Joan Jett is one of my favourites and Tina Turner who is such a bad ass and a power house on the stage! For me the emotion on the stage is really important. I want to make people feel like they’re in the bubble outside of this universe when they are at our concerts. Just to be in the moment and let yourself free and not to worry about what others think. The beautiful thing in rock music is that it’s the most perfect when it’s not perfect!
The winner of Eesti Laul will represent Estonia at the Eurovision Song Contest, is this your ultimate goal from your appearance? Do you follow Eurovision at all?
This means so much to us that our song got chosen to be one of the 24 songs in Eesti Laul. That itself is a really big thing for us. It would be beyond amazing if ‘’Lean on Me’’ would win the hearts of the Estonians and people vote for us to participate in Eurovision, but we are already happy with opportunity just to show our music to a wider audience and that is our biggest goal so far.
What plans do Ziggy Wild have for the rest of 2020? I think of you very much as a live band, any tour dates on the horizon?
We have some festivals already booked, but can’t say it out loud yet when and where exactly we will perform this year but the closest show is coming in Norway (edit : sadly, this was just before publication of this interview), Ål in Sundreball winter festival. We can’t wait to play there, because Norwegians have a really strong and cool bond with rock music. We have been there once before and we have a bright memory of a taxi ride where all of the radiostations played super nice rock music. We can’t wait to be back there. Also we are planning to release some new music so if you are interested keep an eye on our Facebook artist page and Instagram @ziggywildest
Thank you Laura for finding the time to chat with us, best of luck for the second semi final on February 15th!
You can watch the video for “Lean On Me here, or listen via this Spotify link!
Who is your favourite to win Eesti Laul 2020? Vote in our poll below for YOUR winner of semi-final 2, and stick with us here on ESCBubble as we bring you all the news and the best interviews in the run up to the Eesti Laul final, which of course we will bring you live from the Saku Suurhall on February 29th!