Inspo: “It will start slowly and intimately and finish up with a full-blown party.”
In January, I got in contact with Inspo, who will be competing in Supernova 2022 with the song A Happy Place. I sent them a list of questions about their career, their song and their journey to Supernova, and this is what they sent back.
You can listen to their song here:
To start us off, to put it very simply: who and what is Inspo, and how did Inspo come to be?
Originally Inspo started out as a one-man project in 2020. Aivars had been on the Latvian music scene for some 15 years and decided to form his own project, initially with guest vocalists and some instrumental music that would cover most of his musical influences from ambient to metal. But everything changed in 2021 when Aivars heard Nadīna’s vocals for the first time at a local gig, and it was at that point that he knew he needed to get her involved in the band. That is when Inspo found its ‘true’ form, which combined modern guitar riffs and musical ideas with catchy indie vocals.
According to Music Feed, you are a “big fan of movie scores”, and you create “inspirational soundscapes” with “genre-crossing ideas”. How would you describe your music style and genre in your own words?
Yes, that is true, both of us are big fans of movie scores. There is a vast number of catchy scores by Hans Zimmer and Clint Mansell just to name a few. What we try to do (and hope that we succeed at least a bit) is to musically capture the different states of consciousness, grow on them and offer a sort of a ‘landscape’ of sounds that hopefully becomes somebody’s soundtrack of the day/week/month/year. Elements of that ‘landscape’ are quite obviously influenced by movie scores, ambient and post rock. So overall not easily defined but it definitely lies somewhere between modern rock/indie/alternative.
Over Christmas, you released covers of songs by Coldplay and Radiohead. Do you regard these bands as influences on your own music, and who / what else inspires you?
Yes, Coldplay has had a significant influence on our lyrical style and Radiohead has always fascinated with their unique time signatures, rhythms and the use of catchy melodies on top. But this is just the beginning of a bigger idea we have, which is covering some of our favourite and most influential pieces of music, which will span a wide selection of genres from indie to metal.
As for other inspirations that is a vast topic. Even though there are overlaps in our musical tastes, there are also differences. For example, Nadīna gets her inspiration from Ben Howard and Tash Sultana, Aivars from Spiritbox, God is an Astronaut and lots of classical music.
You’re a relatively young group who only formed recently. What do you think you can bring to Supernova, and, looking to the future, what would you like to get out of it?
We can bring a slightly different feel to the whole competition that maybe doesn’t sit perfectly within the common conception of a ‘regular’ Eurovision song, since the soft/heavy dynamics of the song bring a lesser explored musical path of the competition. If we look into the future, we would hope that this opens some doors to local festivals and gigs and maybe even a collaboration with one or more of our local musicians.
Your song, A Happy Place, was featured on an EP of other original songs called Space Between, released in November 2021. Did you know you’d be submitting a song for Supernova or was it a more recent decision?
No, we didn’t know we would be submitting it, but during the recording process we realized that it had a lot of ‘catchy’ potential that could be explored on a bigger stage.
Who / what was the inspiration for the song’s lyrics, and what messages and emotions are you trying to convey?
The main inspiration for the song was the global pandemic. It made us step aside and have a look on our society, how we interact, what kind of comments we make, how, and how often, we help each other. It made us realize that we all have similar issues and our hearts desire quite similar things, which is our own personal happy place.
Regarding the recurring line of your song, “Do you have some cash on you so we can fly away to a happy place?”, where is your happy place?”
Good question 🙂 A happy place for us is any place where you can feel truly yourself. But if we talk about physical places then for Nadīna it’s a campsite where she has worked for multiple summers helping orphans, and for Aivars it’s a place from his childhood where he spent most of his summers.
With 16 entries and a wildcard round, this year’s Supernova promises to be fairly open. Who do you think is your biggest competition, and, other than your own, which is your favourite entry, and why?
Since we are a new band, pretty much everyone is our competition. Our favourite entry is probably MĒS JŪS MĪLAM’s Rich Itch because of its funkiness and overall cool atmosphere.
Of course, the most recent winner of Eurovision was a rock song, and off the back of that success, Måneskin have quickly become household names all over the world. What were your thoughts about their victory, and do you think you have a chance of continuing this prominence of rock in Eurovision?
We are all for more rock songs at Eurovision! At least they broke the trend of a typical Eurovision dance/love song. It is not our goal to continue the trend, we are just doing our own thing that happens to include certain rock elements.
Any Eurofan will tell you that, it doesn’t matter if you have the best song in the world, if it’s not staged properly for a television spectacle, it will flop. Without giving away too much, what can we expect from your Supernova performance, and what might we expect from a potential Inspo Eurovision performance?
You can expect very opposite moods throughout the performance, it will start slowly and intimately and finish up with a full-blown party, but that’s about as far as we are going to get into it. 😊
Both from your country and elsewhere, what is your favourite Eurovision entry and why?
Two stand out: Margaret Berger’s I Feed You My Love, because it had one of the most original arrangements and a super catchy vocal line. Also, The Common Linnets’ Calm After The Storm, because of its indie mood and amazing lyrics.
While Latvia won the Contest in 2002, they have not done particularly well of late, failing to qualify for the final 10 out of the last 12 times. How do you think Latvia can start to change their fortunes at Eurovision?
We should not follow the trend of the previous winners but come up with something original even if it doesn’t fit in the standard Eurovision format. We believe taking risks is more important than taking a safe route, you might fail but for sure you will earn respect from a certain number of listeners.
What do the next few years look like for the band, if you win Supernova or not? Can we expect to see Inspo returning to Supernova, like a large percentage of this year’s entrants, or are you looking elsewhere?
We are planning to release our next EP/Album at the end of March/beginning of April. So far we have ideas for at least 7 songs. After that we are going to gig as much as possible during the summer and then work on the next album in autumn/winter of 2023. As for the Supernova competition, we have actually talked about this and we might send in another song for next year’s competition depending on how we perform this year.
And finally, some fun ESCBubble fan questions so we can get to know you a bit better:
If you weren’t musicians, what would your dream job be?
Aivars would like to be a journalist and Nadīna would love to be a surgeon.
Do you have any superstitions or rituals you perform before you go on stage?
Not really, just make sure that we are on the same page with the setlist
If you could share the stage with another artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Nadīna- I would share a stage with Ben Howard for emotional experience but for some fun experience with Coldplay because their shows look like so much fun.
Aivars – Muse for their explosive energy and Metallica for sentimental value.
Thank you so much to Aivars and Nadīna for giving your time to these questions, and best of luck from the ESCBubble team at the Supernova!
The semi-final is due to be broadcast on LTV on Saturday 5th February, with the final taking place the following week on 12th.