Ris Flower: ‘I want my music to sound modern, but to remind people of the 80s’

Boris Cvetanovski, stage name Ris Flower, is a singer/songwriter, multi instrumentalist, and record producer from North Macedonia. He’s competing in his country’s Eurovision selection Za Evrosong 2022, in the hopes of carrying the North Macedonian flag into the Pala Alpitour in Turin in May. Recently, he was kind enough to give ESCBubble some of his time to chat about his career and his plans for Eurovision, should he win.

We’ll find out the results of the North Macedonian online vote on Friday, 4th February! Until then, watch the highlights of our chat on YouTube, or browse the full transcript below to find out some extra info!

In the meantime, citizens of North Macedonia can vote online for their favourite, and be sure to check out his entry ‘Flying To Berlin’ for North Macedonia’s Za Evrosong!

[democracy id=”96″]

Dave: Thank you for doing this this morning. So why did you decide this year to submit a song to Za Evrosong?

Ris: So Hi, Dave, thank you for having me. It’s an honor to do this for you. Well, my team and I wanted to show the Euro fans all around the world in general, that although the large incident is filled with challenges there are so people are making modern music, good music, which is full with optimism. And we’re so lucky that we got in the final six.

Dave: It’s good this year, because Macedonia doesn’t do a final every year. So it’s a beautiful opportunity. So hopefully you keep doing that in the future. So your music is influenced by a lot of things. You cover a lot of genres. But you mentioned 1980s new alternative sounds. So when you were younger and getting into music, who were your biggest influences?

Ris: Well, I guess you’re right, my influence are mostly from the 80s. A lot of genres that came from that period inspired me but I would say that some iconic musicians like David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Prince, Billy Idol, also Nexus… are my idols, musical idols, and their music has a strong influence on me, and they inspired me to think and to write in this way. So I would say those genres are my cup of tea. I want to make music that is inspired by the 80s, but with a progressive sound. So I want my music to sound modern, but to remind the people of the 80s.

Dave: Yeah. And I think when you start listening to ‘Flying to Berlin’, you hear right away there’s a bit of 80s in there.

Ris: Yeah, thank you. By the way, how do you like the song?

Dave: It’s incredible. I’m glad they showed it first. I love how there’s nothing like it from the other five songs, so it really stands out.

Ris: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you.

Dave: I love it. I’ve already got it on my phone! So yeah, you cover you cover a lot. I mean, you’ve got 80s, you’ve got some indie rock, you’ve got some dance genres and your music as well. Your music covers so much. So what genre do you think you would call ‘Flying to Berlin,’ your song this year? Where does it fit?

Ris: Oh, I’m not a music critic. So I guess I guess someone else should, should fit this song in this genre in a specific genre, but everything that covers rock music is my cup of tea. I like to guitar a sound just because when I write when I write a song, I do that on my guitar. And I put my whole energy and emotion in my guitar. So everything that has a guitar in a song is good for me. But sometimes, you know, some song requires different arrangements, a different approach and requires some instrument it depends on the song and this is why you can find in my music you can find different different different genres. Sometimes, some elements of indie house are required for some songs some times some elements of jazz are required. Some require so I want to I went to make experiments in music I think that what music’s about and I’d have a habit to do that. But rock is definitely my genre.

Dave: So are there any genres that you would like to experiment with in the future or there’s some that you would maybe want to stay away from?

Ris: Well, I want to get more blues and jazz? I would say, and I want to stay away from folk.

Dave:  Yeah, at Eurovision there hasn’t been a lot of jazz lately, but there’s been a lot of like ethnic folk songs. 

Ris: Yes. I, I have noticed that that’s just not my cup of tea though.

Dave: Yeah. Well that’s it, why why force it? It wouldn’t work then.

Ris: Yeah, sure.

Dave: So you said you like to write your songs with your guitar when you can? So is that how you wrote ‘Flying to Berlin’? How did that song come about?

Ris: Well, no, this song just came into my head, you know, the lyrics came in maybe half an hour, and then I got my guitar, and, you know, suddenly the chords just put their place accordingly. And the process was the pursuit of this song, I wrote this song, by the way, two years ago. And it is a part of, I would say a bigger project is it’s a compilation of songs that combined each other in a story. So this song is the song from one story that I lived in my life and other souls are still not released, but the fans in the audience will have a chance in the next year to listen to them. So you know, when I got the guitar, and when I started singing this phrase, “there is a morning she’s flying to Berlin”, I knew immediately that this is going to be a good piece.

Dave: Okay, so Berlin is not an accident, something happened in or somebody went to Berlin!

Ris: You know, I’m a singer songwriter, all the songs that I have written, have their own soul, and they have their own story. You know, I write because I’m inspired from my everyday life. So everything that I have written has, it’s something in it, you know, its own spirit. So, yes, of course.

Dave: So when this project started two years ago, it seems like you were just coming back to social media at the time. You had put out a lot years ago under your name Boris, but then you came back with the name Ris Flower. So can you explain at all why there was a break for a few years, and then you came back with a new stage name?

Ris: Well, yeah, you know, until 2016, I, I was a part of a rock band in Macedonia and we were making song in Macedonian, but then it was a teenage band I would say and after that, I said yeah, I decided that I need a break from everything. Also from the from the social media, and this is why I switched off everything and then I got into a creative mode and I started writing songs I started writing so many songs. And I started writing in English as well and this is how the idea for Ris Flower was born. I came up with an idea that these songs are really good and that they have a potential for an international breakthrough and then I thought okay, maybe you know, Boris Cvetanovski is not so good for as name as a surname for international breakthrough and I decided to translate that into English and that is how I came up with flower. By the way flower means ‘cveke’ in Macedonian, so this is why I put it in my stage name. Yes, and then I guess got in touch with very good and well known Turkish producers and musicians, by the way, they are the guys who worked with Eurovision winner Sertab Erener from 200[3]. This is the team that stands behind me and together we have first we recorded our songs transluscent and then ‘Set Me Free’ and then ‘Set Me Free’ the acoustic version and then we recorded a live session and then we recorded our single clip, and then we recorded ‘Flying to Berlin’ and apply to Za Evrosong. And yes, here we are.

Dave: Okay, fair enough. So are you a Eurovision fan yourself?

Ris: Wow. I guess? Yes, I guess so.

Dave: Since you mentioned Turkey at Eurovision, have you seen any of the shows? Do you remember any winners? Or do you have any memories?

Ris: Yeah, actually actually one song that represented Turkey is my favorite from Eurovision. It is Athena’s ‘For Real’ [2004]. Do you remember?

Dave: No, no, no, because it’s not popular here. And it made the news a few years ago when Conchita won for Austria. She made the news here. So I found it on YouTube. And I said what the hell is this? I started watching it and so I’ve only known it for a couple of years. I only know like the really recent stuff. Because when, I tell my friends here and watching Eurovision they say wait, what’s that? But some of them some of them know now because of the Netflix movie, the Will Ferrell movie. Yeah, but they often think it’s just a movie. They don’t know it’s a whole thing.

Ris: No, I suppose it’s a whole show and you know, it’s so serious for our countries. We get that. So serious. Where are you from?

Dave: I’m in Canada in a very small place. The sun is just coming up now. It’s still dark. I’m very jealous. I can see sunlight on your face. 

Ris: Yeah, we have a lot of sunny days, here.

Dave: You know, but it must be like how many other turn of the how many other international events are there where smaller European countries get a spotlight like this. Like maybe football. But that’s not all the time either. And in football, you have to win to get noticed. But in Eurovision everybody always starts off with the same exposure as every other country. So it’s an excellent opportunity. 

Ris: That’s correct. That’s the This is why Eurovision for our country is one of a kind. And it’s so important.

Dave: Have you had a chance yet to rehearse ‘Fly to Berlin’ yet?

Ris: Well I posted a video on YouTube yesterday where I played some in studio, my guitar. Maybe you have seen it or not? I will show it to you. So yeah. Well, this summer requires a lot of energy. And this is something that is my I would say biggest weapon if I represent my country on the Eurovision the energy will be you know, at the highest level of stage. And I have tried to sing in life this song a lot of times, and I really enjoy it. You know, you can you can see it in the video. It’s live live session in the studio.

Dave: Okay, if you win, so we’re gonna cross your fingers, and you get to go to Torino, how would you like to look? Have you thought yet that far ahead, what it might look like on a big stage. Like what you would want to do?

Ris: I would say it’s gonna be a great rock show. And I haven’t thought of it yet.

Dave: Well you still have a few months so that make sense. Now going forward, whether you win or lose doesn’t matter, do you have any plans yet? For after this competition, will you release some more music? Or maybe go on tour?

Ris: Oh, yeah, as I mentioned, the new material, I would say, that an album will be released in the first part of this year. It’s a conceptual album. And the songs with their lyrics are combined with with each other, and also preparing the official cover of a famous song by by a very famous British band. And we are waiting for the for this situation, what’s gonna happen, I don’t know what will happen with the COVID situation. And it depends a lot for the live shows. So I know that live performances are important for me, for my career. And I’m, I would say, the best on stage, you know, with, with my bands and with live performing, live emotions, etc. So we are all waiting for the COVID to finish.

Dave: Do you have any last message for any of your fans that might be watching or the followers of ESCBubble?

Ris: It’s hard to find followers of ESCBubble I would say that, guys, belief in yourself, and never give up on your dreams. And, you know, everything is possible? Because everything is possible. And we will fly to Turin!

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