The Coco’nuts: “Latvia is full of many talented artists and performers”

Last week, I got to talk to Marija Valmeira, lead vocalist of indie jazz band The Coco’nuts, who’ll be competing at the semi-final of Supernova on Saturday 5th February with their song, In And Out Of The Dark.

You can watch the official video here:

Hi Marija! With just over a week to go until the semi-final of Supernova, how are you feeling?

We’re feeling excited, maybe a little bit anxious. We can’t believe that it’s so close and gonna happen so soon. We can’t wait for the big day, but still need to finish up some performance details.

Whose idea was it to compete at Supernova? Did you apply or were you approached by LTV?

It was probably the idea of our drummer, as nowadays he is the one who is organizing us more. But in the end, we all decided to apply for Supernova. And we weren’t approached by LTV, we applied on our own.

So, let’s talk about your career. We know you’ve been together since 2012, so you’re one of the more experienced bands in terms of those at Supernova 2022. How did you meet, and how did the Coco’nuts become a thing?

It was me who wanted to create a band. I met our guitar player at a friend’s birthday party, and we started to play together. Later on in a jam session, our drummer joined and then soon rest of us somehow met along the way. Our first gig as a band was in a small bar in late autumn of 2012. We didn’t know a lot about the music industry and how to make it but we just kept playing, creating music and learning on the way towards our goals.

In addition, why the rather peculiar name “Coco’nuts”? Where did that come from?

We were in a need of a name for our first gig and at that time “The Coco’nuts” seemed the right one and now we are sticking to it. There are quite a few legends about it but the truth is we just quite liked it.

According to your Facebook page, you describe your music style as “a mind-blowing musical jungle”. What does this mean, in your own words?

We are very different people in this band with different points of view in both life and music, and when we make music together, it’s a crazy colorful jungle.

You already have experience representing your country on the world stage, as, according to your website, you took part in an “international music festival in China”. We’d love to know more – what was that like?

It was wonderful and now it’s still hard to put all of the experiences in a few sentences. It was our first time in China and hopefully not the last. It’s so different to what we are used to. Starting from language, music, culture, food, basically everything. We performed on big and small stages, we were well taken care of and we met other wonderful bands from Europe. One of them were our neighbors from Estonia, an amazing band called “Puuluup”. We hope we will go back there someday soon!

Other than this, what is your favourite kind of concert to perform in and what is your favourite gig you’ve ever done?

It’s always wonderful to play in outside venues, as it gives so much space for music and people to be in. During our 9 years of existence we’ve had so many great gigs. In Tallinn, in China, Lithuania, France, and here in Latvia. It’s difficult to single out only one! We feed on the energy that comes from us and the audience, so if the vibe is right, the gig will be our favorite, till the next one.

Now, let’s talk about your song for Supernova: In And Out Of The Dark. It’s fair to say the lyrics take us on a journey between light and dark – what was the inspiration behind the song?

It’s our own experience in this life. The good days and the bad ones and what we take from them and the choices we make every day starting from what we do, what we eat, and what we wear, and ending with how we communicate with loved ones and strangers, and what substances we decide to use or not. It’s about how we treat this life we have been given and usually, it’s not that simple to learn and take the big step to move closer to the version of yourself that you want to be and actually are. Specifically for this song the first inspiration came as a question after one of my friends went through a rough time in his life.

Based on the studio version, In And Out Of The Dark is an extremely laid-back jazz song. How are you going to make it stand out on the Supernova, and potentially Eurovision, stage?

It’s an honor to hear you call it a jazz song, but it’s actually farther from it than you may think. Maybe it’s an indie-pop song with a pinch of soul and jazz? We often have difficulties describing our music in terms of genre. But as you said it stands out already cause usually there is a well-known format for songs that apply for Supernova and Eurovision but we still went with it, even though we consider ourselves to be outside the standard frame. We believe that’s to our advantage.

With so many returning artists at Supernova this year, it’s fair to say the competition is stacked. Who do you think is your biggest competition, and whose is your favourite song (other than your own, of course)?

It is stacked for sure. And we are glad to participate with these great artists together. It will be a wonderful and exciting evening for sure!

Our readers would consider themselves ardent Eurofans, who follow both Eurovision and everything associated with it. What does Eurovision mean to you guys? What is your favourite Eurovision memory?

It’s for sure the biggest music competition to participate in. And for all of us it reminds us of an absolutely wonderful time from childhood, when we were watching Eurovision together with our families. And of course, the favorite one is the one when Latvia won Eurovision! 😊 [2002, when Marie N won with I Wanna in Tallinn]. We are honored to be in the semi-finals and we will give our best performance so we can get to final, then to Italy and inspire other musicians to compose, to play and maybe participate in the future!

In recent years, Latvia has not done particularly well at Eurovision. The last time Latvia qualified for the final was in 2016, and Samanta Tīna, sadly, came dead last in Rotterdam last year. How do you think Latvia can turn around its Eurovision fortunes, and can you be the people to do that?

We absolutely can be the ones who change it. Latvia is full of many talented artists and performers. If it’s us or any other artist who will represent our wonderful country, I think we have it in us to still surprise the Eurovision fans and listeners!

What will be the first thing you do if you win Supernova?

Probably smile a lot and feel the happiness throughout our whole band and team. Enjoy the moment! That will be the first thing.

Finally, what does the future look like for the Coco’nuts, whether you win Supernova or not?

It looks very bright. We have a new album coming out this spring. We are very excited about it. We hope to gig around Latvia and Europe, we miss performing so much and the new album will be something crazy and exciting to play live!

And so, to some of our ESCBubble fan questions…

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re not performing / making music?

Chill, travel, spend time with family and friends, listen to some great music, and go hiking in the beautiful Latvian nature.

If you could perform with any musician or band, alive or dead, from anywhere in the world, who would it be and why?

That’s too hard to answer – there are so many! So let’s go for Ludwig van Beethoven cause it would be something that words can’t explain.

Picture this: I’ve just landed in Riga, I’m there for a weekend, I’ve never been before and I haven’t a clue where to start. What do I absolutely have to do / try while I’m there?

Go to the seaside and have a swim. Walk around the old town in the daytime and in the evening go and enjoy alternative places “Tallinas kvartàls” “H2O Kvartāls” “Kaņepes Kultūras centrs” and “M darbnīca” – these are cool places where you can really feel Riga to its fullest.


Thank you so much to Marija and the Coco’nuts for your brilliant answers, and we’ll see you at Supernova! Remember to vote in our poll below!


Also check out our other interviews with this year’s artists at Supernova 2022, plus many more national finals, here.


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