Alex Callier to Songfestival.be: ‘An uptempo song? Maybe next year, who knows?’
No Eurovision this year. That means Hooverphonic is parked on the couch for a year. Alex Callier responded yesterday through a press release and later in the Belgian talkshow Vandaag. In an interview with Songfestival.be, he gets deeper into this rather historic cancellation. ‘I don’t think the Walloon broadcaster dares to demand that RTBF should be doing it in 2021. But should it come to that, RTBF can still call us,’ he laughs. He also let us in on something small about the act we would have seen this year.
Alex Callier speaks to us by phone, he also secluded himself at home. ‘It is not that bizarre for me to work on my own in my studio all day. But it is very strange that you do not have social contacts,’ he starts. Callier is already thinking of Rotterdam 2021: ‘I have a lot of free time, so I could already start writing a new song for next year! We should go next year, right?’
Will we see Hooverphonic next year?
Good question! Do we actually see the group in The Netherlands next year? The Spanish and Greek broadcaster are ready to say that the candidates of 2020 will also be on the Eurovision stage next year. While VRT first wants to consult with the EBU and RTBF, for example, because Belgium has a turn-based role to select submissions. Alex sees no problems in this: ‘I don’t think that in these circumstances, the Walloon broadcaster needs to demand that it be up to RTBF in 2021. VRT and RTBF alternate every year and this year it simply does not take place, so VRT remains. But should it come to that, the Walloon broadcaster can still call us.’ (laughs)
Alex would like to go to the Eurovision Song Contest with Hooverphonic next year. ‘I’m waiting, but if you ask me, Hooverphonic will keep the job. I don’t know why not? The selection team went to great lengths to get us, so why would those plans change,’ he says.
Could we get a new song?
The artist from Sint-Niklaas would like to go to Rotterdam with a different song. Because Release Me is already ‘old news‘ next year. Alex: ‘Next year I will choose a great song all over again. With or without a lift (a difference of pitch, ed.), I don’t care. I can imagine that we now need a happy and uptempo song. I may write something like that, but it is too early to say anything about it.’
And what about that ode to ABBA (a song that was also on the table as an entry, ed.)? ‘Yes, I am already getting messages, asking if we will bring that tribute to ABBA in 2021. By the way, that song will not remain in our slide, you will probably hear it sometime. Anger Never Dies has been on the shelf for six years. When we release a song, everything has to be right,’ Alex says.
‘Just like in the movies’
Release Me is a very personal song for the founder of Hooverphonic. But it will never be heard at a festival. ‘I’m sorry, yes. The act was done; everything was fine. Despite all the criticism in our own country, we as Hooverphonic, were very proud of Release Me. The road to Eurovision was very nice and that is now gone of course.’ Callier even says something about the act they were going to do: ‘It was going to be a very cinematic act. With a lot of atmosphere. Almost like in a real cinema. Sober, but very beautiful. That’s all I want to say about it.’
Russia for the win
Hooverphonic has worked with the VRT towards May 2020, which is now off the table. But according to Alex, the audience does not miss many musical gems. ‘Again there was a lot of plastic,’ he says honestly. ‘While I loved the festivals of the past three years, I was a little disappointed this year. With this electronic music and euro dance, it looked like we returned to the nineties this year. Our song really stood out. Because if you wanted to vote for a song with little emotion, you almost had only one option: Belgium!’ Alex continues: ‘If we had wanted to act silly, Russia could have won for my part! That’s full camp and over the top. I didn’t think the Icelandic song was special enough. It didn’t linger long enough. My personal favorite was the Italian entry.’
‘Postpone is the best option’
The organization has briefly looked for other scenarios to allow Eurovision to take place. But according to Callier, the right decision was made. ‘Postponing is the best solution at the moment. It was briefly said to let every artist perform from a TV studio. Suppose you win, how pathetic would it be as an artist to stand there with just three cameramen around you. The Eurovision Song Contest needs an audience. There must be a party!’
Message to all the disappointed fans
Fans of the annual music party are of course sad. Alex is happy to support you! ‘I understand that there is a lot of disappointment. To put it in the words of Monty Python, ‘Always look on the bright side of life’, try to stay positive even in these difficult times. Let’s look forward to next year. We will make a fantastic edition in 2021. Keep up and enjoy your family!’
Finally, there is also some good news: crisis or not, the new Hooverphonic album will be released soon. ‘That’s our duty now. There is a need for entertainment and fortunately it can be streamed. As what we can and are allowed to do, we must continue to do it in a safe way,’ Alex Callier ends.
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While we regret the unfortunate chain of events, we fully understand and support the EBU's decision to cancel the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. World health, safety and security will and should always be anyone's top priority. We wish to express our deepest sympathies to every party involved, and would also like to thank all people that are risking their lives on a daily basis, in order to help and cure others. We hope to send you some positive vibes about ESC soon! In the meantime, stay healthy, stay safe & stay positive! @eurovision #esc2020