Interviews Music

INTERVIEW: Slovenia Eurovision 2023 Entrants Joker Out Discuss Their Anthem “Carpe Diem”!

Photo: Ursa Premik.

Since forming in 2016, Slovenian group Joker Out have garnered support for their charismatically channelling musical style of energetic soundscapes & passion-driven vocals.

Formed of Bojan (singer), Kris (guitar), Jan (guitar), Nace (bass) & Jure (drums), the group mostly met during primary school & quickly expanded to create Joker Out.

Since their formation, Joker Out received two consecutive Artist of the Year Awards in 2021 & 2022, a Song of the Year Award in 2021, & even became a Bestselling Artist of 2022.

Not long ago, Radiotelevizija Slovenija (RTV Slovenija) selected Joker Out to represent Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool, UK (on behalf of Ukraine following their victory in 2022, with Kalush Orchestra’s “Stefania”) with the incredible anthem “Capre Diem”.

Joker Out has kindly taken the time to speak with Fierce & Fabulous Revolution regarding their upcoming participation at Eurovision 2023 & the story behind “Carpe Diem”. You can find the full interview below.

Hey Joker Out, thank you so much for this interview. Can you start by introducing yourself to readers who might be unfamiliar with your music?

Joker Out: We’re Bojan (singer), Kris (guitar), Jan (guitar), Nace (bass) and Jure (drums) and we’re a shagadelic rock band from Slovenia, where we are one of the hottest music acts (2 awards for artist of the year, 70 gigs last year), we’ve released two studio albums in Slovenian (2021 and 2022), with 2 songs in Serbian on the second one and this year we’ll release our debut album in English with a couple of singles (Carpe Diem and New Wave ft. Elvis Costello) this Spring. Back home we have almost sold out an Arena with a capacity of 12.000 – we’re hosting that concert in October, we are honoured to have legions of passionate fans, and we are becoming a regular feature at festivals in Western Balkans (Exit, Seastar with The Prodigy and Robin Schulz, Arsenalfest with The 1975 …) and in May we’ll represent Slovenia at the ESC in Liverpool. Oh, and we were just listed by Impala (world’s biggest association of independent labels) on ‘The 100 Indie Artists in Europe to watch in 2023’. If you want to get to know us better, don’t miss our web TV-show Joker Out Carpe Diem Series with a new episode every Monday on our YouTube channel.

When did you each discover your passion for music?

Joker Out: In primary school. Kris and Jan had a band and Bojan had his own band and they joined forces some 7 years ago (at the age of 16). And later when Joker Out started to become professional, Jure and Nace came, which had experienced studio and live musicians by that point. But all of us started playing music in our early years.

How would you currently describe your musical style?

Joker Out: Shagadelic rock & roll. People who like Arctic Monkeys, the Kooks and music that is somehow in between mainstream and indie should like our style, though we like to think that we don’t sound like a copy of anyone. In any case, you should catch us at some live gig, as that’s where we really shine.

You recently were selected to represent Slovenia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 in Liverpool, UK. How did the idea for you to represent Slovenia come together?

Joker Out: As we had already planned to release an English album this year, we were going to apply to Slovenia’s national selection, but then we got a call from the national broadcaster where they asked us if we wanted to go directly, which was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Slovenia hasn’t been very successful in the ESC in the last couple of years, so it was obvious they wanted to do something differently. They decided to bet on us. This, of course, puts a bit more pressure on us, but as said we have other plans on the international scene besides ESC, so we grabbed the opportunity to get involved and use this spotlight to share our music with an international audience and media.

The song you will be performing is the incredible anthem “Carpe Diem”. How did the inspiration for this song come to light?

Joker Out: We were doing an album session in Hamburg where we got locked in a studio for 10 days with our two producers, Žare Pak (a very successful rock producer in Slovenia in the last 25 years) and Californian Todd Burke (of Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, The Kooks, Belle and Sebastian, M83 and The Temper Trap fame). This happened just a week or two after we confirmed the ESC project. We worked out the music from an idea that we didn’t put on our second album and Bojan wrote some really inspiring lyrics to it, which captured our feelings at the time: »to dance all night, make love and play video games«. On Friday, March 31st we’re releasing the English version of the song, which is not a direct translation but it captures the idea and feeling of the original very well.

Did you always plan to have “Carpe Diem” as the song you’ll be representing Slovenia with?

Joker Out: We had a demo of the song with some random lyrics when we were selected to represent Slovenia and we later finished it in Hamburg. We always knew this should be the song to represent us on the Eurovision stage and we didn’t concede to the pressure of making it “friendly”, it could work as a random track from any of our albums, it’s a typical Shagadelic Joker Out song.

What does this song personally mean to you?

Joker Out: We feel it’s a kind of generational anthem with a sound message: seize the day, make something out of every opportunity and enjoy life. As with any other song we do it’s very personal for us, but what’s more important is people seem to like the vibe and the message we’re spreading.

What does it mean to you to be representing Slovenia at Eurovision?

Joker Out: The way we were hand-picked for the ESC and how Slovenian people stand by us shows a big trust in our capabilities. This invitation came after a lot of hard work and amazing results in the last seven years. On the other hand, we feel a big responsibility not to disappoint people, and most of all ourselves.

Is there anything you can tell us about the plans for the staging at the contest?

Joker Out: We don’t want to reveal too much but we’ll definitely keep the vibe of our performance on National TV. But in the meanwhile, try to catch us live or in broadcasts from official ESC preparties and you’ll get the basic idea. Our aim is to present the energy we bring to stages as a band with some fierce video production.

Which are some of your personal favourite entries from this year’s contest?

Joker Out: Our favourites are Spain, France, and Finland.

If you could perform a duet with anybody from this year’s contest, who would you choose & why?

Joker Out: We would love to perform and collaborate with La Zarra, the French contestant. She has a great voice and such elegant classy music.

What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Joker Out: We really haven’t had much spare time since the end of the pandemic, as we’re touring nonstop, in between we create and record new music. These days we’re doing lots of interviews every week, we travel all the time. For example, we did some 25 interviews in Barcelona last weekend, filmed an episode of our TV series, met with an actor Darko Perič (Helsinki from Money Heist / La casa de papel) and former NBA player Bostjan Nachbar, walked the red carpet, performed for thousands of people, went straight to the airport without sleeping, on Monday we filmed a music video in Ljubljana, on Tuesday we travel to Liverpool to fill parts of the video for a track we’ve done with Elvis Costelo, have a performance on BBC Radio, couple of other interviews, on Friday we fly to Warsaw, on Sunday to Tel Aviv, then we get back home for a day and to Madrid, Amsterdam, London … In normal times we’d play some football, play video games, and go to a concert or a party.

What is one thing you can’t live without?

Joker Out: Right now it’s hard to imagine not being in a band as we are totally focused on music. We still manage to find at least some time for love, family, friends and video games though. We definitely can’t live without each other.

If you could possess one superpower, what would you choose & why?

Joker Out: Teleportation. So that we could be everywhere we needed to be at once without losing time or energy for travelling.

What advice would you offer to someone who was looking to pursue a career within the music industry?

Joker Out: Follow your intuition. When you start feeling like you might be on to something with your music, you should grab it and don’t let go. Believe in yourself 100%.

Finally, is there a message that you would like to share with the readers of Fierce & Fabulous Revolution?

Joker Out: Seize the day, every day. Life is much more than meets the eye if we only dare to look beyond. Thank you for all your love and support. Vote for us in Liverpool!

You can check out the official video for “Carpe Diem” below or listen on more platforms here. You can also find the English version of “Carpe Diem” here.

Joker Out: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / TikTok.

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