Schlager Systems's Martin catches up with Alexander Bard to find out about BWO's Euro Pride 2008 anthem, 'The Bells Of Freedom', his thoughts on Melodifestivalen 2008 and Eurovision 2008.
Hi Alexander. How did you come to write this year's official europride anthem?
We were asked to do the Europride anthem because BWO is of course popular in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe already and Europride, while taking place in Stockholm, will have an Eastern European theme this year. So we couldn't really resist the offer. It seemed a perfectly natural thing for us to do.
Did you work on the song with co-writers?
"The Bells Of Freedom" was co-written by me, Martin Rolinski and Anders Hansson. The same team that writes most of BWO's songs. There was really no reason why we would write the Europride anthem differently from the way we write all other BWO songs. All we were concerned with was to write an all-inclusive pop anthem but with a slight political touch. The wedding bells in the chorus section stand for the political aspect.
The song is up-tempo and full of energy. How important is energy to the music of BWO?
We love pop, pure pop! And pop includes both energetic up-tempo songs and gorgeous ballads. We just do our best to write the very best songs we can come up with. Songwriting is always at the center of everything BWO do.
BWO will be headlining at Europride in Stockholm! What can we expect from the performance?
A full-on live performance. We're proud to perform on the same stage as our friends Alcazar who will also perform together with us on the stage of G-A-Y in London four weeks earlier at London Pride.
Were BWO disappointed not to make it to Eurovision this year?
No, not at all. It's actually a kind of luxury, to perform at Melodifestivalen, place third as the edgiest and freshest entry, have a massive and now also an international hit single with "Lay Your Love On Me", and then hear from everybody afterwards that "Sweden should have sent BWO instead of Charlotte to Eurovision". It feels quite good, to be honest about it.
You told us in Stockholm that 'Lay Your Love on Me' had outsold Perrelli's 'Hero' on the day of MF08 final, that must have felt good?
We don't actually compare our songs that way. Both Charlotte, Sanna and BWO were winners at this year's Melodifestivalen in the sense that we were the Top 3 at Globen at the MF finals and then all had massive hit singles and albums afterwards. Our other common demoninator is of course that Bobby Ljunggren co-wrote all three songs (!) Bobby is really a hero.
Cheeky question – was it true you guys never got any 'good luck' flowers from Carola at the MF final?
It's hardly a secret that BWO and Carola dislike each other. A lot. But I absolutely love and adore Ani Lorak from Ukraine. Ani has all the charisma and modern sexiness that Carola and Charlotte lack. I would love to work with Ani one day. She has both the charisma and the amazing voice I like in a good performer.
Did you get a chance to watch Eurovision this year? Any favourites?
Ani Lorak, of course, Are you kidding? She blew all the others away. I also liked Switzerland's song but the guy who sang it came across as being so pale and insecure while performing that he blew it all already at the sem-finals. There was no charm there, for sure. Martin and Marina loved Sebastien Tellier from France, But that's of course because Tellier does modern and cool electro and not some dated old eurovision fodder. But God, we LOATHED the German and UK entries. They were sooo bad! In every aspect! Why can't the UK and Germany send something better? Maybe BWO could help them out?
It's such a shame you didn't get to compete as you would have gained a lot of votes as you are hugely popular in easter Europe, aren't you?
I suppose that's true. It certainly didn't hurt Dima Bilan that he is already a major star in lots of Eastern European countries.
Are you playing any UK dates soon?
Yes, of course, BWO and Alcazar will perform live together at G-A-Y in London on July 5. And BBC Radio 2 are already playing "Lay Your Love On Me", set for UK release at the end of July. Life could be a lot worse.