For the sixth consecutive year Estonia is using the popular Eesti Laul format to select its entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. With only a few days until the first semi-final, we took the chance to catch up with some of the singers taking part and today we speak to Andero Nimmer and Fredy Schmidt from the group NimmerSchmidt.
escXtra: Hello Andero and Fredy, thanks for taking some time to speak to us today! Firstly we’d like to congratulate you both on your qualification to the semi-finals of Eesti Laul 2014!
Andero Nimmer: Thank you!
X: Firstly, for our readers who may be new to Eesti Laul, can you please introduce yourselves?
A: NimmerSchmidt has been active since the beginning of 2013. My name is Andero Nimmer and I play keyboards.
Fredy Schmidt: I’m Fredy, I do the vocals and play the guitars and keyboards. Actually, we’ve been making music together for the past three years or so.
X: How would you describe the ‘sound’ of NimmerSchmidt?
A: It’s smooth. Beautiful radio-pop with some retro elements.
F: Yes, exactly that.
X: Normally at this point I’d ask how you came up with the name of the band, but I feel that this is probably not needed this time, so instead I’ll ask did you ever consider any other names for your group? If you had to change your name to something else, what would you call yourselves?
F: We didn’t quite come up with this genius name for a long time. Now it feels and sounds very logical.
A: Coming up with the right name is the hardest part when you have a band!
F: Yeah, maybe we could name it The Lost Chewbacca if we had to change – but then again not.
X: Where were you both and how did you feel when you found out that you were one of the acts who had made it to the Semi-Finals of Eesti Laul? Also who found out first?
F: Andero was visiting me and we had some other friends over who had no idea that was the date to announce the semi-finalists. We were watching ETV (our national television channel) and suddenly our name came up and the party got started.
A: Yes, everybody got quite euphoric hearing the good news!
X: You guys wrote your song ‘Sandra’ together with Merilyn Merisalu. What (or who) was the inspiration behind the creation of this song, and was it always intended for Eesti Laul?
A: We did think of maybe sending it to Eesti Laul from the start. But the story itself is about a pretty girl called Sandra.
F: We got the idea from a blog our friend shared on Facebook. A guy named Remi, who had just got dumped, wrote how sad he was and how Sandra, who he knew from school, started to ask what happened and how he was doing. They started to send texts at nights and finally found each other.
X: Since I imagine there is a very small percentage of our readers who speak Estonian, could you tell us a bit about what the song is about?
A: Our lyrics speak of finding love with a girl-next-door. They have shared their secrets, the guy has played Coldplay’s “In My Place” on the piano for her, they have skipped school to be together and so on.
F: I guess everyone has some story related to a “Sandra” or someone else special.
X: Eesti Laul has developed in recent years to be much more than just a Eurovision preselection and in this year’s contest you will be up against many big names in the Estonian music industry as well as several strong newcomers. For you, what does it mean to participate in Eesti Laul?
F: For me, it’s an opportunity to have more promotion for the band. We just got our debut album out and have a very cool live band with our friends. The time seems to be right to reach every screen in the homes in Estonia.
A: Yes, the chance to spread the word about our music in Estonia is our main goal.
F: Our music isn’t 100% mainstream, so this gives a chance to actually locate and find the people who like the kind. Well, we know that namewise we could make it in Germany if we wanted to, but for now we sing in Estonian and target the Estonian listeners.
X: What are your feelings on the fact that if you win you will be representing your nation at Eurovision in Copenhagen in May?
F: All that needs a great mental preparation. I’m not with the strongest nerves right now. We’ve had bands before, but for the last few years there has been a gap in making music for public and giving concerts. I’ve become accustomed to just staying home. Going to Copenhagen sounds a bit crazy right now, although it would be cool.
A: Yeah, it would be cool, and fun, and great. And also a bit frightening. But I’d rather go than not go. It’s better to be known than be a no-one.
X: Are you Eurovision fans, and if so do you guys have any favourite Eurovision songs? Perhaps a favourite Estonian entry?
F: There are some really good songs every year.
A: Yeah, but the best ones are Estonian: “80s coming back” by Ruffus, “Everybody” was good. And then France had a really good one in 2008 with Sébastien Tellier, “Divine” it was, I think.
F: And “Euphoria” was quite good a few years back. There are so many songs in whole that you forget them all. Mumiy Troll had “Lady Alpine Blue”, that’s another one I remember.
X: Now some questions to get to know a little better, how did you spend your Christmas and New Year?
F: We have a nice tradition to visit our parents and spend the holidays with the relatives. Trying not to overdo with the food at the same time. Christmas is a nice peaceful time to prepare for the New Year’s that usually comes with a great bang!
A: And I found love before this Christmas. My own Sandra, if you please, although that is not her name.
X: Where is your favourite place in Estonia and/or where would you recommend someone visiting Estonia go see?
F: This summer we rented a cottage by the sea in Saaremaa, the biggest island in Estonia, to make music. The whole August we spent there was really nice. And I like Tartu a lot, although I’ve lived here for 7 years and at some point the small town as it is, can get a bit too dull. But Tallinn has a bit too much information with all the people there.
A: Couldn’t agree more!
F: But Tallinn is a good place to go to, when you’re visiting. There’s the old town, for instance. And Tartu is nice. And Saaremaa, too, the nature is breathtaking there.
X: What is your favourite food to cook?
A: I’m not much of a cook myself… But I’ll eat anything that Fredy or his girlfriend cook.
F: I like to make medium rare salmon with rice mixed with coconut flakes. And creamy blue cheese and champignon sauce to go with it. But I haven’t made that for a while now… I like to cook, I do that every day if I can.
X: If you could have any animal in the world as a pet, what would you choose?
Both: A cat!
F: No doubt about that, we love cats!
X: What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
F: There have been some incidents, but I’d rather not talk about that… Well, we used to have a band called Laika Virgin before and some concerts… Just got a bit out of hand. But things are much better now!
A: I believe there were many embarrassing things in basic school times, but let’s history stay history.
X: Finally, do you guys have a message for our readers?
F: It’s really fascinating how many people actually love the ESC. Enough to listen to the semi-finals of some random European country.
A: Yes, it’s cool that some people know really well, what’s going on in places besides the US or the UK. Hope you enjoy the Estonian songs, hope you enjoy our “Sandra”!
Andero and Fredy along with 9 other hopefuls take part in Eesti Laul’s first semi-final next Friday. Listen to their song ‘Sandra’ below! On behalf of all the team at escXtra I would like to thank the guys for speaking with us and wish them all the best with whatever may be next!