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In Conversation with:
Raiven and Bojan Cvetićanin

Vogue Adria

April 25, 2024

Sara Briški Cirman, Raiven, spoke with last year’s representative of Slovenia at Eurovision, Bojan Cvetićanin from the band Joker Out, about the authenticity that always wins, and the new Slovenian music scene.

Bojan: We haven’t talked for a long time, practically since the last interview, which was online, I called you from London, do you remember.

Raven: I remember. This is going to be special now, because I can’t even imagine how the conversation will go. This time you’ll mainly be asking me, I think it’s usually the other way around, so…

Bojan: Look, I have a lot of questions prepared for you and I’m really looking forward to our conversation. In my opinion, it would be best to start with the fact that your life is most likely colored primarily with Eurovision colors right now. Tell me, please, how your participation in Eurovision changed your internal state of mind? What’s going on in your head?

Raven: Yes, this Eurovision is absolutely much more mentally exhausting than one would think. Above all, it seems to me that it is not only tiring for the artist, but also for the people around the person who is going to Eurovision. It’s full of emotions, from great excitement to fear and horror. Everything is there but it is the most interesting period in my life so far.

Photo: Marko Suvić

Bojan: You are an independent music artist, you are not signed to any record label, right? And do you already see the disadvantages or advantages of being an independent performer, even before Eurovision itself?

Raiven: For me, there are certainly advantages in the sense that I have more creative freedom, Eurovision is such a big project, that it would certainly be nice to have a bigger team of people behind me to help but I still have a lot of people that I can easily rely on and with whom I work well. Through the Eurovision process, I also got a sharper radar for who I’m cool to work with and who I’m not.

Bojan: Are you afraid of anything? Do you feel equally competent compared to other artists? Some probably have a background in the music industry, some come from those so-called powerhouse Eurovision countries. How are you feeling?

Raiven: I have possibilities in terms of a starting position, but at the same time, that’s why I feel a little less pressure, because it seems to me that if you are from a bigger country, you have higher expectations regarding the results.

Bojan: Okay. What is your realistic goal? Where would you like to be in a year’s time? In other words, this time next year, Eurovision will be ten months behind you. What would be the ideal result for you in a year?

Raven: I would certainly be most satisfied if I managed to have concerts abroad as well. I think that my music is also exemplary for a foreign market. Yes, that would certainly interest me. I think that you have more than obviously shown that it is possible. Going abroad would be ideal for me, at least to the Balkans. That seems somewhat realistic to me.

Bojan: The Eurovision stage will be absolutely the biggest stage you’ve ever stood on. And will Sara be afraid?

Raven: Yes, of course I’ll be afraid. Above all, I feel a very big responsibility towards myself, not to disappoint myself, to be relaxed and confident enough at that moment, well prepared, so that I can really enjoy it. Otherwise, everyone tells me that I should enjoy it first and foremost, but I honestly don’t agree with that mindset there. I’m sure I’ll be happy, because I’ll still enjoy it, but I think I’m going to work there first and foremost. After all the things and all the preparations go at least as I imagined, then I will be able to enjoy myself.

Bojan: It’s been a while since the song came out. Tell me, how do your ears respond to the song today?

Raven: I am very proud of that piece. It seems to me that I haven’t released a song that I could stand behind so much. It is also absolutely clear to me that it would be possible to approach this more tactically and make a different song, which would be more appropriate for such a stage. It’s a piece that I still haven’t gotten tired of, I’ve sung it a million times and I’ve been practicing it for a very long time. I know that at this point in my musical development, I’ve given this song the most of what I am capable of giving of myself, and that I put all the knowledge and all the experience that I have accumulated so far into it, so I am very proud of the song.

Bojan: Nice. I like to hear it too, and it sticks in my head every time, so maybe not right from the first hearing but it is catchy.

Raiven: I have to say that I remember when you came over and helped me work on the song, because there was no that most important hook. “It’s me, it’s you, Veronika” and I often think about how it would be if that part was not added to the song. It seems to me that it really raised the piece to a completely different level and that it gave it some part that I probably wouldn’t have given it, because I would have thought it was too much. hooky for me. I don’t know what the song would be without it, so thank you.

Bojan: It was a pleasure. I agree that part is in the right place in the song. It definitely has its role. You know, I believe that the universe usually takes us to the right place, when we do things in that direction, when we believe in our own success and in good energies. This simply had to happen. You performed at the Croatian Dora and for the first time sang Veronika in a stripped down version, in disguise, acoustically, and as far as I could tell from the comments, it was very well received. Is there another opera performance of yours to look forward to at Eurovision? Or is it a secret?

Raiven: I don’t know exactly what people perceive as opera. If the high notes that I belt out at the end of Veronika are like an opera, then yes. I think that the opera pop genre is a dangerous path, because it can quickly take on a sweet tone, so I am very cautious when it comes to including opera in pop. It will certainly be heard on the Eurovision stage that my technical basics of singing are based on classical training.

Bojan: Interesting, interesting and beautiful. I assume that there will also be a strong dance or choreographically colored. I believe that in light of that, we approached the Eurovision Song Contest pretty much on the principle of “Let’s try to organize a concert experience,” which also meant that the choreography was really minimal and we didn’t bother too much with it. And maybe the choreographic part cares or eats you more than the performance itself?

Raven: Not really, because it seems to me that we went to the choreography, I can even say that about the theme, because in fact it is not true, as opposed to the theme, that it comes from me and from some of my natural movements. I felt liberated, who I accepted, that I’m not a dancer and that I don’t need to look beautiful but sexy, but like some conventional beauty on stage, and I accepted that awkward moment that I have, and I feel very good about all those movements that we have set, so now not anymore. I have a question for you. What advice do you have for me as a musician, who is not so conventionally but commercially oriented, but will still stand on the Eurovision stage, who may even have some demands from a female singer, that she is a Beyonce-type singer?

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Bojan: My honest opinion is that Eurosong is the festival where unconventional performances have been the most successful so far, that is, those who have managed to overcome the burden, which is our daily routine. It seems to me that, as much as it will be in those three minutes, it is clear to everyone that what you present on stage is sincere, it is true, that this mysteriousness but also complexity is part of you and that it is evident both from the performance and from your aura , is, as far as I’m concerned, the only recipe for success. That is, what it looks like real is real. I think you know very well what you represent and what you do, so you just have to carry it out to the end and flawlessly.

Raven: Um, if you were going to Eurovision now, would you order something differently? But would you, as a band, order anything else?

Bojan: Jaz would definitely dress differently. I wouldn’t change anything else, honestly. Maybe we were a little too written. But everything was part of that moment, we were bad at that time, we were wearing the distinctive colors of the Garden of Eden, so it had already happened, as it could. I wouldn’t change anything else. We had a great team, we had great energy. Fortunately, I wasn’t nervous on stage, I had to be myself, that’s it. Obviously, a huge part of the Eurovision Song Contest is also what happens behind the scenes. Eurovision Song Contest community is very involved in what is happening and really does what is happening. Tell me, have you already made friends at least through social networks, but how else with any of your fellow sufferers this year?

Raven: I, myself. At Dora, I met Baby Lasagno in a little bit chit-chat , I told him that I was a big fan of his piece, and he said that he was a big fan mine. Then, in another interview, he said very nice things about me, so I already got to know him, and I also met him on Instagram. she followed with quite a lot of artists. There are a couple of those who have really inspired me now that I got to know their music.

Bojan: Me, Baby Lasagna, and is he still first on the leaderboards?

Raiven: I think so, I think it’s quite impressive. That story of his is really cool.

Bojan: But I would prefer to win the Eurovision Song Contest, so that not too much happens afterwards, as most Eurovision winners do not, but then I would experience the success of Rose Linn, who was, I think, twenty, and then took over the whole world with her song ?

Raven: I would prefer to experience such success as you have. I think that you are my total inspiration.

Bojan: Many thanks. I, too, sincerely wish for you to open up in that direction, because our life has completely turned upside down in a very positive direction. That dream that probably every young man who starts a band has, to be able to play, why not, to be able to play in Europe; we have now managed to thoroughly experience and experience these things in one flight. Without the Eurovision Song Contest, it would certainly not have happened so quickly and not with such power. So it’s very nice and I believe that it will work for you too.

Raven: It seems to me that you have given a lot of impetus and pride to the Slovenian scene as a whole with those people. What do you think about the young music scene in Slovenia?

Bojan: We appeared on the music scene in our country, for example, in the summer of 2014. That’s when we started the first band. I think that in the summer of 2014 or 2015 we signed up for the deck, then with the band Apocalypse. That was at the time when Kino Šiška was performing Špil ligo and the newly produced band Koala Voice, with which a new style of Slovenian music was strongly felt at that time. Koala Voice and Persons from Porlock, which were probably the first two bands that managed to win over a younger audience to their side, and then the concerts started, and the festivals booked of a young artist, considering that the scene in Slovenia for the last 15 years has been fairly uniform and stagnant. Then we formed, and in 2016/2017 we formed, Mrfy formed, and I would say that after that we, together with Koala Voice, became the bearers of a new wave of music in our country. Then they quickly joined other bands, such as Lumberjack and KOKOSY, now we have MASAYO, so all of a sudden a lot of young artists started to appear, including Jet Black Diamonds, who themselves managed to attract people to their concerts, because in Slovenia, let’s say that 10 or 15 years, it was not present at all. I would say that the music scene in our country is in a total renaissance, so I would say that it is absolutely more than clear that the music scene has changed a lot in a positive sense.

Raven: How would you say that in Slovenia they look at pop artists and what kind of Slovenian pop is that? Because most of those new artists you listed are better in bands.

Bojan: Slovenia here is very different from the Balkans because of that, because the Balkan pop is more pub style/club, which is not the case with our population. We have or we have always had a huge number of artists who are widely present in the media and appear every summer, for example at some traditional Portorož festival or at those events that we have, but they never have their own concert. I don’t think so in the Balkans the case , because the builders are really very regular in the field, no matter what.

Raiven : What do you think is the reason for that?

Bojan: I think the reason is that there is no audience for the pop music we have here. It seems to me that it’s not music that you can easily transfer to some space and that someone will actually listen to it; it is music for the radio, for television shows and so on. Folk music is being sculpted, folk bands are by far the most present in the field, pop artists are not, because it is very difficult to transfer such music to the stage. I think that most of the pop artists in our country neither have a formed band nor any concept, so they are practically just media figures, as far as I’m concerned. Here is an absolutely very interesting difference between Slovenia and the rest of the Balkans. Club culture does not exist in our country, pop artists are better suited to the radio.

Raiven: How do you see the difference between how male and female artists are accepted in Slovenia, and do you think there is any difference between how they are perceived? What are the requirements for men and women frontman ?

Bojan : Pismo, I don’t know, in Slovenia we have a very specific problem, as far as female frontmen are concerned, because it happens very rarely that you are a female frontman . he starts to tear the oder. A real woman frontman was Nina from Tabujev, for her Tina from Tabujev, now MASAYA happened. In the Balkans, they don’t really lack that, in the Balkans there are a lot of female artists a scarf, very characteristic, very powerful; you have the feeling that they don’t change for the system; you can’t come all dressed up and be clever, because you’ll get slapped. With us, everything turns to laughter and joy, everything is beautiful and right, which is the difference between Slovenia and the Balkans. It seems to me that the audience with us sings clean every time a woman, who knows how to totally tear up the scene, who comes on stage. Manca from Koala Voice is a pure example of that; she came to the stage and grabbed the stage in such a way that we were all excited; it’s the same with Helena Blagne, she’s a diva and the stage is hers. I think they are female frontmen with character very well accepted. You absolutely have it, you’re in a different genre, you’re not in such a position to approach and start jumping around the stage, you take your position anyway. Of course, there are still male singers, female singers in bands, who are very good, but now I can’t mention them all. I would also point out Nino Pušlar, who is by far the most active pop singer in Slovenia. Well, what’s he doing? It would be her bath let out. To return to your song, I have another question, how did you come up with the title Veronika?

Raiven: The piece was initially written about Joan of Arc, after that I started thinking about applying to EMO and Eurovision with that piece, so it seemed to me that I had to choose a female character who is important for Slovenia as inspiration for the piece. in for Slovenian territory. Veronika Deseniška was the first woman accused of witchcraft among us, and I think that I am very understanding towards people whom society rejects but does not understand, so there is a personal connection that I have with Veronika.


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