We have spoken to the winners of Eurovision 2000, the Olsen Brothers. They were in Herning to perform as part of the interval act in DMGP 2017, which took place yesterday.
ESC+Plus: First of all, thank you for taking your time to talk to ESC+Plus.
It’s been 12 years since we saw you together on the DMGP stage. How did you react when you were asked to be part of the interval act for this year’s final?
Jørgen: I was on a ship when one of the producers called me and asked if we were interested in being part of the show. We liked the idea, and when we had learnt more about the concept that the producers had in mind, we agreed to do it right away, and we’re thrilled to be back. We’ve had a few meetings with the producers and they’ve been very open to our ideas.
ESC+Plus: Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of your first participation in Melodi Grand Prix. Which of your entries means the most to you, apart from your winning song?
Jørgen: Wow, has it really been 40 years already!? Well, I think it must be ”San Francisco”. It was our first entry, even in a year when Denmark returned to Eurovision after an 11-year break. That performance relaunched our career after we had been away from the Danish music scene for a few years, and even though we didn’t win, the song became a big hit in both Denmark and Germany.
ESC+Plus: What does the Eurovision Song Contest mean to you?
Jørgen: We don’t get to watch it a lot these days because we’re usually working on Saturday nights, but it really means a lot to us. Most important of all, it has given us financial freedom. We’ve been privileged to work in the very best recording studios with people whom we have admired for many years. For instance, when we did our last job before DMGP 2000, I would never have imagined that Cliff Richard would ask us to record a duet with him just a few years later.
Niels: It has also changed our lives radically. Until we won in Stockholm, music had been a part-time job for both of us. But since we won in Stockholm, we’ve been able to work as full-time musicians ever since. For three or four years, our calendar was packed with so many jobs that we had to turn down most offers.
ESC+Plus: Historically, most Eurovision winners have been rather young, whereas you were already three decades into your career when you won. What difference did it make to you that you were so experienced when you had your international breakthrough?
Niels: That’s actually a very interesting question. For me, the victory came at just the right time. I had been sober for three years following several years of heavy drinking and drug abuse, so I was able to really enjoy it all.
Jørgen: You should also have in mind that we were teen idols when we were teenagers ourselves. I’ve seen so many examples of very young people who have been ruined by their own success because they haven’t been able to deal with the pressure. So I’m actually very thankful that we didn’t win in our first attempt. As my brother said, we won at just the right time in our lives.
ESC+Plus: One of this year’s Swedish finalists is 87 years old. Could you imagine ever competing in Eurovision again?
Jørgen: We probably wouldn’t compete as performers again. But maybe we could write a song for someone else. Who knows?