Australian Eurovision hopefuls Voyager have spoken to NME ahead of tonight’s final in Liverpool, arguing why Europe should vote for them and agreeing that New Zealand should be allowed to compete too.
- READ MORE: Voyager on representing Australia at Eurovision 2023: “It’s about taking what we do and making it bigger than ourselves”
The Aussie rockers have been in the UK all week, wining themselves a place in the final after successfully making it through the semis with their track ‘Promise. Speaking to NME from backstage at the Song Contest, drummer Ash Doodkorte said that “the vibe around Liverpool is blue, yellow and electric”.
“It’s been heckers, but in a good way,” he said. “Every part of it has been magic. We’ve been talking about it for so long that actually getting to do it just feels like a dream come true.”
Other than Germany’s Lord Of The Lost, Voyager are the only rock act to make it through to the final stages. However, Doodkorte argued that “ours is a bit more of a power anthem, while there’s is a bit more dark.”
Describing their power-rock sound as having “pretty far-reaching” influences” with “everyone coming from a different background”, Doodkorte explained how sounds ranging from “a lot of classical music but also a lot of stuff like Type-O Negative, Silverchair, nu-metal, Nirvana,” created this “big bombastic thing”.
“To me, it’s all about hitting hard and heading home,” he said. “There are a lot of weird influences that seem to work well when we come together.”
The band came close to competing last year, coming in second place to Sheldon Riley – winning the public vote with the prog metal bop ‘Dreamer’, but losing at the judging panel by just three points – in SBS’ televised Australia Decides contest (where artists compete for the chance to represent Australia at the main event). However, it was not held this year and Voyager earned their spot without a public vote.
“After Australia Decides, we thought that would be our Eurovision journey done,” said Doodkorte. “We’d always thought about it and that it would be a cool thing to do and gave it our best shot, but maybe it just wasn’t a dream that was meant to happen.
He continued: “Then Danny [Estrin, frontman] came to a rehearsal with just the opening hook of the song and we thought we had something there. Before long we had this song that we thought might actually be a better Eurovision song and maybe we should put our heads up again.”
He added: “It was really inspiring to ignite that dream and that process and get as far as we have. We weren’t prepared for any of this, but it’s so much of a bigger beast that you could ever imagine.”
Admitting that “my beard is the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen at Eurovision,” the drummer also felt “a mixture of being confident and completely unconfident” about their chances of success tonight.
“I’m just happy to be here, and it’s not going to change what I do on stage,” he admitted. “I’m just ready to enjoy the crowd, enjoy the experience. It doesn’t matter now. I can say ‘I got to the Eurovision Grand Final’ and it was great.”
He continued: “At the same time, I think we’ve got a banger and we do it really well. There’s a chance to really leave our mark here and leave a good impression. There’s always something left in the tank. It’s funny, no matter how tired you’re feeling – because it’s a pretty gruelling process for months – as soon as you get your ears put in and you’re about to head out there, all of a sudden you find this extra fuel and you’re ready to go again. We’re definitely saving something for the grand final.”
As for reasons why they should win, the drummer added: “Europe should vote for us because, wouldn’t you love a holiday in Australia next year? Perth 2024 baby!”
Australia has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest eight times since its debut in 2015, and has been in the final top 10 four times. This recently led New Zealand to want in on the action, sharing a new comedy single and campaign to call for Australia’s neighbours to be also be allowed to participate.
Asked if he agreed with their request, Doodkorte replied: “100 per cent. I think there should be more nations going into Eurovision. Make it World Vision. I saw their campaign and told them I’d put in a good word if they gave us 12 points. Hopefully they can engage the rest of the world.”
Eurovision 2023 takes place in Liverpool tonight (May 13), with the UK hosting in honour of last year’s winners Ukraine. The semi-finals took place earlier this week, on Tuesday 9 and Thursday 11 May. Check out all of the competing songs here and see the bookies’ favourites for who’s likely to win here.
Last year’s UK contestant Sam Ryder and 2022 winners Kalush Orchestra have been confirmed as performing at the final – alongside past competition favourites Netta and Daði Freyr.
Check back at NME for more news, interviews and more from Eurovision 2023.