Did you know that Iceland is the only Nordic nation that has never taken home top honors at an annual Eurovision Song Contest? But 2019 could finally be the year that an Icelandic band seals the deal, although it’s also possible that Hatari, representing Iceland May 14–18 this year, will be considered a bit too … out there for judges.
Hatari is, after all, a self-described “anti-capitalist techno BDSM performance art group.”
Check out the below music video for the song “Hatrið Mun Sigra” (it translates to “Hate Will Prevail” in English), which also happens to be the entry song for the Icelandic band.
Hatari — made up of Klemens Hannigan, Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson and Einar Stéfansson, who were supposedly friends in art school — is a shock-rock group, for sure, and their sound is a mix of Norwegian black metal and the occasional pop-tinged chorus. Most will likely find them scary to look at and listen to.
The group has also referred to themselves as “a dystopian theatre piece reflecting violence, hatred and repression,” adding, “Our power as court jesters is to evoke a discussion.”
The Icelandic band won Söngvakeppnin, which is the local Iceland competition that sends it winner to the Eurovision Song Contest. This year’s international competition is taking place in Tel Aviv, Israel.
That fact — that the contest will occur in Israel — has proven to be a point of contention for the members of Hatari, who once challenged Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu to a Nordic folk wrestling match:
In a statement released to the media, the band invited Netanyahu to a friendly wrestling match on May 19, the day after the Eurovision Song Contest, at Magen David Square in Tel Aviv, at the entrance to Carmel Market. According to the band, if their delegate triumphs, they will be allowed to establish “the first BDSM colony under the auspices of Hatari on the Mediterranean coast.” If the prime minister wins, he will get a small archipelago in southern Iceland called Vestmannaeyjar.
The band also stands accused of signing a petition in support of boycotting the nation and this year’s contest.
An Israeli nonprofit called the Shurat HaDin organization believes Hatari will use its time on-camera to criticize Israel’s settlement policy and express its support for Palestinians.
Under Israeli law, someone who isn’t an Israeli citizen and doesn’t have a permanent residence permit will not be granted a visa if they have “knowingly issued a public call to boycott Israel.” The nonprofit is demanding that Interior Minister Aryeh Deri prevent the group from entering the country.
The minister has said he’ll consider the request.
Last year more than 25,000 Iceland citizens signed a petition asking the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RUV to boycott Eurovision 2019 due to its Tel Aviv host.
“The fact that Iceland voted for us means they agree with our agenda to keep alive the discussion,” one Hatari band member has said. “Clearly there’s a huge distinction between the actions of the Israeli state as an institution, at which criticism is directed, and the Israeli people.”