Meet Joker Out — the ‘shagadelic’ Slovenian rock group ready to take Liverpool by storm at Eurovision 2023

They’re missing uni so they can come to Liverpool for Eurovision

There are less than 50 days to go until Eurovision touches down in Liverpool. The atmosphere is already building in the city, as we all anticipate the arrival of Europe’s biggest (and campest) festivity.

Flying the flag for Slovenia this May are Britrock-inspired group Joker Out with their song “Carpe Diem”. This small nation of two million people has never won the Eurovision Song Contest before, but in 2023 this band of twenty-somethings are looking to break that record right here in Liverpool.

As they prepare for the Eurovision rollercoaster this Spring, we sat down with Kris, Jure, Jan and Nace from the group to discuss their admiration for Scousers, Austin Powers and their ‘shagadelic’ Eurovision stage show in May.

These guys are going to love Bold Street (Image: Matic Kutin)

Shagadelic rock and roll

The Ljubljana-based group have come a long way from playing in bands back in primary school. Like a fine wine, they’ve refined their style, look and feel all down to one adjective: shagadelic. It doesn’t take long to find the word shagadelic plastered all over Joker Out’s social media pages. From their bio to the press releases, this term is everywhere — but, what does it actually mean?

“There’s this catchphrase we’ve developed over the past couple of years: it’s shagadelic rock and roll. It’s kind of a self-imposed brand I guess. It’s from all our collective fondness for the movie Austin Powers where the word shagadelic appears. It’s kind of like our representation of that same energy in the movie we wanted to translate into music,” Kris informs us.

“It’s by far our favourite adjective,” Jan adds. Rightly so.

University is their side hustle

Some of the members are still students. Kris is currently doing a master’s, Jure is a film production graduate, Jan is a maths student and Nace didn’t study. Instead, he ended up working on a cruise ship⁠ — not bad if you ask me. This begs the question: are they missing uni to come to Eurovision? Of course, they are.

“Studying is at the back of our minds. Eurovision is first, everything else is second”, Kris tells us. This statement will most likely resonate with many readers.

Jure [left, drums] and Bojan [right, vocals] sure know their camera cues (Image: Katja Kodba/RTVS)

Seize the moment (or something along those lines)

Joker Out’s offering for Eurovision is the hedonistic indie rock track titled “Carpe Diem”. Don’t let the Latin title fool you, the song is entirely in the Slovenian language.

The song started off in their “secret underground studio” in Ljubljana before they took off to Hamburg for two weeks to finish writing the song — just like early era Beatles.

“We just locked ourselves in the studio for 12 days, we didn’t see much sunlight, we barely went out during the 12 days. We were just playing music, having fun — having this really loving energy. That’s what the chorus is all about: we’ll dance, we’ll play and love as if tomorrow never comes,” they tell us.

From Ljubljana to Liverpool

Eurovision is all about the visuals — it’s Euro-vision after all. The performance is a key element of every entry, and Joker Out want to stay true to their live music roots. With this, they aim to make their performance a “three-minute Joker Out concert experience”. Oh, boy!

“We want to keep the energy we have on stage when we’re playing live and translate that onto the big stage in Liverpool. We’re going to have as much interaction with the crowd as possible. We’re going to use every second of those three minutes to make you feel like you’ve come to one of our shows.”

Kris [left] and Jan [right] shred their guitars at the ‘Misija Liverpool’ show in Slovenia (Image: Katja Kodba/RTVS)

In true Eurovision fashion, the ins and outs of their performance will be kept secret until May, but Jure did tell us that “there would be no special effects.” With that, don’t expect a hologram of Lake Bled to appear on stage with the band.

“We are our own special effects,” the band concurs.

Eyeing up the competition

As the contest quickly approaches, we now have a full roster of entries set to compete in the Eurovision colosseum this year. Currently, Sweden appears to be the bookie’s favourite, with Ukraine, Norway and Finland behind them. Slovenia is slowly but surely gaining traction among the betting markets, with qualification looking like a real possibility. Regardless, the boys seem to be keeping a steady eye on affairs in the Eurovision world.

“We’ve been looking at every song the moment it comes out. We’ve been looking out for the competition. It’s interesting, there’s a lot of bands this year.” This is true, Joker Out are (to my calculations) one of 13 bands lining up at Eurovision this year.

“I saw a comment from someone saying that this year is the year of the bands,” Kris adds. Even so, the two previous Eurovision Song Contest winners were bands. They say good things come in threes.

Was this picture taken in a Slovenian hotel or the University of Liverpool law building? You tell me. (Image: Matic Kutin)

Honourary Scousers

With the contest heading for Liverpool for the first time in its almost 70-year-long history, it’s an exciting prospect for the artists to be heading to our city. With their bags packed for their ‘working holiday’ in Liverpool this May, what do the boys know about Liverpool? Are they ready to hit up Concert Square?

“It’s the city of The Beatles, that’s the first association for us. After that, it’s the city of Elvis Costello and every other good musician. Liverpool equals music in our minds. It’s like the birthplace of modern pop culture, so it’s going to be interesting. For a musician going to Liverpool, it’s like going to Mecca.”

“We’ve gotten to get the feel of the Scousers, so we’ll be able to fit right in once we get up there,” Kris reassures me. However, they did proceed to ask me whether Liverpool was “as grey as they say it is”. In response, I simply turned my webcam to the window and said yes.

Nevertheless, the band will have earned their title as ‘honorary Scousers’ once the lead single and title track for their upcoming album “New Wave” comes out. The song will feature a Grammy award-winning artist from Liverpool. More news on that is still to come, but Jan reassured us that the featured artist is “not John Lennon”.

“That’ll be five pints of Stella, please!” (Image: Matic Kutin)

The band’s sound is very Liverpool. It’s very northern English at that. Therefore, it feels like a natural fit for Joker Out to be coming to Liverpool this May. “If you listen to our music, you can see that the Britrock influence is very strong,” Kris adds.

It’s a shame their semi-final is on a Thursday because these guys would love a night out at Shit Indie Disco. That being said, they do also love a bit of Britney.

Joker Out will be representing Slovenia in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 on Thursday 11th May. In the meantime, you can find them on Twitter, Spotify, Instagram and TikTok. Keep your eyes peeled on their socials for some exciting Liverpool-themed developments coming from the band very soon.