Every year at Eurovision there is at least one competitor who stands out and, EQ becomes very excited, about. In the 2016 contest, the honour went to Latvia’s representative Justs Sirmais after his entry “Heartbeat” really, leapt out at us for its darkly sonic, electronic touches and powerfully, engulfing vocals. Justs performance was the highlight for us, of what turned out to be a particularly politically gripped competition. In the Latvian singer-songwriter, we saw someone with the beginnings of a justifiably pop defined career ahead of him and vowed that we’d continue to track his burgeoning music career. The news is, the debut album is on the horizon and “Are You There” is the first song, a shout out to fans abroad, who were waiting patiently for the new material to appear.
The track is a collaboration with one of the most promising new music producers in Latvia, DJ Makree who builds upon the dark pop, style of Eurovision entry “Heartbeat” in a similar sonic vein but with the added touch of danceable beats on this effort. “Are You There” is the question Justs is asking. It requires, an undoubtedly more complex, answer when we understand that the Latvian is really, wanting to make us think about what makes us feel, alive.
In the music video, we see Justs doing the very, pop star thing of singing in an abandoned, derelict building as he contemplates and elaborates on the deeper meaning of the lyrics. He is joined by a group of like-minded, deep thinkers who gather together and are fixed, at a standstill by reflective thoughts.
Justs has this to say about the album, “The content of this album will slightly differ from what you have heard before. A lot of things have changed since the Eurovision, impressions have turned into experiences, emotions have turned into skills. I want this album to represent more of my character.”
When I first heard the orchestral introduction to “Are You There” begin it certainly brought Hurts to mind, which in itself is not a bad thing because Hurts always seem very well received in Latvia. Therefore, I am of the opinion Hurts fans should really, appreciate this dark disco stomper. Thought! – It would be wonderful if some the duo’s fans got behind this track and in a small way helped to bring Justs over to the UK.