EXCLUSIVE: CelebMix chats with Donkeyboy

It can often be difficult to sustain a lengthy career in the music industry. However, Norwegian pop quartet Donkeyboy have been around for over a decade and show no signs of stopping any time soon.

Made up of Cato Sundberg, Kent Sundberg, Thomas Drabløs, and Peter Michelsen, Donkeyboy have become synonymous with their catchy, pop-driven anthems. The band have dominated the charts in their native country whilst also winning over fans and critics across the world.

Signed to Warner Music in Scandinavia, Donkeyboy released their debut single ‘Ambitions’ all the way back in March 2009. The track spent 12 consecutive weeks at the top of the charts before being replaced by the band’s follow up single, ‘Sometimes’. This was the first time that a Norwegian artist had occupied the two top spots on the singles charts, and marked the beginning of a truly exciting career for the band.

Since then, Donkeyboy have released a string of singles and EPs, in addition to three successful albums. The band also have 32 platinum awards to their name and have won three Norwegian Grammys. They’ve also garnered over 200 million combined streams in Norway alone, which is remarkable considering that the nation has a population of around five million.

Last month, Donkeyboy unveiled their latest single ‘It’ll Be Alright’. Premiered on Perez Hilton, the anthemic synth-pop offering was written and produced by Cato and Kent, with some lyrical assistance from Violet Days’ Lina Hansson.

We recently had the chance to speak to Donkeyboy about their latest release, their musical influences, their unusual band name and much more.

Welcome to CelebMix! First off, please introduce yourselves with a random fact.

Thanks! We are all educated Electricians- never meant to have more than one hit!

We love your new single ‘It’ll Be Alright’; it’s such an infectious anthem! Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind the track?

Thanks again! We usually don’t over think stuff too much but we can’t help thinking that Tom Petty and Empire of the Sun has been in the back of our heads on this one.

Cato and Kent co-wrote the song with Violet Days’ Lina. How long was the creative process?

Well, I guess it’s pretty normal these days, but we go back and forth over email. Very exciting, but sometimes that’s the best way since you get to work with people all over the world!

What was it like to work with Lina on the lyrics?

It was really great! Lina got the words down quickly and for us it’s also import that they fit the melody really well. Thanks, Lina!

You have a history of releasing really creative visuals – can we expect an official music video for ‘It’ll Be Alright’?

We have a lyric video out plus some clips for the social media. Maybe a dedicated video soon!

Are you working towards a new album? If so, what can we expect from it?

There will be a folder on Spotify first! We have done 3 albums so it`s good to just focus on singles this year.

Your sound is a vibrant blend of indie rock and synth pop. Who would you say are your musical influences?

Tom Petty, AC/DC, Depeche Mode, Empire of the Sun and Queen.

How has your home country influenced you musically?

The winter time has definitely influenced our writing process! Especially dark, cold winters with the northern lights covering the sky.

You’ve been a band for over a decade now. What have been the biggest changes and challenges you’ve faced during your time in the music industry so far?

We have met huge challenges but I guess the biggest challenges are getting through the details and the small parts of the jobs. The parts nobody notices, but the details nobody sees.

Your band name is an unusual one. Is it based on any of the Urban Dictionary definitions or does it have a different meaning to you?

We came up with this name many years ago! We never thought we were going to get stuck with it and here we are, almost 20 years later. We’ve heard the name has different meanings in different countries.

When listening to your discography, one of the first songs we went for was your 2009 debut ‘Ambitions’. Realizing that it already sounded familiar to us, we were mind blown to discover that X Factor’s Joe McElderry covered the song the following year. Have you heard his version? If so, what did you make of it?

We have heard it and it’s cool that people cover our songs. Too bad they just didn’t ask for the original files ;)

You’ve got a summer of festival dates ahead of you – what can one expect from a Donkeyboy live show?

They can expect a lot of huge anthems and hits, plus (hopefully) some good memories to bring on.

What are your must have items when you’re on tour?

Toothbrush, workout clothes and 10 pairs of socks.

What else do you have planned for 2018?

We are planning to make more songs and do more gaming. On Twitch we are called “Norwegian Thunderboys” and believe it or not, we play 1000 hours a year (don`t tell our manager).

Thanks to Donkeyboy for their time. Keep up to date with them on Facebook and Twitter.

‘It’ll Be Alright’ is available now.

Loving Donkeyboy? Let us know on Twitter @CelebMix

Written by Katrina Rees

I'm Katrina, or Kat to pretty much everyone. I'm an editor for CelebMix, a content writer, a boyband lover and an all round music fanatic.
Twitter: @lifeofkatrina