Empty-eyed homeless leather-daddy millennials Hatari have caught the attention of the world media for their controversial Eurovision Song Contest run this year. However, here in Iceland, people are used to their antics: they’ve become well-known from their pranks and relentless trolling of various groups and organisations—including their own fans. Here are six times Hatari pranked the world on their way to Eurovision infamy.
Announcing a partnership with Icelandic bank Landsbankinn
Before playing at the Landsbankinn-sponsored Studentakjallarinn student venue on the University of Iceland campus, Hatari announced that they had signed a cooperation agreement with the bank in a public statement. They even photoshopped a photo of them signing the deal with CEO Lilja Björk Einarsdóttir. It was picked up widely in the Icelandic media, and became the talking point of the day before being debunked by Landsbankinn.
Verdict: Troll win, good job
Saying they would split during Christmas 2018
This one certainly boosted awareness of Hatari’s Christmas show at Húrra, and caused worried flurries of messages to the band from friends and supporters. The band’s announcement letter said Hatari’s raison d’être—that is, fomenting the downfall of capitalism—had failed, and that the secondary goal of the outfit, “to expose the ceaseless racket and fraudulent nature of everyday life,” was not being achieved at a satisfactory rate. However, they’d already been announced for music industry festival Eurosonic in the Netherlands shortly after their alleged split-date.
Verdict: Troll fail—we see you, Hatari, we see you
Starting an Icelandic Music News website devoted only to themselves
“Iceland Music News,” with its motto of “Trust, Honesty, Boldness, Honesty” has a surprising lack of anything Of Monsters And Men, Björk or Sigur Rós-related. In fact, anyone would think it was some kind of Hatari propaganda site. Fake news central. Trump will be delighted.
Verdict: The jury is out—some people might be buying this one
Claiming to have hired a Christian pundit as a publicist
After Hatari were lambasted by Christian social media pundit Margrét Friðriksdóttir for being the black-eyed harbingers of a cultural apocalypse, the band publicly announced that she was on their payroll as a publicist—so everything she was saying was part of an elaborate publicity stunt. They noted that this “shockingly unexpected PR campaign seems to be working”—and indeed, it prompted more than one social conservative to wring their hands about the fabric of Western civilisation being torn asunder by Hatari, or their Eurovision song, or both. Which, well, may still prove to the be the case.
Verdict: Success—Hatari – 1, Margrét Friðriksdóttir – 0
Challenging Benjamin Netanyahu to a wrestling match
This by-the-bike-sheds scrap challenge was issued in a public statement. The contest would have Icelandic glima grappling rules, and would be for high stakes—if Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu won, he’d get the Westman Islands. If Hatari won, they’d get to start a liberal colony in Israel. Of course, Netanyahu hasn’t accepted, or responded… yet. But he could be working on his glima moves before taking up the invitation.
Verdict: So far, a failure—advantage Netanyahu
Entering the Eurovision Song Contest with a song called “Hate Will Prevail”
Their biggest prank of all is, of course, entering the Eurovision song contest, which is going pretty well so far, if you consider they had to pass a national public vote to get there. Since landing in Israel, the band have carefully expressed their views in interviews and press conferences, whilst trying to colour within the lines of the contest’s ostensibly apolitical rules. They admit the strategy walks a fine line, and often test the limits—for example, when asked about their post-Eurovision plans by The Guardian, singer Matthías Tryggvi Haraldsson said “Playing shows in countries where there currently is not an illegal occupation taking place.” Whether they’ll make it to the Eurovision arena’s main stage without being disqualified—or, if they’ll carry out a protest of some kind during the show and get kicked out that way—remains to be seen.
Verdict: We’ll find out soon enough…
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