Are you sick of the constant Brexit feuds? Everyday, a different scandal, and no effective action. Look no further, a new boy band is in town to turn the Brexit debate upside down: the Breunion Boys. Brought together by heartbreak, the Breunion Boys are on a mission to win back their lost love: the UK. The five boys, all in different ways have a connection to the UK or feel passionately about the European project, and decided to combine their musical talents to win Britain’s hearts back in the format that the UK knows best, the boy band.
On the occasion of their new hit single that comes out today, “Britain come back”, E&M sits down with the band’s founder, Julia Veldman, to chat about music, heartbreak and how the Breunion boys harness the power of music to convince the British public to reconsider, and pave the way towards a fresh start.
E&M: Hi Julia! Thanks for agreeing to chat with us about the Breunion Boys! First, wow did you come up with the idea of the Breunion boys?
When the British people voted to leave the EU I was living in the United States. Surrounded by the insanity of the 2016 elections, I felt homesick. When the referendum outcome became clear it was as if my home was falling apart. I feel European, and I was absolutely heartbroken. This was the first time I realised the EU isn’t something to take for granted. The last time I felt so emotional was when Take That broke up. Suddenly, that break up seemed like a perfect metaphor for what was happening with Brexit. Brexit too is something I simply can’t accept. When powerful and rich people put all their efforts to break down your home, you have to fight back. I’m not rich, like Steve Bannon, I’m not even a politician. I’m a citizen with ideas and a network of talented people.
The reason I think a boyband is the answer, is that the boyband is one of the greatest things Great Britain has ever given us.
E&M: How did you recruit the Breunion boys?
Finding the band members for the Breunion Boys took a lot of time. I held auditions, I asked everyone, I even tried to find them on the street. Eventually they all found their way to the project in different ways. I spotted Hajo in a club, Pablo in a dance class and I found Gilles by asking somebody I hardly knew. It is important to me that the band is a reflection of European citizens, even if we are Amsterdam-based. In the end I selected them based on their connection to the EU and how passionate they are about the European project.
E&M: Can you tell us a little bit about the members of the Breunion boys and why they are so passionately anti-Brexit?
The Breunion Boys all have a special connection to the EU. Seyed fled Afghanistan as an infant, and obtained his freedom because of the peace the EU has provided us with for the last 70 years. Pablo is from Spain and lives in Amsterdam, where he found personal freedom and his passion for dancing. Hajo is studying to become a doctor and hopes to work in London someday. Gilles is a musician and toured across Italy with his band. Joshua is always traveling, and meeting new people. We are not just anti-Brexit. We are pro-Europe. And we believe Britain is part of that, part of our future.
E&M: How do you feel music, and in particularly a boy-band is a powerful medium to convince people on Brexit?
Music has a long history of influencing politics and being part of protest movements. Even the European Anthem, oddly enough, has been the soundtrack to many revolutions. The reason I think a boyband is the answer, is that the boyband is one of the greatest things Great Britain has ever given us. And honestly, it has become apparent that the Brits are not going to be won over by reasonable arguments, numbers, bills or threats, even if there are many Brits that don’t wholeheartedly agree with Brexit. By showing that we want them back, out of love, not just economic interest, we want to open up the possibility to get back together and grow. The Brexit vote was an emotional one, that should be taken seriously.
We are not just anti- Brexit. We are pro Europe. And we believe Britain is part of that, part of our future.
E&M: Why do you think Brexit is an issue that doesn’t just impact the UK, but young Europeans as a whole?
The dark answer to this is: it could be the beginning of the end. Populism is rising across the world. We have to come up with a convincing answer to it, if we are to avoid the terrible mistakes from the past. Brexit is a warning sign that we have to work harder and be better to create unity. Cooperation will guarantee opportunities for everyone and most of all, peace.
E&M: How can people get involved, and follow the Breunion boys?
Via our website you can purchase Breunion Boys merchandise. We use the proceeds to fund our mission. We hope to tour Great Britain before March 29!
E&M: Is there anything else you’d like E&M readers to know?
Today we release our single “Britain come back” on Spotify, and you can already pre order it on Amazon! And keep a lookout as December 18th we will release the video clip at a release party. Anyone visiting Amsterdam around that time please come! Click here for the Facebook event.
Head on over to listen to listen to the Breunion Boys new single, Britain Come Back, available on Spotify, and watch out for their video release on December 18th.
Cover photo Courtesy of Julia Veldman