It was 2:00 PM on a very sunny Thursday. I get out of the taxi and I spotted to William Maybeline; he was with Cesar Moscoso, and Mateo La Fontaine (the promoters) William was feeling not so well, due to the height of Mexico City, and they go out for some drinks.
After the greetings, we head up to the location of the interview. Despite not feeling very well, William kindly acceded to answer some questions and most of the interview was with Larissa Iceglass. That day I meet to two very talented artists, who actually are very kind persons and they are really accessible and friendly.
They have made of Lebanon Hanover their way to express their vision of the world and life itself. They have very clear how do they want to communicate their feelings. This comes from the soul, and this is why they have been widely accepted. ► by Daniel Olvera
A big thank you to Cesar Moscoso of Mecanica, who made possible this interview…
Did you have played in other bands before Lebanon Hanover?
Larissa: I played in another band called Zorro Zensur, it’s my solo project.
William: I just started something in my bedroom a long time ago. I was using my computer, my guitar, doing what I could. And this solo project was even more 80’s influenced and that lead me to what we are doing now.
And what about Zorro Zensur, it’s over?
Larissa: I tried to do solo projects besides Lebanon Hanover, but it takes too much time. Now it just won’t happen anymore because we want to do one thing. So I’m not interested in doing solo projects at the moment.
I feel that you have a total freedom when you are doing your music. It has plenty of sounds and influences from different musical styles. What will be your answer if someone came here and say: “Hello, what kind of music do you play?
William: It is a mix of elements from all of the bands, all of the music that we like…We pick all the things that we like and we go for it in our own way, and we develop how we like…And I think that it’s a whole combination.
Larissa: I think that we are not only influenced just by the 80’s, we like 50’s, 60’s…we don’t like things that are over-produced. We really love everything about bands organic, everything with melody in and that was catching
Which bands inspired you to become a musician?
Larissa: That’s quite embarrassing because I was too young then; and I was listening to things that I don’t like at this moment. For me it is like that. They are things that I don’t like it anymore. I like some songs, but I’m not really influenced… only by the fact that I saw some guitar player and I said:”I want to play guitar”
When I knew about Lebanon Hanover, you had a Facebook page and a profile on mixcloud; now you are playing in different countries, and have released two albums. All of this in a relatively short period of time. What do you think about this very positive response from the people?
Larissa: I think is worth it…because we spend so much time in England, now is kind of paid off. We have recorded our music, and now after two albums people is definitely more interested about our music
Your fist release was a split with la Fete Triste, How did this happen, do you are friends or something?
Larissa: (smiles) We’re not really so close friends…
Mateo LaFontaine: It was a label decision?
Larissa: It was an option that was given to us.
In these days people don’t buy too many records. Many underground bands have decided to go on their own, and they are releasing their stuff by themselves. In my opinion your record deal with Fabrika Records is quite an achievement. They contacted you? Or you send some demos?
Larissa: Is really amazing. I want to say this: Fabrika is a really amazing label and they are doing this because they love it. And they don’t want to make money, or anything. And for them it ought to pay off because they have been so generous. We are really close with this label.
You have different deals with record labels; there are vinyl albums, CD’s, and now cassettes; and that’s quite positive. Do you have plans for some re-releases of your albums? Because they have been very limited pressings; and now you have new fans all over the world, and they want some physical stuff.
Larissa: We want everybody to be able to buy something; we don’t want people to sell our records for really unfair prices on Discogs. We will release in some months something. They will be different editions, but with the same tracks
I have seen that you have been sharing the stage with bands from different musical styles; from Velvet Condom to Tanzkomando Untergang, and I have seen that your music has been accepted by people from different underground scenes. How do you feel about this?, Your shows are always attended by a mixed crowd?
Larissa: Yes, we really love when the crowd is mixed, it’s not just like a dress-code of black, you know: I’m on black; you are on black everybody is in black…
Mateo La Fontaine: Tomorrow I will be in pink during the show! (Laughs from everybody)
Larissa: If it’s what you want! (Smiles)…. She re-takes the question: I think…I love the mood, or something about how does it feel like. I don’t matter if they listen to country or whatever, or what are their influences; I like this mix.
William: I hope for more openness.
I think there is a complete congruence between your image and your music, there is some aesthetic. What can you say about this?
Larissa: We try to look very androgynous and sensitive, maybe it just reflects our time. These are dark times; and our music is about to feel that the world is cold, and people been proud to be insensitive. Is about the world getting insensitive and cut off the feelings…
I like your video clips, do you have support from your record label for this? Or are they self-financed?
Larissa: No, we don’t. We do everything ourselves. I been studying art in my university, and I edit and direct them, William is on the camera; and we are just doing all with a very low budget. We do like to really care about the videos. We want to put our own images and that’s very important, more than someone doing a video that we really don’t like; so we need that control.
I like it because they reminded me of the 80’s videos: The very early 80’s videos. You are doing something like that; it’s a concept which is very basic and straight…
Larissa: Yes, on terms of quality we tried to make them look very like VHS, we don’t like effects. We like that aesthetic (80’s); not HD or really great over-produced videos without that feeling, everyone can do videos like that. Our videos are really honest; and they are accessible to everyone, because we made them the way we wanted.
Now you have a new single; “Gallowdance” Do you have plans for a new album late this year?
Larissa: Yes, we will record the new album in April and May and June; probably it will be out in September or October. Probably it will be a higher number edition, because five hundred were sell out, within some days.
Who are the bands of the actual scene that do you like?
Larissa: I really, really like Tropic of Cancer. I meet them in L.A. and they are really great. Their music is very honest, and sad, and deep, with message… I like Selofan from Greece; they are awesome. They are people that I know in person too and I feel so much for their music. Do you like She Past Away?, from Turkey?
Yes! I like it. I made a review of their record…
Larissa: They are on Fabrika, Did you knew? …Yes, it’s a really great record! ..and..Human Puppets, do you like?
Larissa: But…I feel that lots of bands are interested in just make a track and upload it, make a track within an hour and upload it…I don’t like much the music of today, I really love so much the music from the 80’s (she smiles) I mentioned some bands which we have felt very honest…
They are really interesting…
Larissa: Yes! And they are also very unique.
Your two albums are self-produced and you have done a great job. Please, say some words about the process and the making of your two albums.
Larissa: We recorded and mixed both records ourselves. And it was taking quite a lot of time actually. We didn’t have enough money to pay it. But the new album will probably have again our mixing, because what we did before was really worth. You’ll see that. We want to keep the same sound that reminds you of the 80’s, and not something digital. We want to sound like something that you heard back in 1981.
Let’s talk about your lyrics, which are the topics that you are dealing with through the lyrics in your songs.
Larissa: It’s mainly about insensitivity of our time… We think that love has become more insensible and sad in our time. You don’t see too much those strong bindings, everyone wants to do it by themselves… and now there’s the Iphone and people spends more time on the phone instead of been together. We want a critic principle about this, and we have said this…it’s kind of: stepping out of the digital world. We really want to come together with friends more.
Even in your shirts there is some message, they are not the conventional band-logo T-shirts. What do you say about it?
Larissa: Yes we did, I don’t like too much the band shirts with some logo and the photo in it. It could be good for the people who like that; but for me, for myself, I want to do some statement: I want to do something that actually says something. I really like to express some idea in these shirts. Did you have seen the last of “Sadness Is Rebellion”?
Yes! (I have to admit that I could say something more at moment, while doing the interview: “Sadness is rebellion” is actually really interesting and true; because Sadness could be like a symptom, a way to manifest, or express that you are not in good terms with the world and the way it is)
What do you expect from your show in Mexico City? Did you have been receiving too much feedback from your fans in Mexico?
Larissa: (Laughs and seems happy, with a wide smile in her face) Yes! We have received more feedback from Mexico actually. So many people have been writing to us from Mexico. And do we are expecting a more warm, and a really interesting audience. In other places people is listening to us staring, with their arms crossed and they are very attentive to us actually; but in Mexico I expect more movement and warm. (And while she is saying this, she closes her fists in a gesture of energy)
It will be like that! (Laughs) It will be like that because we have received too many European bands, and the people here have a very strong connection with the European scene; and it has become bigger with the internet…
Larissa: I think that internet is really awesome; we have been in contact with people from Mexico, or Japan, they have discovered the band…
In these days the communication between the artists and the people is stronger…
Larissa: Yes is awesome, this time we have received messages from people saying: “ I want this song”, “I want this song”, “I want this song”… And this has never happened in any other county, only here…
The people here are warmer, more emotional, and more expressive. I can imagine, I can get the picture: They will be saying: “I love you!” They will be yelling your names, because they really love to their artists…
Larissa: Yeah, I Hope for that.
Thank you very much and welcome to Mexico city.
Two days later, they did a great and unforgettable show. I have some words with both of them and they seemed happy, warm and friendly. They said that they will return next year…Of course, I’ll be there. See you next time!