Lebanon Hanover

Interview by Sydney van Nieuwaal
Photos by Isolde Woudstra

Lebanon Hanover is “an ice cold reply to the alienated world coming from two warm beating hearts.” Larissa Iceglass and William Maybelline united because of a shared perception of the modern world – sensing a lack in true love and sensitivity. Translating this sentiment into their music, Lebanon Hanover uses sadness as a form of rebellion. We shot the duo some questions, aiming to get a more thorough grasp of their art.

A lot of your music reads as an unhappy and somber response to how you perceive the present world – often touching upon themes of hopelessness, decay and death. However, a longing and, I would say, a sense of hope shines through in interviews and biographies. Are you able to fulfill this longing in any way, shape or form throughout creating music?

Larissa: I always felt like looking at the world from the outside as a total alien – observing and detecting negative streams. I felt like humans detach and lose each other more from year to year, but since the formation of our band magical things seemed to happen. More and more wonderful sensitive people appeared in my life and this gave me a lot of faith in humanity. I’m not as close to the abyss anymore as a few years before. So in that sense I would say the creation of our music has saved us big time.

William: It has always been since the beginning of creating music that it brought a sense of stillness and an encapsulated healing effect – a balance. For us dealing with our own dark outlooks of human collapse, it makes sense that the ones who remain sensitive synchronize with us. Passion and hope will always remain in our music. For there may never be a utopia, we shall continue to summon this within our productions.

‘The lyrics and symbols are what we embalm our message with.’

Are you able to fulfill this longing from your fans?

W: Due to the incredibly touching response from the fans, it seems we do. With the simple knowledge that our music has made such an effect is a wonder to behold and a healing on it’s own.

L: We have received touching gifts and special compliments throughout the years from fans. The fact that we’ve developed a very peculiar emotional crowd is quiet fulfilling actually.

Do you get the sense that fans are connecting with Lebanon Hanover on more than a musical level?

L: We probably give the feeling to strangers that they are alright the way they are – no matter how strange they are.

W: It feels as though our music has gone beyond the realms of the physical and even the metaphysical, our fans get completely compelled and moved in ways we would have never imagined. This pleases us greatly.

What role do your lyrics and symbolism play into your relationship with your fans and the deficiencies of the present world you’re addressing?

‘We sense a strong bond between us and the audience when we’re playing.’

L: Most lyrics and symbols are rather concrete and perhaps even quite basic. Because of this it’s easy for the audience to detect our thoughts and feelings. It’s important for me not to be ambiguous or mysterious in what I’m trying to express.

W: The lyrics and symbols are what we embalm our message with. We decorate with words, and accordingly, certain words and symbols speak in big effects to us. They eclipse our heart and give animation to our vision.

How does performing live tie into the connection with your fans?

W: It is the living flesh, we give and receive what heals.

L: The ultimate way to connect with fans is at shows. We sense a strong bond between us and the audience when we’re playing.

You mentioned that literature is your favourite art form and that you spend a chunk of your spare time reading. Is there a text or a novel you think we should really read – to understand your way of thinking?

L: Thomas Bernhard – der Untergeher. This is my all-time favorite book and whoever connects to his melodies, darkness and humour would most likely also connect with me.

W: Anything, Arthur Rimbaud.

Is there any movie would you love to make the soundtrack for?

L: Dialogue avec mon Jardinier.

W: Stranger Things.

Lebanon Hanover are playing at Grauzone Festival, 9 February in the Hague. We’re giving away 5 x 2 tickets for the festival! More info here <3