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AAA Music | 15 August 2022

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A CHAT WITH: HANA B

| On 02, Jul 2013

hana B 2

Hana B is an Italian London-based band. They started playing together in early 2000 and moved in the UK in 2008 to record their second album Ruins’ Hotel and decided to settle in London. They finished recording their third album Doors and released the first single and b-side Merry-Go-Round and ‘Hole In My Soul‘. AAAmusic interviewer Monica Guerrasio had a chat with them about their latest work.

AAAmusic: Your name comes from Takeshi Kitano’s film. Why did you guys decide to name the band after the film?

Hana B: The atmosphere really hit us. It was poetic and delicate but, at the same time, you could see this unexpected peaks of violence. The contrast was striking and inspiring.

AAAmusic: You started playing when you were together in high school, we’re talking about 10 years ago; during you career you published two full length albums Camera Oscura in 2006 and Ruins’ Hotel in 2010. When did you decide to move to London and why?

Hana B: We came all together in 2008 because Ruins’ Hotel producer, James Loughrey, was from London. Our initial plan was to come here and stay few months before and during the whole recording process, but then we ended up living and working here. There was a long process behind our second album, we didn’t record the material all together; there have been long intervals. It took us a year to finish everything, we launched it in March 2010.

AAAmusic: The sound of your two new singles is completely different from your previous album, there is a prominent electronic vein. What’s the new concept behind Doors?

Hana B: It had been a while since the last time we recorded something and when we got together we all wanted to do something new. Things, in the meantime, had changed quite a bit. Fabrizio, our singer, wasn’t here in London so he had to come all the way down and the keyboardist left the band. We decided to set the recording studio in our house, rather than spend money on a studio. Then for a whole month, in January, we wrote and recorded music and lyrics.

AAAmusic: How did the creative process work with this album?

Hana B: It was different from the other times. We basically forgot about what was going outside the house and started jamming. Some things were more interesting than others and when we found the sound we were looking for, we started working on that. The difference from what we used to do is that before we worked on ideas that were already clear and we focused on those until the song was perfect, which kind of led us to miss something. This is a rougher and more spontaneous album and has contributions from everyone. We went for a more electronic sound, freer and more contemporaneous. It wasn’t easy, but things started falling into place from the second week. We wrote music and lyrics at the same time therefore there is a stronger connections between the two elements.  We’re also taking care of the production for the first time. Another new element is the video. We asked our friend, Eleonora Mignoli, to do the videoclip for ‘Merry-go-round‘ and she agreed, we’re also working on a video for ‘Hole in My Soul‘ which we will self-produce. We’re trying to merge different things: music, words and images; we want to create an Hana B experience.

Ruin’s Hotel was heavily produced, this album had a lower budget but this doesn’t mean it’s worse, it’s more ours and home-made. It’s also an ethical choice, it’s more honest.

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AAAmusic: I heard Merry-go-round and Hole in my soul. The latter is an old song that you wrote few years ago and you’re now presented in a different dress, what changes did you make?

Hana B: We kept the melody and the lyrics but we changed and re-recorded some parts and now it’s completely different from the one we wrote in 2011.

AAAmusic: What kind of promotion do you have on your mind?

Hana B: We’ve always worked with the same Italian label since our first record, Operà Country Suite Studio. They’ve been very supportive but most of their contacts are in Italy. We are thinking to push with a tour across Europe including UK, France, Belgium supported by other local labels. But we still don’t know if we will release the whole album or if we’ll publish several singles a month apart from each other.

AAAmusic: Have you ever toured around UK?

Hana B: When we were waiting for the second album to come out we went touring around the country. We met all sorts of different people and bands we’re still in touch with and had a great response from the public; of course everything changes depending on the place where you perform. We felt more welcomed in the North of England in places like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. In London the live bands are mainly just a warm up for the dj set. Outside London the band is the main thing.

AAAmusic: How do you feel about your position of being across two different countries, languages and musical cultures?

Hana B: Well we grew up in Italy but we also grew up not listening to Italian music. This is something only Italians worry about. There are French bands, like AIR, they sound International and no one cares where they come from. In Italy we lack this open mind and this approach to music. If you’re an Italian band and sing in English people tend to snob you and think you’re pretending to be something you’re not. There are few Italian bands that record albums in English and then go on European tour and actually accomplish something outside of Italy. I was reading an article on an Italian newspaper, it was about Italian independent bands and I know and listen most of them. One of the greatest example is Toys Orchestra. They’ve been playing for the last decade, they’re always touring around the country, they’ve been on National radio and television, they’ve recorded tons of records but, outside of Italy, no one knows they even exist. And, on the other hand, English and American bands benefit of high levels of attention, even if they’re not more than average.

To us, English always came natural. Probably because most of the music we were and we’re into is English but also because we have friends from all over Europe and the world. English is the easiest way to communicate with as many as we can.

Monica Guerrasio