One of the most popular bands from Mainz, Hanne Kah, will release their new album “Y” May 10th and play at Kassettendeck in Mainz the same day. We met them in Mainz-Gonsenheim last fall to watch them rehearse, skate and find out about their involvedness in environmental protection.
You said that one of your biggest influences was Brandi Carlile. What fascinates you with this American singer-songwriter and what similarities between her and your music can be traced?
— Apart from Brandi Carlile’s extraordinary voice, it’s her melodies and lyrics which trigger strong emotions in me. Her music captivates me and every note feels real and authentic. I’ve been listening to Brandi’s music since my teenage years, so I guess it’s safe to say that she has been and still is a major influence on my songwriting. It is very important to me that authenticity and real, old-fashioned music making are in the foreground.
Just like Carlile, you’re involved in activism campaigns, most notably Fridays for Future, which you supported all over Germany with the performance of your new single “Greta”, named after the campaign’s brain and founder, Greta Thunberg. What do you want to express with this single?
— This song is our statement for being US, for NATURE, for TOGETHERNESS. It’s an affirmative song, which describes a way of live and creates an awareness for a sustainable future. We first heard of Greta (Thunberg) during the summer of 2018 while we were in the process of writing the songs for our new album („Y“). She immediately caught our attention and excitement flooded us which led us to finishing this song the following night – without knowing to what extend Greta’s actions would lead. Greta, for us, is a symbol of strength and determination, fighting for sustainability – a topic we care for immensely.
Some of your inspiration for the song “Greta” may also stem from your recent trip to Ghana. On social media, you’ve documented your experience with the young generation of Africa and their actions for environmental protection and sustainability. What experiences did you make there?
— Going to Ghana was like diving into a whole other world. Africa as a developing country is often described as a country which can’t afford to care a lot about sustainability or environmental protection. Therefore it was even nicer to see that the younger generation actually begins to deal with these things.
Nevertheless it was terrifying to see what is going on at the junk yards like Agbogbloshie in Accra. This is where all the western electronic trash goes and is burnt or further processed. The people living at this place are fighting for their survival – an issue we should all be aware of. Our consumption and luxury means that other people are suffering … from this point of view environmental protection receives a whole new meaning.
We live in a time where globalization and digitization set up the rules and we have to be more and more careful not to lose ourselves in that.
The young generation will also be an important theme on your new album “Y”, being released this May. The song “Generation” deals with the necessity to unite forces of different generations to face the challenges of the future. What do you want to achieve with the new album?
— Yes, actually Generation Y is the namesake for our new album „Y“. While sitting together at our songwriting camp last year, we were discussing about possible topics. It quickly became clear to us, that we wanted to write about things that are a big deal for our generation. We live in a time where globalization and digitization set up the rules and we have to be more and more careful not to lose ourselves in that. Every generation has to make its contribution and we have to re-learn to listen more carefully and to be more attentive. This is why it’s important that the generations are motivated to communicate with each other – because in the end we’re not that different at all: „Listening to the tunes, we’re not so different at all..“ Hanne Kah – Generation (2019)
Another reoccuring theme in your music is the search for a belonging, a home, your roots. As a band that was born and grew stronger together in Mainz, how important has your work with music in this city been for your development?
— When you spend so many years at one place, every corner will become so familiar and important that it will give you strength. As a band you’re on the road a lot. Mainz is therefore our port to which we always return to. Many songs were inspired by or written in this city. I wrote the song „After Stormy Tides“ for example after a long time on tour, when I was sitting peacefully in my living room.
The good thing about this city is that there’s no rivalry between the bands.
On May 10th, you will play at the traditional “Kassettendeck” event in Mainz. What’s your stand on the local music scene?
— We love playing those traditional events in Mainz and to get to know new musicians. The good thing about this city is that there’s no rivalry between the bands. It’s all about meeting people and bonding and each and every one of these connections is treasured and brings lots of joy. At this year’s „Johannisnacht“ for example, we will play with local musicians which we are totally looking forward to! Another special occasion is the release of our new album on May 10th at the Kassettendeck in Mainz.