An interview with Hanin Elias in Cannes

Hello dear readers, today you are in for a very special review… As look around! 
Okay look around again but look beyond your screen… Can you see it now? We are in Cannes! You didn’t see that one coming, he? But as you know we are always full of surprises, and thought that it would be a nice gift to you (our dear readers) to without prior warning tele-transport you to this City located at the French Riviera… the purpose for this surprise visit? Well I thought we could walk around and review the city sounds, have a bit of a well-deserved reader/writer vacation in the sun… It’s pretty nice here don’t you think? And pretty hot too! Its 30 degrees today!

^ Surprise dear reader! You are in Cannes!!

^ Surprise dear reader! You are in Cannes!!

I know… I know… Before we go for a sound review of Cannes I agree with your hot and thirsty look to indeed (by all means!) find a terrace for a refreshing beverage of some sort and celebrate our time together… I’ve never been here but this city is full of lovely looking terraces to sit and chill… Here is one… But it seems to be full…

^ this terrace seems to be full

^ this terrace seems to be full

Over there is another one… Ah this one seems nice… A parasol above every table, comfortable looking chairs and a view of the beach… It’s certainly looks perfect.. But it seems like every table and chair has been occupied… Or ah! There is one chair left next to that exotic looking person over there… Let’s hope the seat isn’t taken yet..

‘Excuse me… Is this seat taken? No? Do you mind if I sit here with you and the readers at home? No? You don’t mind? Oh thank you… Thank you so much…’

Well readers at home, here we sit… Beautiful view, good chair, lovely summer weather and all thanks to this lovely person here allowing us to share the table with her… Maybe the least we can do is offering her a drink, after all its vacation time.. If you all get the money out (after all I brought you here to Cannes for free) so I can buy myself and miss…

^ the exotic looking person...

^ the exotic looking person…

Excuse me… Would you mind lifting up your sunglasses for a little bit?
Wait a minute… Aren’t you.. No.. Really? Hanin Elias?! Here? In Cannes!? Here at this table?! Wow dear readers, I guess we have a very lucky day! Sun, sea, a place to sit and a perfect companionship! Don’t expect me talking about the sounds of Cannes no more… Out of all tables, chairs and terraces in Cannes we happen to pick the one with an empty chair next to Hanin Elias… The universe works in such a funny way, it’s almost too good to be a coincidence!

Hanin Elias… You don’t mind me calling you Hanin Elias, do you? Even if you aren’t, you can just play along…

Hanin Elias:

Yes, I am! So funny to meet my facebookfriend here in Cannes!
Is that even possible?

^ as you can see : Nothing is impossible!

^ as you can see : Nothing is impossible!

I see you have been drinking already something, but would you like perhaps a new fresh refreshing beverage? Me (with the help of the readers at home) would like to buy us a drink to celebrate this pretty marvelous sunny day… What would you like to drink? Maybe we can taste some things from the card? We can share something if you d’like.. It can be anything… The readers at home will pay for it… No worries! What would you like?

Hanin Elias:

It’s so hot! I go for an orange juice and maybe an ice-cream?.
Thank you readers.

garçon! garçon… We would like to order… orange juices, and ice-cream.. refreshing beverages..

So what brings you here at this sunny terrace in Cannes?

Hanin Elias:

I take a little holiday in the sun with my daughter who is at the beach right now.
We were watching some Hitchcock movies before we came here like ‚To catch a thief‘
and decided that this is a nice place to spend a week for two ladies.

This city is pretty fascinating… It has such a huge history of harsh battles, and independence & now of course it’s a city that is automatically linked to the Cannes Film Festival.. Glitter and glamour, Marilyn Monroe, independent movies, red carpets & carpenters… I’m not really sure what to think about it other than them too having a good taste for sunny beaches… Do you have anything with movies? I’ve picked up a gossip that you have a small part in a movie named ‘Back to Nothing’ by Miron Zownir and Nico Anfuso…

Hanin Elias:

We stay in Nice but took a day trip to Cannes.
My kids lived with me in French Polinesia and learned perfect french there.
That’s why i take them to french speaking countries for more practice, you know.
Also, my mom was a big Grace Kelly fan.
She loved her posture and style in the 50ies.
So i grew up with these sorts of movies and music.
You know that she married Prince Rainier III of Monaco and died in a mysterious car accident?

About the film of Miron Zownir and Nico Anfuso,
Do you know the works of Miron Zownir?
He is a photographer and shot very strong dark images in the 80s and 90s!
We know each other from the Berlin Art Scene and himand Nico asked me if i wanna take a bit part in their no budget movie and i was excited.
Watching the movie now with the crew and friends was really an experience!
It’s so skurril and bizarre, very dark but also funny in a sick way 🙂
Lots of friends played in it and i only knew the one scene that i participated until the screening. Very underground and intense!

You know it’s actually pretty cool to meet you here you know… Before turning into this suck up fest, I would love to tell you in person that your music has brought me great joy and power now, and while growing up.  It’s perhaps strange to hear (I self-hate it when someone comes up with a compliment) but your songs are fairly connected with my own thoughts, making it somehow a feast of recognition, something to empower that natural feeling from within.

Discovering your music while growing up was such a blessing… I mean first of all I wasn’t a big fan of punk guitar stuff, so to hear that there is actual electronic music out with words that are no blank shots fired, but actual shots that contain an actual message and an actual powerful meaning; it was (and still is) something I could identify with…

It made me feel less alone and disturbed in this world where every commercial ‘pop’ song pushed in the charts has no meaning, or is even working hard to create a (to me backwards) image of glorifying materialism, sexism and obedience. Buy this, consume that, clips of hookers and sluts and guys in suits driving around in a limousine seems to be the norm…

I’m a sucker for a catchy hook, a pop melody of some kind, but there aren’t (not that I can think off) any artists out there that actually make memorable catchy music and songs that empower the individual (no matter what sex) , with lyrics that exposes ‘the culprits of evil’ like money, power, materializations, militarization.. But also actually giving power to set minds free, not to be obstructed in a relationship in which men loses itself / a medicine against dumbing down society that set people free & setting them to a electronic punk pop frame that goes in the head and will never leave.. Ah! Sorry for my long gibberish ‘thank you’ thing… I just had to get it out of the way… Did you have any artist(s) or bands that inspired you to do your own thing when you grew up?

Hanin Elias:

You can’t imagine how good it feels to hear that from you!
As a musician i always try to get close to people and make connections through a song, my inner feeling describes notes and melodies and if someone pays attention to the lyrics and can identify with what i think as well, it makes me very happy and i feel a connection to the outside world.
We all have that need.

I have so many influences that i can’t decide what influence struck me most.
I don’t believe in monoculture and love to mix my personal experiences with music that touched me in different stages of my life.
Electronic Music has by far the biggest influence.
Also the time when i was in Kindergarten in Syria where my father is from, influenced my hearing.
They listen to arabic music which doesn’t hit the notes as western music. I like the melancholic off tune that touches other nerves when you sing or play it.

Writing lyrics isn’t easy; especially ones that are actually are conveying a clear message… Did this skill come to you in a natural way, or did you perhaps learn for it somehow?

Hanin Elias:

I always loved to express myself in words since i was a child.
It came naturally.
I like to find words that express complex things in the most simple and direct way.

How do you write a song? Are the lyrics coming first or perhaps the music? How do you usually like to work? Haha I’m sorry if I ask too many questions… I’m just interested…

Hanin Elias:

Hm, i write in my little notebook all the time, even at night in the middle of my dream.
i think a lot about all kinds of subjects all the time.
Be it Politics, Injustice, Sociology, Love, psychology, possible alternative ways of living, thinking, feeling, opening your mind…
I have melodies in mind record them on my phone.
I also worked with lots of talented musicians that could handle my authoritarian way of describing how i want to have the song without being able to eradicates or play any instruments.
I have a way of beatboxing and humming each instrument and sit next to them until it sounds like i had it in mind.
I already hear the finished song in my mind with a  b and c part and just have to get it across with hands and feet to the person i work with.
That’s sometimes very funny in the beginning of a work process but when we find a language it works fine.
I record some demo versions at home and sing to it but i’m never happy with it and need to work with professionals on them more.
I have no patience to do the technical perfection alone at home.

I have the feeling that the garçon has forgotten our order… Or maybe we are simply talking too much, as our mouths are turning into a crackled dry desert…

^ our mouths are starting to look like a dry desert

^ our mouths are starting to look like a dry desert

What? What you say? You want to order a dessert? A dessert while we wait for our drinks? something else than your ordered ice cream? Excellent idea! What kind of ice cream? Ah… The ice cream of the day? garçon! garçon!

garçon: oui madam, oui Monsieur?

Can we both have the Ice cream of the day please?

garçon: oui oui..

Thank you so much..
999999888The garçon seems like such a nice guy.. He reminds me of this French guy that I’ve never met named Arnaud Barbe.. He loves your music too, maybe we can make a selfie when we have the ice cream and send it to him.. He will probably fall of his French fauteuil when he sees us here sitting in the sun spooning up the upcoming scoops of ice cream haha…

In the time we wait for our ice cream I wanted to ask you something that has been boggling my mind… I have this unclassified hate for money… I can’t place it other than ‘you can’t eat money’… Yet if we didn’t have our rich readers at home emptying their pockets to buy us ice cream and refreshing beverages today, we probably wouldn’t even be allowed to sit here drinking and eating.. It’s this money system that sits in between everything and it’s (how hard we try) difficult to go money less, it’s possible but you will always need someone who has it around or basically end up starving to death. It’s a harsh world out there and I fantasize a lot how it would be a better place somehow… When I think of my fantasy world in which money doesn’t exist; we could just pay each-other in all kinds of services… It would be such a better place… I mean I bake you a loaf of bread in exchange for your latest song, and someone else knits us a warm coat, and we cleanup the knitters’ living room… Exchanging things… I don’t know if it’s really clear what I mean… But wouldn’t it be a much more pleasant world if instead of money we could pay with the giving talents that each individual has, or just some helpful tasks? I don’t know… Do you have some thoughts on this? What would be your perfect world?

Hanin Elias:

Of course i have and i lived for it in French Polynesia where i stayed for 5 years.
They have a great mentality and philosophy of living.
Real Tahitians are all about the Mana. Being authentic and real and doing everything only if they do it with conviction.
They would feel offended if you would wanna pay them for doing something they did out of the love for doing it.
I moved there because i wanted to experience how life would be in such another mind set.
A mind set that we are all yearning for deep inside!
Money is responsible for so much war and hate and also to distance us from ourselves and each other.

Ah! The lovely garçon is here… With refreshing beverages and ice cream… Life in Cannes in the sun is good, and suddenly it even got better. garçon? What is this ice cream of the day actually? It looks delicious, but what is it exactly?

garçon: the special of today is the ice Scream Fantome Remix


Oh Hanin Elias, this ice Scream Fantome Remix must be the best ice Scream in the world! What a taste! It reminds me of the latest music video of you and Noia. What a great adventure that must have been to film the video-clip in that vast amount of a landscape… How was this experience filming in the desert? Did you learn any valuable lessons on this specific journey perhaps?

Hanin Elias:

First let me tell you about this mysterious Noia!
He made Techno Music with Winston and one of his tracks was in the famous Technoviking Video that has millions and millions of clicks!
The Technoviking dances like crazy to Noia and Winston’s track 🙂
Not everyone knows that.
Also, Noia is a Lawyer for a living 🙂
His real name is Kai Jüdemann.

Filming in the desert was awesome!
We spent 9 days with a driver and the camera team of Virus Films and just drove to the most magic places in Morocco.
I wanted the video to be filmed in the desert because the desert represents so much fear nowadays with the horrible images we have to suck in lately.
But also the desert always represents a place to meditate, to find yourself.
I wanted to show the journey of a person trying to escape her situation of being trapped by escaping into her inner self and through loneliness comes to a shore of hope and a new horizon.
It also stands for the refugees trying to find a new place and way of living when they can’t return to their war torn countries.

^ Hanin Elias and new friends in the desert

^ Hanin Elias and new friends in the desert

Maybe a stupid question (as we are living so far in the future…) But how did you actually met back in the day to form Atari Teenage Riot? I just imagine it being this dark and brewing scene of basements with lots of tension between at the time like-minded talents that could explode in creativity with the birth of something new, or basically implode into self-destruction… I’m basically just curious how it was like back than in Berlin in contrast with Berlin now…

Hanin Elias:
Sorry, i have to go to the bathroom real quick!

coming back after 4 minutes….

Skipping back to the future… Or perhaps it’s called ‘the now’, but you formed this great new band together with Marcel Zürcher named Fantôme. How did you two met and how did Fantôme got born?

There is this great mix and match in chemistry within the music of Fantôme which felt to me (from what I’ve heard) very refreshing.  Fantôme’s first single ‘Love’ is so incredibly catchy, and to me sounds so powerful in such a positive way; it was a nice shock to feel so much love bursting out at once.

The video came as a fairytale, And with you in there enjoying a foam bath in the forest ground, dancing flower fairies and (not unimportant!) Marcel Zürcher covered in mud; it must have been lots of fun to make…
I love how you and Marcel focused on a theme of powerful love, as there is so much music out there powered by the opposite; or if it’s about love it mostly becomes just a total weak snooze fest.. I mean it’s rare to hear a strong song that is powerful in a loving way… Haha I think the refreshing beverages and the sun & ice Scream mix are hitting my brain hard… I can’t seem to think straight anymore… Is love one of your motivational factors in life?

Hanin Elias:

Yes it is! The song ‚Love‘ came out of pure naivity of the moment when you don’t think, just feel and listen to the music and let the words run out of your subconscious onto the paper.
I wrote the lyrics just to fit them into the music to try how i would put the words into the melody i had mind.
I wanted to change the lyrics later into something more thoughtful but it just felt right to have this spontaneous authentic feeling without thought about the subject ‚Love‘.

Marcel and me worked on our project Fantome for over 10 years with lots of interruptions by our lives 🙂
Then it was just stagnating because none of us had enough money to produce the Album the way we wanted it to sound like.
But then Monaco came into play!
Because a friend of mine decided she didn’t wanna do her DJ job, she asked me if i could go instead.
That’s how i  dj’ed for a private party of some old-timer automobile collectors and sellers here in Monaco when a very wealthy and nice older gentleman asked me what else i do besides djing.
I gave him some of my cd’s and some weeks later he offered me to support my next Album!
It was like a miracle!
Don’t worry, he was married and no worries for any weird thoughts 😉
He just wanted to be part of something creative in the making!
Then Marcel and me could record the Album in Paris!

^ Hanin Elias, Marcel Zürcher in Paris

^ Hanin Elias, Marcel Zürcher in Paris

The refreshing beverages making me want to see some nibble thingies… Normally I’m not a big fan of real life table nibbles, but sitting here with you it feels suddenly a fun action to ask the garçon for a pair of nuts to nibble…
Are you allergic for something nibbling wise?

Hanin Elias:

No allergies!

^ No Allergies! says Hanin.. while KN (on the left) thinks about nibbling nuts

^ No Allergies! says Hanin.. while KN (on the left) thinks about nibbling nuts

Garçon! Garçon..

Garçon: oui?

Some nuts to nibble please garçon..

Garçon: oui..

Such a nice guy this waiter is… Strange job title really… A waiter… But you see him never waiting; he is non-stop running around this terrace in Cannes in this hot temperature, taking orders and delivering things… It’s a tough job really… What has been your worst job experience?

Hanin Elias:

He looks like he is having a good time doing so.
He is such a natural!

I was a rockstar once with ATR until we split-up after 11 years of touring the world because of personal reasons

I Had my label once: Fatal Recordings, but we had to stop because of the end of the music business as we knew it…but we had a good time!

I Had a gallery for endartete Kunst once, called Galerie Elias in Berlin.

I have been a massage therapist in french polynesia for locals and honeymoon couples but that was a good experience!

Now I am a salesgirl in an alternative Upcycling store, also a good experience,

i also work at a lawyers office and find that very interesting too…

must say, i only had mostly good job experiences so far.

I have to admit that as a penniless blogger I didn’t have the chance to hear the complete ‘it all makes sense’ album yet, but there is (next to ‘Love’) ‘je suis a toi’ and ‘Song for God’ available on YouTube. Which is a great way to check the music and visuals out (if you haven’t already)… A lot of things have changed through the years… I remember your videos on VHS (which totally had its charm!) and nowadays it’s all online… It has its upside and downside perhaps… What do you think about this internet age in relationship to independent music?

Hanin Elias:

As a penniless musician i must say that it’s a shame that i can’t live anymore of the earnings for songs and videos i release but  i love sharing it.
But people just watch it and forget about it the next day because they didn’t had to make an efford to see or get or get to hear the music.
It’s like fast food.
Fast food that took my heart and should to create it ,
all my savings and all my time….

^ someone of the internet generation is watching ice Scream

^ someone of the internet generation is watching ice Scream

Uh, Hanin.. Do you fancy some more ice cream? I really feel we should have all he ice creams on the menu… It just doesn’t happen every day to have some nice terrace time in Cannes… It’s a reason to celebrate! Sun, drinks, good companion… Life can be good sometimes, especially when shared with nice people…

Garçon.. Garçon!

Garçon: oui?

All the ice creams on the menu please… chocolate, green tea, banana, vanilla, rum, Scream, toffee, mango… every single one of them… thank you, so much…

Garçon: oui.. oui…
4444You know I really like the video for ‘Je Suis A Toi’ and had the intention to write a post about it but never did it because of… Well… My French… It sucks… I had to learn it in school but had this terrible teacher… Mister Snakes… I even remember his name… It was basically him standing in front of a blackboard showing his ass or (if he would be standing the other way) his face molded in a weird frown and basically laughing at how everyone sucked… He was instead of a teacher more some kind of bully… So basically I blame mister Snakes for not being able to understand the lyrics of this song… And believe me, I even asked that French friend Arnaud Barbe to watch it and translate it for me… But he went off the internet to spend time with his girlfriend… So well this is awkward… But now that you are here.. For the non-French speakers, what is the song ‘Je Suis A Toi’ about?

Hanin Elias:

je suis a toi means ‚I am your’s‘

it could be seen as a love song but was actually the last warning to a boy
that if he keeps on doing what he does i will go because i am not his living doll 🙂
and then i left…and went back to Berlin.

Hey I wanted to ask.. Maybe a real stupid question… but where can people buy the album? It’s out on Lynch law Records, right? I will write it down, so when next time I write a review I can put down a link for the right directions…

Hanin Elias:

people can buy the Vinyl Picture disc (which is different from the original Fantome Album) from Lynch Law or from me personally with signature.
Just contact me on my Facebook and send it to them.
The original Fantome Album ‚It all makes sense‘
 is available digitally on Cleopatra Records and as a CD.

Ah the Garçon! With hands full of ice creams! Oh bless you friend… What would we have done without you and your large hands carrying all these ice creams at once?
Oh… They are so many… I don’t think we can eat them all by ourselves….
<a stranger> …excuse me.. My name is Alex Spalding… I’m sitting a table next to yours and just happen to pick up your conversation… would it be okay to relief you two from an ice cream heart burn, and take some to share with my ice cream loving friends? I’m in a band you know…. we are called Material Action and will be playing tonight in the hotel lobby at bl….

^ a stranger named Alex Spalding who had been sitting nearby interrupts our conversation, and gets away with a lot of ice cream

^ a stranger named Alex Spalding who had been sitting nearby interrupts our conversation, and gets away with a lot of ice cream

yes.. yes… take all the ice cream that you and your friends want… can’t you see we are here on holiday? Can’t you hear us having an interesting conversation?

<Alex Spalding> thanks for the ice creams… here is my demo…

I’m sorry Hanin Elias… I didn’t want to sound grumpy, but this Alex Spalding is a bit of a stalker… He follows me everywhere and then acts like it’s a coincidence when he pops up… He is a good guy, but full of bullshit stories… He is a bit like me really…  Anyway… sorry for that little interference… 

You lived in French Polynesia, right? How was the weather and how are the people there compared to here in Cannes?

Hanin Elias:

Just wonderful! Always warm and very humid and lot’s of Mosquitos 24/7!
People are the opposite of typical french people 🙂

^ eh.. excuse moi..

^ eh.. excuse moi..

Its like comparing native indians to americans.

I saw some pictures of Polynesia. It must be a very wonderful and freeing kind of place… What brought you back to Berlin? Is Berlin more a source of creativity to you then Polynesia? Better ice Scream?

Hanin Elias:

Yes, the ice scream is better in Berlin and also the creative exchange but i would go back to Huahine any time if i could afford another flight ticket!

You have collaborated with an amazing bunch of artists and of course still do! The latest one that I’m aware of is you working with Electrosexual… which from ‘an electro kind of feel’ is one combo to be quite excited about. I can’t ask how those collaborations come together in general, but how did you two find a mutual place in creativity to make the ‘automatic people’ single?

Hanin Elias:

We just played each other songs and sounds and sat together getting lost in music!
We work on some tracks together and i must say that working with Romain is very fast and effective. He is also french 🙂
Soon we will continue when he is back from Tokio.
We made some amazing songs together!
Automatic people is just one of them but i love this song and the lyrics are about losing yourself and the relationships to all people that matter because the system forces you to work for pennies in order to achieve the most basic needs!

What will you do next after our terrace in Cannes talk? Maybe we can go for a swim in the blue sea later? The view of it looks so inviting…  

Hanin Elias:

Yes! My daughter is waving at us from the beach! Do you see her?

..not sure... if i see her... (your host mumbles in his head)

..not sure… if i see her… (your host mumbles in his head)

Let’s go!

Maybe it’s a good moment to ask the waiter for the bill and let the readers at home pay for our ice creams and beverages...

Garçon!  Garçon? Can we have the bill please?  Le’ check, S’il vous plaît ..

Garçon: madame, Monsieur here is your bill…

…. Oh… That’s … That’s a pretty high bill… Refreshing beverages, table nibbles, service fee, umbrella rental, ice Screams… Seems about right… Uhm.. Wait a moment garçon I’ll speak to the readers at home…

Hi dear readers… In case you had not noticed… We have an interactive situation over here; now it’s up to you to empty your socks with change, search the floor for bank notes, or get those golden teeth from your grandma out of the jar… Whatever it takes really to pay the bill over here… I mean it’s the least thing you can do sitting over there while me and Hanin Elias are doing all the work..

Readers? Readers are you reading me, dear readers?

Hello? Readers..?

Hmm Hanin pssshhhh Hanin … Sorry for me whispering but I don’t want the friendly garçon to be suspicious… But I guess the readers are gone or are not responding.. Are you okay for a sprint out of here? … Or wait maybe we order another ice Scream Fantôme remix and when the garçon is going to get it, we both go one by one pretending to the restrooms.. And basically disappear… Or do you want to be honest and do the dishes with me instead? Trust me I saw the bill… thank you for the awesome chat… really its great! But I think it’s best to do a runner…

Hanin Elias:

let’s wash the dishes……haha

P.S. for more Hanin Elias please do visit and befriend her on facebook
and youtube … <

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3 Responses to An interview with Hanin Elias in Cannes

  1. This interview is great, you and Hanin are totally hilarious. This also makes me really appreciate French Polynesian culture! Sending all the loves, thank you both for this magical thing! ❤

  2. Caffeinate says:

    Indeed, this was pretty awesome 😀

  3. Pingback: Hanin Elias – The Mixes of Fantome | Yeah I Know It Sucks

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