We caught up with Hélène de Thoury, the creative force behind minimal darkwave band Hante., in the wake of her latest release FIERCE and the announcement that she’s teaming back up with Amandine Stioui to put out new Minuit Machine material later this year.
Hi Hélène, thanks for granting us this interview! We ended up getting really sidetracked over at OU trying to figure out how to pronounce Hante. So I have to start out asking, what’s the right way to say it?
H: Hi! Thanks very much! Haha that's a very common question. In french, you don't pronounce the "H" nor the "e". So it sounds like "aunt" actually.
Editor’s note: We totally didn’t feel dumb when we got the answer back :)
You’ve been making music for the better part of a decade and it’s been widely influential. Many other up and coming dark/synthwave bands seem to take inspiration from all the projects you’ve been involved with. Phosphor, Minuit Machine, and Hante. How do you feel about having that kind of impact?
H: Wow! That's a really nice question! Is it true? I don't realise it! But of course, it's very flattering if it's the case. I think it's a dream come true for all musician to be cited as an inspiration.
Do you have formal music training or have you studied music theory?
H: I took some music theory courses when I was a child and I played the harp from 8 to 17 years old. It surely helps me to have a musical ear but the music I'm doing today is more a question of feelings. I never think about the technical aspect of the music. And I'm sure I'm doing plenty of "mistakes". If it sounds good, if it feels right, if there's emotions, I'm fine with it! And actually, it's what I love with electronic music, sometimes there are little accidents, a midi note moved, you selected the wrong sound and suddenly it's what makes the melody special.
Especially with Hante., your songs are so raw and emotional, and your latest album FIERCE is no exception. How do you want your listeners to feel when they hear your music, and were any songs difficult for you to write or record?
H: There are plenty of songs I had a hard time recording my voice on. Because it was breaking, I was about to cry at any moment. It's what happens when the lyrics are too personal, when the words resonate and hurt. I think the hardest was "Living in a French Movie" and "Quiet Violence" from the EP "No Hard Feelings" that I both wrote after the Paris attacks in 2015. I'm also thinking about "Lies//Light" from the album "Between Hope & Danger", I still have a hard time singing the chorus on stage. In "FIERCE", "Serre-moi Encore" and "I Don't Need a Hero" were tough ones… It's what I love about music in general, the fact that it's a perfect way to feel some some strong emotions. And so many bands offered me deep feelings, helped me in all kind of moments, to heal, to celebrate, to put words and melodies on top of my stories. I hope to be able to offer that to my listeners as well.
Last year (2018) in May you played your first US show in DC as Hante.. Are you excited to come back to the States later this spring for your extended three city tour? Do you have any plans to do a full tour in the future now that you’re on Metropolis Records?
H: I cannot wait! I am over excited! Actually I will be playing eight dates in the US (Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, San Diego, Phoenix, Houston and Miami). It was already a dream come true to play in DC and Brooklyn last year. But playing in the West, where I've never been before and also in Houston and Miami, this is gonna be a blast, for sure. Plus, I will be joined by my mates from Box and the Twins. I can't think of a better way to do it. And of course I will be back, the USA are so big, there's still plenty of cities left to play in!
There has been so much excited buzz about you reforming Minuit Machine with Amandine Stioui for an upcoming LP on Synth Religion and tour. What inspired you two to come together again?
H: After the split up, we didn't really talk for a while. A few months ago, Amandine sent me this message "Do you know a band that is looking for a singer?", after thinking about it during two minutes, I answered "me". Because it was already in my mind for a while! I always thought it was a waste and it could have been different. The day after, we saw each other, we talked about it and we were exactly on the same page! Everything felt and still feels so right. I am extremely happy to make music with her again and we are so looking forward to sharing the new songs with you all!
Are you planning to surprise us with any more great news this year?
H: I hope so! I love great news too haha
We look forward to it! Thanks again, Hélène!
And if you’re in Florida, you can catch Hante. & Box and the Twins performing live at Las Rosas Miami on May 5th. RSVP to the event here!
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