"Feel the Pain You Know"

"Feel the Pain You Know" - An Interview with HOPE

The author

Ditte Engels Hermansen (*1992)
literature-teacher, born and raised in Copenhagen, currently living in Leipzig, single.

Interview 18. August 2019

I don’t know anything about music. Like literally nothing. Which is not really a great starting point for an interview with a band, that you just watched a concert with. SO, I have to change my strategy, I sit down on the grass and try to think about something music-related to ask them (but in the light section), try to relive the concert, remember some defining moments. But for me it is actually a part of the festival experience to listen to music in a prosecco-drunk/not-intellectual/tears-be-running way, and so be it, I’m gonna talk to Hope about the same thing, as they brought me: Feelings.

I therefore decide to tell them that their concert really meant something to me, and also to tell them why: The day before doing this interview, I got my heart broken, and the feely, kind of dark but still enlightened by (or sarcastic framed by) the name “Hope” was all, that I needed on a rainy stage tonight standing a field outside of Hannover. I sit down with half a beer, my Iphone as recorder and the front singer Christine Börsch-Supan plus her guitarist Phillip Staffa.

I’m setting the tone by saying: “There is a lot of darkness in your songs.”
Christine: „I think we need that all four of us. And that is the thing with the dark, heavy feelings – the music holds the space for them.“ 
Phillip: „This is what we bring the four of us, what we can offer. There is a lot of power, if people want to receive it.“
Christine continues: “And if people don’t want to be a part of it, then there will be no room for this music and therefore no room for these feelings.”

I can’t help myself for trying to get even more wisdom out the fascinating couple in front of me, so I ask them (a bit out of context, but then again not). I ask them, how to fix a broken heart.
Phillip laughs: “We are properly not the right one to ask, we were a couple for almost ten years”, but somehow Kristine still looks at me with an intense wonder. “But I just don’t try to get over something like that. I get right in there. Living it. Without drowning in it, but still… Feel the pain you know.“

But I keep insisting on this: It’s very hard to be unhappy on a festival without feeling, that you are doing “festival” wrong. Phillip: „No. For me it is working out just fine.“
Christine agrees with him: “I also think, that the most is accepted here. And sometimes it feels nice, that the wetter has such a big power. That you can lean on to that.“

I am very moved by Christine’s ability to stay in the unpleasant feelings. I find it so uncomfortable to say something dark without a follow-up joke, which leads me to my next question: „Are you sometimes afraid of being vibe-killer? Not to fit in to the whole festival lol-happiness?“
Christine: „Yes. Often. We need people to be on board, and sometimes they are just not.“
I understand what she means, how a festival crowd is somehow predictable, but then again not at all. It’s about melting into one big mass, but the moment you fall out of place, you couldn’t be more lonely rider. I ask the band, if they can follow my thought on a festival being such a trigger for loneliness.
“The is definitely the possible of being very anonymous within the mass. I fell way more free from restraints. How I dance, how I speak. Whom I speak to”, Christine says.
“But shouldn’t that make one less lonely?” I reply a little confused.
“It does for the moment. Both things are more present. It’s so easy to find people, and it’s easy to be alone again.” Philip looks at me very intensely: “Like the first time you experience Berlin on a Friday night. Everything is very sensory. Either you feel like you are gonna be alone forever or you find the most real community, you ever had.“

The interview was originally in German and was translated by the author.

Photo credit: Riccardo Bernardi