“I was born romantic and I can’t help it with sad, melancholic songs. That’s my shit.” explains Giulia Fontana alias HÅN, a 22-year-old synth-pop artist hailing from a small town near Lake Garda in Northern Italy, who enchants us with her latest release. The sound of It´s better when I sleep soothes and feels like taking a deep breath in our restless times.
Tell us about your latest release “It´s better when I sleep. I absolutely love the track! It evokes a lot of emotions. ” What was the inspiration for the song; what is it about?
Sleeping is a weird thing if you think about it. Every living creature does it, and it is as if everyone stopped existing for a while. But it’s necessary, can you imagine living without ever stopping? It’s better when I sleep is about escaping and hiding in an intimate imaginary place, closing your eyes and saying “well, it is better here for now”.
Your new EP will be released this fall. Where and how did this album emerge?
I’m still perfecting it, but mostly it was created in my bedroom and then recorded in Milan. I produced all with my guitarist Michele because it’s important to have a connection when you create music. If it’s not there, probably the track won’t sound honest. I tend to write everything on my own cause I’m the worst type of perfectionist, but then he helps me with the production and lots of amazing ideas come out.
Most personal track or favourite on the album and why?
I was born romantic and I can’t help it with sad, melancholic songs. That’s my shit. There’s a track I wrote about a person’s duality. Cheerful with strangers, but in reality full of thoughts and worries. The track seems upbeat because of the kick drum while the voice is vocoder-processed and nostalgic.
“It’s better when I sleep is about escaping and hiding in an intimate imaginary place, closing your eyes and saying “well, it is better here for now.”
How did you get into making music?
Even though my parents don’t really play any instrument, I’ve been surrounded by music from a young age. My dad is an audiophile obsessed with classical and opera music, my mom made me listen to Enya when I was a baby. We have a big room full of vinyl. I really can’t tell when it started, but it certainly grew into a “dream job” as I started going to concerts on my own and saw how intense live music is. I just wanted to be part of it.
The origin and meaning of your artist name HÅN…
I love Nordic environments and how they reflect the vibe of my music. E
thereal, icy, and bold, but also nostalgic in some way. HÅN sounds like a person name even if it literally means “joke” in Swedish.
You are from a small town near Lake Garda in Northern Italy. How has growing up there shaped you?
Italy has my heart, but it’s not the best place if you want to pursue an artistic career. People tend to see music and art in general as a hobby, and that’s because of our culture which I would define as traditionalist. Things are slowly changing. I grew up with some preconceptions I have now destroyed by building my own values.
Have you ever thought about releasing a song in Italian instead of English?
I started writing some tracks in Italian that I’m keeping for myself at the moment. People say I’m like a whole different person. Words flow in a different way.
What music do you listen to yourself?
Lots of women lately. The Japanese House, Aurora, Rosalìa… Lorde is my all-time favorite. They inspire me so much. I love The 1975 and Superorganism. I’ve recently seen Twenty One Pilots live and I fell in love with their boldness.
“My biggest life dream has always been being able to live from what I love to do and being 100% proud of it. Not easy at all, but I’m working towards it.”
What´s the best thing about being young in our times?
Definitely the connection to the world, the power to witness what happens in any existing place. Things change so fast and we are like play-dough.
And the most difficult thing?
Being overwhelmed and disoriented by it.
Your biggest life dream?
As trivial as it sounds, it has always been being able to live from what I love to do and being 100% proud of it. Not easy at all, but I’m working towards it.
image credit Chiara Zanotti