Benni Hemm Hemm

Apollo-Garage, 2009

There are a lot of convenient locations where we are used to meet bands for setting up a video session – concert venues, hotels… It’s just a further step in recording a band’s tour life when filming Benni Hemm Hemm on the way from the hotel to their van before heading on to the radio station. Touring is a mix of marking time and constantly being on the move. The parking house represents both worlds. In this artless setting the band that is originally from Reykjavík and now starting of a (half-)Scottish version from Edinburgh (Benni and Eiríkur still speaking their mother tongue in the video) sparks a musical charm bomb in all its simplicity. “Whaling in the North Atlantic” – sung by the name-giving songwriter Benedikt H. Hermannsson – does not contain more lyrics than those already said by the title. Yet the electrifying composition of this song (named after a book published by University of Iceland Press on the subject of commercial whaling) with the repetitive, onomatopoeic lyrics immediately fills out the whole arch of concrete with a great portion of atmosphere. For “Avían Í Afganistan” performed on the terrace the guys pulls out their tough-looking sunglasses while Emily on double bass stays squinting in the June sun. What a warm, bright sound!

Michael Luger
Sound Recording
Matthias Leihs
Post production
Michael Luger


«Reinlichkeit, Ruhe, Ordnung» («neatness, quietness, orderliness ») are traditional values of good old Vienna. This maxim can be found on long standing Apollo Garage – a parking house with adherent apartments to rent. Its old-established owner has spent more than his worklife here. In his childhood years he has experienced the Second World War in and around this grey building complex. Some scattered bullet holes and little destructions caused by tanks that had squeezed through the small streets remind watchful eyes of the street combats at the end of the war. Apollo Garage was used as a temporary military hospital for the Russian Army back then. Mr. Weber, the owner of the parking house and a good storyteller, knows his neighbourhood well and likes to keep the memory of the war and post-war time alive. Even if you are not German-speaking and thus can not listen to his stories, you can still profit from this centrally located parking lot or the low priced, roomy apartments on top: to be found in Apollogasse 11-13 in Vienna’s 7th district, Neubau.