Girls In Hawaii

Urban-Loritz-Platz, 2008

In 2000 the band from Belgium formed around Lionel and Antoine who are both singer and songwriter of Girls in Hawaii. Lionel’s brother Brice joined on guitar, Antoine’s brother Denis on drums and with their friends Daniel as a bassist and Christophe playing the keyboard the formation was soon established and gained a solid reputation in their home country. We meet the six collegiate-looking Belgians in the early evening, march along Gürtel to Hauptbücherei – Lionel and Brice improvising on Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” – and ascend the 98 steps to its roof terrace for capturing the evenfall over the hustle and bustle in the streets. It is a very atmospheric and frail scenery which gently frames the soundscapes that Girls in Hawaii create. While the befalling night is announced by a light breeze Lionel raises his high voice to sing melancholic lyrics and Antoine enters with his haunting susurration. A goose-skin feeling that stays when the band starts picking chords for the nursery-rhyme-like “Couples On TV” sung by Daniel. What appears simple and harmonic as a background melody seems queasy when listening closely to the nightly storytelling. Although the kind Belgians declare cold weather, forests, guilt, ghosts, cats, the fog and especially landscapes as their inspirations, their sound is far from being declamatory: dreamily, not flowery, touching, yet not overemotional.

Michael Luger
Sound Recording
Matthias Leihs
Post production
Simon Brugner


In 1982 the square was named after Urban Loritz, a socially committed priest in the parish of Schottenfeld. Urban-Loritz-Platz comprises a small park and and a public transport junction surrounded by the heavily trafficked Gürtel street. It marks an intersection between the gentrified and collegiate 7th district on the one and a multicultural area on the other side of the Gürtel with around 70.000 people getting daily on and off trams and the underground U6 here. The square is canopied by a gently-curved canvas-resembling roof that opens up to the impressive Hauptbücherei, Vienna’s main public library with the city’s largest perron. The elongate building with terracotta walls was designed by architect Ernst Mayr and opened up in 2003 as an upvaluation of the Gürtel area. Above the listed underground route from famous Art Nouveau architect Otto Wagner and in between two busy streets the library stretches out like a ship with just small bull’s-eyes to its flanks, but a substantantial translucence and transparency inside. On 6000 square meters 240 000 books and 60 000 audiovisual media are accommodated. The well-attended Hauptbücherei with Café Canetti on its roof terrace offers new perspectives on the city. Standing out Urban-Loritz-Platz the library provides a panoramic view from its accessible top and contributes to a harmonisation of the inner and outer city.