I first listened to their music, once their single My size was out, and I totally felt in love with the singer and this weird sound they’ve got.I love the energy in their music, and the really good voice of Lauren, the singer.The video ckio was tremendously awesome, and Lauren became pretty overnight one of my role models. So I send them an interview proposal without thinking one second they would accept but they finally had,so I’m VERY proud to introduce you Hand Off Gretel, one of my favorite bands
When did you begin your band ?
I decided to start the band in October 2014 after feeling musically frustrated and un-inspired. I wanted to change things up and play a whole new style of music different from my solo stuff, which I found boring and too much on the safe side at the time. I wanted to crank up the volume and scream a little like I did when nobody was listening, I leaped into the direction I’d always wanted to be in and that was so scary. I thought people wouldn’t like it! I launched the band in February 2015 and I was SO NERVOUS I almost changed my mind.
How would you describe the type of music you make ?
It’s aggressive yet cute, a little like a little girl with an teddy bear under one arm an axe under another. It’s playful and energetic (especially the new songs) and I guess it’s just totally bipolar. The songs are all my secrets, songs like ‘Eating Simon’ are filled with really perverted messed up lyrics and I feel empowered by that, I’m empowered by the fact I’m not afraid to sing about incest and sex and stuff whereas before I never had the guts in the fear of being judged. The music is daring I guess, it’s kinda weird and careless reminiscent of bands like HOLE and BABES IN TOYLAND, grunge bands from the 1990s.
How did you « choose » the members of the band ?
I’ve had different members come and go, I guess skill is one thing. You want your members to be good at the music and get the style but above that it’s important to be good friends. When you spend a load of time with people you know pretty soon if they’re the right people or not. I’m feeling much more confident with the band as of now after the line up change in December.
What is your musical journey ?
I played a lot of solo acoustic gigs with my guitarist, who is my guitarist still to this day. I was writing songs but they kinda sucked for a while until a few years later when I wrote my first solo EP ‘My Reflection’. I started a solo band after that but I honestly hated it. I didn’t enjoy the music style and found it impossible to try and control the band when I had no idea what I was doing. I felt out of control in that band as I didn’t know who I was. I then found who I was an started Hands Off Gretel, I used being a loner weirdo as my biggest advantage.
What are your inspirations ?
I’m inspired mostly by strong female women in music. My favourites being Courtney Love of Hole, Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill , Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls and Brody Dalle of The Distillers. I see them women and I just feel within myself that I can be strong too y’know. I feel powerful and there’s no better feeling than self-belief, especially when it’s so easy to doubt your own strength in this life.
What kind of messages do you try to convey through your music ?
Self confidence more than anything. I want girls to sing along to my songs and look in the mirror with a little cheap plastic party crown on their head. I want to put myself out there as real as I can. I want to be believable. I want to inspire people just like me who feel so lost in this world, feeling like they don’t fit in anywhere. I want them to embrace their oddities and feel empowered by my music to make their own art and express creatively.
What do you think about body modifications ? Do you have some?
When I was 15 I wanted lots of tattoos. I’d draw all over my arms at school and fantasise about being covered head to toe in them. I went off the idea of getting tattoos in the past year, I change my mind too much to ever choose something that will stay with me forever. I have my nose pierced, and I’ve had my ears stretched to 12mm for a few years which my mum hates haha!
Do you prefer to record music or to play it in gigs ?
I prefer to play gigs. I get really stressed when I record. Nobody dares talk to me while I’m in the vocal booth because I get so hard on myself. I get so frustrated when my voice doesn’t sound how I want it, everyone else will be telling me it’s awesome but I’ll be like “No No… you don’t get it shut up”.
What is your point of view about the rock scene of 2016 ?
Commercial rock right now it’s kinda boring to me. It’s bad for me to say that but it’s true, I guess the music I like just isn’t getting radio play right now. The most exciting current band I’ve seen has to be ‘Skating Polly’ they supported Babes In Toyland on their UK tour and I’m a no1 fan. They’re younger than me too!
Do you make a solo career in parallel of the band ?
I haven’t made any solo music for a while. Not until the album is out of the way I guess I just don’t have the time to do both. I do plan to release solo music though as well but I think I’ll take the DIY approach with that and record it all in my bedroom. I’m learning to drum so maybe someday I can record an album all by myself!
If you could work with any musicians on this planet, let’s say alive or dead who would it be? Why ?
I’d work with Kurt Cobain. When I say… work with him, I kind of mean ‘let him write me songs’. I would love for Kurt to write me a song, I’d use my lyrics but his melodies because he’s my favourite musician for vocal melodies and harmonies. Yeah, I’d definitely pick Kurt.
Do you wish to come to tour in France ?
I would love it! A friend of mine actually invited me over there and said it could be possible for me to tour. It’s something I’m totally going to do, I can’t wait to play outside of the UK for once.
As a female artist, what do you think should be the « role » of a female in this quite masculine industry ?
I think females in the male industry have to be really strong. People will want to mould you into a sellable sexy pop star and you’ve just got to stand your ground and say “HELL NO I’M MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE… I’M AN ARTIST”. You have to be respected as a female and not be controlled using your sexuality, you get naked on your own accord and you do what you want to do. If people respect you they will buy your records, you just have to believe in yourself that there’s a future in music without having to sell out and be controlled by the man.
What are your projects for this year ?( special concerts, tour,new record/songs,…)
Well we just finished recording our first ever album and I am so excited to launch it pretty soon. I’ve never felt so nervous and excited about something! It’s a lot heavier than our previously released stuff and I pushed my voice way harder than before. We will then be doing an album tour after the release.
Contact : www.facebook.com/handsoffgretel
All the photos I used for this article aren’t my property, they belong to Hands Off Gretel