Band Spotlight: Hands Off Gretel [2019]

It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Lauren Tate, the frontwoman for Hands Of Gretel, the riot grrl revivalists with a snotty attitude and pop hooks. In this new […]

It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Lauren Tate, the frontwoman for Hands Of Gretel, the riot grrl revivalists with a snotty attitude and pop hooks. In this new interview we talk new music, inspirations and more.

S] Hey guys, how have you been?

Oh we have been mega busy! We’ve been working hard promoting the album, getting lots of new music videos and releases lined up and rehearsing the new songs, playing the odd show here and there so we don’t forget how to hold our instruments haha! It’s been a wild few weeks, pretty damn exciting though knowing our new album is finally coming out!

S] How do you guys define success? 

Thats a difficult one and we probably all have a different definition. For me (Lauren) its about making a connection with people. A massive highlight for me is when I meet young girls just like me that come to the gigs waiting to talk to me to tell me what a difference the music has made to them, telling me how I’ve helped them deal with anger and alienation. It’s amazing, I always find it crazy to believe I could change a person’s life a little bit. Music was such an important part of my life when I was at school and having difficulties fitting in, it was my escape. I would put my earphones in and listen to women that spoke to me in a way nobody could and they would help me get through my day. For my music to be part of someones life in that way is the most rewarding thing I could ever ask for. 

S] How important has the visual element of the band become? 

I think it’s totally important. It builds a brand that people recognise and gives you a place to express yourself freely through art and fashion. When I write my music I visualise it too and I’m always clear on what I want to create. That aesthetic runs through our videos, our merchandise and everything we do. I do however feel the style comes after the music, there’s no point looking amazing but sounding shite haha! It’s a full package that I think everyone should consider when creating their brand.  

S] And how has your mission statement changed and developed? 

I’ve kind of gone full circle in a way. I’m being more honest and open in my songs now like I used to be when I was younger. I really want to connect with people and bring them up and be a positive role model. For the past few years I’ve been a bit self destructive and negative with my music with a more ‘you don’t know me’ attitude but now as I write more and understand myself I realise I want to empower others more than ever. I just want to be the voice of a generation of kids that feel ignored which is how I felt when I was about 13, I’ve gone back to my older self and remembered what i’ve always wanted. 

S] What advice and tips would you give to other emerging bands?

Work at being the very best version of your band that you can be. Don’t accept compromise. Everyone has to pull in the same direction with the same amount of passion and ambition or the splits begin to show. Don’t bring others down and become a negative person, it clouds your art and distracts you, ignore what everyone else is doing and don’t compare or become envious of other people’s success. Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to be bossy, especially as a woman. Speak your mind and be honest with yourself and the musicians around you. Be prepared to loose friends and fall out with yourself every once in a while in the process.

S] How does the new record challenge you in new ways as artists? 

I worked a lot harder on these songs than I did on any of my others. There’s more layers and harmonies and detailed little parts. I really learnt how to take charge during the recording process as listening the album coming together at first I wasn’t happy with the direction, it took a lot for me to come forward and help mix and produce the sound with the producer. There’s a lot more singing in this album too than the first one which challenged me and I loved it, songs like ‘It’s My Fault’ and ‘Freaks Like Us’ are almost ballad types, it was nice to hear my voice that way after years of screaming and wailing like a mad woman. 

S] Talk us through the inspiration behind two tracks, ‘Big Boy’ and ‘My Friend Said’? 

Well, all I can say is Big Boy is the funnest song I’ve ever written, it’s full of innuendos and sarcastic snarl. I wrote that song about toxic masculinity, it has two meanings depending on if you have a dirty mind or not. My Friend Said is quite a sad song for me, even though it’s filled with playful childlike ‘La La Las’, it’s quite a sarcastic fairytale version of a friendship turning sour and someone you love really hurting you. It’s about loneliness and fantasy, wanting to escape a dull world and live with your teddy bears like a child. 

Dom Smith

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