Hands Off Gretel – Interview

Rifffest is coming up in Leeds this weekend, and to celebrate we decided to interview every single band on the bill. Last, but by no means least, it was time to chat to Hands Off Gretel. We can’t wait to see how the day turns out!

By Jane Howkins

How was your 2018? Any particular highlights you can tell us about?

Yeah it was wicked! We recorded our new album, I Want the World, which will be out this year on 29 March and we released two singles with music videos at the end of the year (Kiss Me Girl and S.A.S.S). I must say feels so good to have our new music out; we can slowly start creeping it into our live shows now and the fans are loving it!

Is there anything in particular that you’re looking forward to in the coming year, either in your private life or as a musician?

Our new album that we’ve self-released will be coming out and we are so excited for it. It’s a huge achievement for us as an independent band as we’ve launched the album with Pledge Music, raising money through pre-orders and exclusive merchandise to fund our own professional release without a label, hitting our 100% mark in just under 24 hours! We are going to be touring and bringing out lots of new content, it’s all very exciting! We’re like little kids again.

You’re playing at Rifffest soon; are you excited for that?

Oh man, so excited! We freaking love Brooders and were so happy to be able to be part of this event. The line-up is amazing! I found Faux Pas late last year and fell in love with them; in the way that I was so drawn to Brooders I see that exciting buzz in Faux Pas, and in False Advertising too. We are so excited to have them, along with Brooders, supporting us at our album launch on the 29 March at the Old School House in Barnsley. It’s gonna be an amazing night!

How will Rifffest be different to a normal show, and what can people expect from one of your shows in general? Were you already friends with or fans of the other bands on the line-up?

I’m yet to meet the bands I didn’t mention above and I can’t wait for it, listening online to their music it’s gonna be one hell of a night! I can definitely see a theme in the night with the line-up; everyone’s bloody nuts, it’s great. From us you can expect a bit of chaos with a bit of noisy pop in there, flailing braids and dreads, fuzzy grunge riffs and raspy screams.

Do you have any other tour dates coming up, or any other festival shows? And which are your favourite festivals to go to, either as punters or as performers?

Yeah, we have our album launch shows:

Thu 28 March – London Album Launch @ Nambucca
Fri 29 March – Home Town Album Launch – Old School House Venue, Barnsley

Then we are off on tour in April on our first This Feeling tour, after they included us on their Big in 2019 Vinyl Pressing:

Sat 6 April – Brighton – Hope & Ruin
Sat 20 April – Sheffield – Café Totem
Fri 26 April – Glasgow – Broadcast

We will also be playing:

Camden Rocks Festival – 2 June
Amplified Festival – 21 July
Rebellion Festival – Aug

And do you have any singles planned for release in 2019? If so, what can you tell us about them?

We have a new single coming out on the 25 January called I Want the World, which is the title track off the album. Imagine Veruca Salt fronting a band from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, haha! It’s a bratty-thrashy, high energy song with lots of attitude; we can’t wait to play the track live at Rifffest!

What sort of things influence you most as musicians; and which bands and artists have you been listening to recently that you can recommend our readers to check out?

We are all big fans of Slaves right now; their music is punk as hell yet at the same time commercial enough for radio airplay. We love what they’re doing, same with Idles, there’s a real demand for punk rock aggressive guitar music right now and we couldn’t be happier.

What is the writing and recording process like for you? How do you start out on a track? And how have things changed in this regard since you started out?

I record my own demos at home so by the time we head into the studio most of the pre-production is done. I start out the demos with a guitar track then I work vocal melodies, I love it nice and simple, it’s easier then when building melodies around the vocal track. We don’t really write and jam as a band, I structure the song and give the band the demo, we then send files back and forth and rehearse the shit out of the song until it shapes up enough to head into the studio. I always love it when ideas are fresh and we are all kind of unsure of what the song can be. It’s then easier in the studio to be spontaneous and go with the flow, making changes and adding crazy stuff relating back to the demo to make sure you haven’t lost the essence of what excited you when you wrote song.

Any last words for your fans?

Yes! If, like me, you are sick of hearing ‘music was better back in the good old days’ then come on and lets actually change that. I believe independent music has huge potential if enough people get behind it. So, to those that support unsigned artists and the underground scene, the ones that are keeping live music alive and buying merchandise to help us musicians make more music and create, to those coming to all our shows before we make it to the stadiums, we thank you so, so much as you are the future of independent music. And don’t forget to grab tickets for Rifffest, you’ll regret it if not because it’s going to be a BANGER!

You can support our album self-release campaign and pre-order our new album here: www.pledgemusic.com/projects/handsoffgretel