By DJ Monk
It has to be admitted, we are huge – no, make that HUGE – fans of Hands Off Gretel here at ÜRHQ. So, when we heard they were dropping a new single, complete with an accompanying visual treatment, then it was virtually a no brainer that it was going straight to the top of our list of contenders for our latest ‘Video Of The Week’. And, to be honest, in terms of pure, in your face straight ahead r’n’f’n’r, they led the field by a country mile.
‘I Want The World’ – and, as far as we’re concerned at least, they can fuckin’ have it, ‘cos it’s lying at their feet – is the title track from their forthcoming new album, which is due for release via their own Puke Pop label on 29 March:
“‘I Want The World’ is a song about how I’ve always felt since I was young,” explains Hands Off Gretel’s hugely charismatic and independent founder and frontwoman, and self-confessed misfit, Lauren Tate.
“It’s me pouting like a child and saying ‘no! I want more than what this world is going to give me.’ I channel Veruca Salt from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory when I sing it. I am being obstreperous and impossible like a child, kicking and screaming until I get what I want.”
“It feels like I wrote this album six years ago in a school toilet whilst skipping class and hiding from the world,” continues Lauren. “The way I felt so ostracized and alone, like I didn’t fit in anywhere. It became my mission to sing for the outcasts, the weird kids, the ones that feel mis-represented in society and left behind like I do. I made it my obligation at 15 to make as much noise as possible as a young woman, to challenge everything.”
“‘I Want The World’ is about how I’ve felt since I was a little girl,” she adds. “I’ve always felt shushed and muted. Everyone’s always told me to stop showing off or stop being unrealistic and so I’m constantly thinking of ways to give everyone who doubted I could do this or ridiculed me the middle finger. The album is about feeling rejected and acting out, wanting acceptance from a society you don’t even want to be part of. I’m channeling my childhood throughout it all, always being alone and fighting my own battles. The only track that doesn’t fit this theme is ‘Kiss Me Girl’: that’s just my lesbian anthem because I felt the world lacked them and I wanted to piss off homophobes.”
Fiercely independent, Hands Off Gretel produce and control every aspect of their sound and image. Their loyal and passionate international fan base has grown organically from years of work, interacting daily with fans on social media, creating artwork, videos and merchandise, building not just a band, but a brand with a very clear identity. .
“With the new album, we wanted to incorporate more of a pop production to our sound, capturing the wildness and brashness of the fuzz guitars and heavy drums mixed with a flirtatious pop fruitiness,” describes Lauren. “The songs have a pop arrangement at the core. I worked hard at crafting catchy melodies and layering my harmonies throughout the whole album, all the while keeping the grit and angst people love in our live shows. It was the most natural progression for us being able to express ourselves in different ways without losing what we have at our core.”
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