Music interview: Hands Off Gretel

Hands Off Gretel. Picture: Neil Chapman
Hands Off Gretel. Picture: Neil Chapman
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The 360 Club in Leeds has a great reputation for showcasing up and coming bands around Yorkshire and have started working with Alan Raw of BBC Introducing. This week sees the latest of their hand-picked line-ups with Hands Off Gretel returning after their debut at the Lending Room last year.

We caught up with Lauren Tate, Sean Bon, Sam Hobbins and new member Becky Baldwin for a chat.

There appear to be more of you than last time you played Leeds? Have you given up playing bass, Lauren?

Haha yes! Well I’m always up for the challenge. I learnt all the bass lines in about a week when our bass player left unexpectedly, as we had gigs booked and the show had to go on! Luckily I had a bass guitar already, which I use when I’m writing and I played it all day every day until I had the songs down. I’d never choose to play bass though, it’s so hard to keep the groove and sing. I felt so restricted when trying to fly around stage and perform. Thankfully, Becky saved me.

We loved ‘Burn The Beauty Queen’, but it’s been a little quiet since. Can we expect to be hearing new Hands Off Gretel tracks soon?

Yes! We went away to record lots of new songs earlier this year at the legendary Monnow Valley studio in Wales. It was such an amazing experience and we had worked hard over the last couple of years to get to the point we could fund this ourself. We’d learnt a lot about who we wanted to be from touring; we found we needed more of one thing and less of another. We are going to be recording our new music video this month for our first release in August and I am so excited to unleash our new songs.

I think people will be pleasantly surprised with what we’ve come up with in the new material.

Lauren Tate

What can we expect from the new material?

I’ve worked so much harder this time round with my songwriting, I guess I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the past year. Some of the songs are reflective of my younger years, I have lyrics in there about feeling outcasted, about school and I think overall the album is a lot more emotive with a sweet side of HOG that we’d lacked in the first album. I’ve also really pushed myself vocally. There is real dynamic in the styles of songs, I think people will be pleasantly surprised with what we’ve come up with in the new material. 

When will we be hearing it?

We are heading to Metropolis studios next week to get the tracks mastered with John Davis, which is pretty exciting as he has worked with some major artists!  We have a new single and video coming out in August, with a number of single releases and videos planned through to the end of the year. We want to give these songs the opportunity to shine, before we release an album, which will probably be early next year. 

You have built up a dedicated live following on your travels?  When can we see you playing live again?  

We really have, the fans have been fabulous! Here are our next upcoming Yorkshire dates:

July 13 – #360RAW – With BBC Introducing, Lending Room, Leeds

July 14 – Beanfest 4.30pm main stage, Rotherham

July 22 – Tramlines Festival @ Crystal Bar, Sheffield 

You can catch our full UK tour and European dates on our website www.handsoffgretel.co.uk