Girls Under Glass

Interview by Philippe Desjardins

We are in 2001, and it has been 13 years since your first release. How do you feel about GUG's evolution, in terms of personal and professional accomplishment?

We have come full circle in our sound now going back now to the the old school darkwave that we know best. We continue to evolve as a band both personally as well as musicians. Everyone is satisfied with the accomplishments with the band however more critical and fan support would be appreicated after all we have done in 13 years.

What do you think about the evolution of your fan base? Do you feel that they have been faithful to you (since you have such a musical diversity)?

The fans we have made over the years have been loyal to our sound. Regardless of style of genre we have created a Girls Under Glass signature sound that most people are familar with. We are always exploring our limits both emotionally as well as musicians so that we can grow as people.

Volker, could you tell me about Calling Dead Red Roses, in a fan point of view? And to Hauke, could you give an overview of what CDRR was about? How did it begin, and how GUG was born from it?

These both started in the early days of our evolution when we were both learning and exploring before GUG. They were more in the traditional gothic style that most Sisters style bands still work in these days. When we came together as GUG that is when we truly became a unique whole band.

At the beginning of the darkwave/gothic movement, I believe you had to work harder because of the lack of technology. Could you give me your opinion about this (compared to today's technology)?

I think the amount of work is about the same. Axel is a technology expert in creating midi equipment which he even made for Die Krupps. There are time saving but to get certain quality and types of sounds we need to work with analog devices as well.

At your debuts, you were already blending darkwave/gothic elements with electronic elements. Wasn't that unusual at that time? You must have been the first band to do it. Weren't you?

Actually we were one of the pioneers in the genre back in the 80's. However others like The Fair Sex were experimenting in the same regions. It was not a typical for those days but we were on the frontier of a new sound.

Thomas Lücke was the singer on Humus and Flowers. How was it to work with him and how did it change your band's dynamic when Volker replaced him?

Thomas had a different direction for the band that would have kept us in only the limited gothic world. With Volker taking over the helm we were able to evolve into other genres of music, (industrial,metal etc...). We have developed more with Volker because his vocals are so unique that he gave us a signature sound unlike any other band out there.

Do you still see Thomas? If not, do you know what he has done since his departure?

We have been out of contact for some time

Axel, could you tell me a little about Cancer Barrack, and how you ended up in GUG's line up for the Flowers album?

It had more of an aggro sound and that is what I was able to bring to the GUG sound along with my invention of custom midi gear.

Since your debuts, you often have worked with guest musicians. When you made Firewalker, you didn't have the chance to work with any of them. Firewalker being the most different album, could you say that guest musicians have an important role in GUG's composition process?

Firewalker was our exploration into the aggro side of industrial when we thought we were at the end of the GUG career. We wanted a more caustic pissed off approach which is reflected in this record. I would not say Firewalker was a radical departure for us but more of a compliment of the sound we are capable of doing. People still know this as a GUG record just like when NIN made Broken after the first polished pop record. We write our own music outside of the cover versions and use guest musicians to impliment our compositions.

Also about Firewalker, it is known to be so aggressive. Do you think it could have been a way to release your anger, in order to take a pause, and think about what GUG was supposed to be about?

Yes as we already stated this record was written and arranged at a time when the band was considering quiting forever because of our anger and frustration of the scene and music industry.

Did this album make you realise things that helped you after to come up with Equilibrium?

Yes it was a very pissed off period in the chronology of the band. Equilibrum is more of our return to a melodic period when we are more satisfied with ourselves. We decided to return to our roots of darkwave after running through the diversity of sounds and experiences after all these years.

Since Equilibrium is a return to your roots, did you feel like you were back in the 80's again? Was it a way of revisiting your own career?

No there will never be an 80's period again. That indie phenomion was killed by grunge in the 90's. This is more a return to our station in life where we are more satisified by our surrounding these days. Our musical style is also based on our emotional state during the recording period. At the time of Equilibrium the band was in a more quite satified mood both personally and professionally.

Today, are you still standing for something in particular (beliefs, opinions) like you were in the 80's?

We still stand for the counterculture even though it is not as strong as it used to be back in the 80's

How do you feel about not being well known outside of Germany? Are you involved in the marketing of your albums (in a decisional point of view)? Or you completely leave it to the record labels?

Yes is is always a battle toiling as an indie artist regardless of country. We trust our label who has done a great job for us. If you just look at the amount of interviews they got us on our webpage alone you will see their support. We know the Label believes in the music which is the most important thing for us. The label lets us make the music we want and they handle all the rest.

Nightmares being your "second chance" on the American market, was it a solution to the problems encountered with Firewalker?

We don't consider Firewalker as our first U.S. release as Nuclear Blast did nothing for the record. Not one interview or review or even in the shops. Van Richter has pushed us as a priority to the U.S. market and they believe in artist development. So this is our first shot in the U.S. market to us. The problem the first time around was the label not the record as they only care about traditional metal bands which we are not.

Do you fear the American market (as anyone should be)?

No why should we fear the biggest capital market in the world?! Once you make it in the states you can write your own ticket. If anything there is more promotion and marketing opportunities there, except touring is difficult and expensive to do.

What kind of response did you get so far from the club DJs and the radio DJs with your album Equilibrium (in Germany)?

Again we did not have a good label partner there. However the new record "Frozen" is already getting a buzz and it won't even be released until August.

How is B.E.A.C.H.-Musikverlag and Aragon Records doing?

It is mostly an inactive venture right now

Do you know how Nightmares and Frozen are doing in North America (Van Richter must have done a great job so far)?

We have gotten great responses on the Nightmares record and Frozen as mentioned will be released in August. We expect great things as it is going through Ryko/WEA distribution in the States. Van Richter has done a great job in working Nightmares with its marketing and promotions efforts. Frozen hopefully will be the breakout record for us! It has the famous Madonna song, Das Ich remix and a duet with Peter of Wolfsheim.

Thanks to Van Richter, you have three releases available here (including Firewalker from Nuclear Blast). Will Equilibrium be licensed soon?

Van Richter has the rights to put out Equilibrium and will be doing so next year (2002) along with a possible bonus cd to come with it. Again check out our webpage at for weekly updates and developments on the band.

Since you are all very open minded, can we expect GUG to take another direction for its next album?

We will have to wait and see as well as the disposition of the band at that time. Stay tuned to our website for details!