Girls Under Glass

Chain D.L.K.: Please introduce a great band such as Girls Under Glass to our readers. Tell us about your history, about your present and about the future...

G.U.G.: Buena sera. Girls Under Glass founded beginning of 1986 and was the follow up of the former band Calling Dead Red Roses, a super slow-goth-band (like a half-speed-version of the early Sisters Of Mercy). That was my absolutely favorite band at that time. Hauke, Tom and I founded Girls Under Glass and created a more open-minded style of electro, wave and gothic music comparing to Calling Dead Red Roses. There were hardly any other german bands doing that kind of music theses days.
After Tom left the band 1989 I took the singers-part and the following album "Positive" was produced by Cassandra Complex-Mastermind Rodney Orpheus. Again this record ment a development of music, sound and style. We became even more electro-influenced and the guitars went a bit more rock-influenced while the early stuff is 100% wave-guitars. Guitar-wise I was totally influnced by acts like Dance Society and Play Dead. GUG became bigger and bigger in germany and parrallel the whole goth-scene became much better organised because of magazines like New Life and Zillo that were founded. Our aim always was never to do the same record twice and always being open minded for actual and new music styles so that's why all GUG records sound abit different. This is not the easy way to keep fans, but on the other hand our own creativity and musical demand was more important than sales or money.
So after the last very heavy-electro record "Firewalker", we can accept but don't see it as one of our strongest records these days. So our newest record "Equlibrium" that will come out in US hopefully next year is the first and only record that goes back to our very roots.

Chain D.L.K.: Almost twenty years on the scene: take a look back and tell us which is the report.

G.U.G.: oh? 20 years? Do you think we are grandfathers of Goth or what? Man... we are going on for 13 years now, thats long enough!!! But okay, as I mentioned before in the beginning there was not a real organised scene. There were only a very couple of bands that were quite influencal, such as GUG, Invincible Spirits, Pink Turns Blue, Deine Lakaien and The Fair Sex. A couple of years later Love Like Blood and Das Ich were entering the scene. The VERY BIG difference at those early years was that all bands were standing for a certain & special sound. Just look whats hip in Germany 10 years later. It's still the same bands. Pitchfork, Lakaien, Wolfsheim, Das Ich are still the leading german bands. That shows you that the electronical evolution and the circumstance that these days it's much easier to write songs and do records doesn't mean that the music gets better or there are lots of new interesting bands. So in a way there is the situation of interruption and not evolution. I hope this answers your question a bit and gives you my idea about the scene and what happened in the last 10 years.

Chain D.L.K.: Girls Under Glass have been an important influence for many other bands in the underground scene. Who did influence Girls Under Glass and how would you describe your musical genre today?

G.U.G.: I promise you: There is really no band that ever influenced us in a big way. All three of us are totally different humans with different interests of music that it is heavy enough to get those ideas together. And with totally different I don't mean, one likes the Sisters, the other one Frontline Assembly and the third one Christian Death. All three of us live on complete different planets. When I would mention a band I want a song to sound like, you can be sure that Axel and Hauke never heard of it. So talking about influences is just a waste of time. We get together and create this very unique sounding stuff that is wave-influenced but very electronic, that is very melancholic but melodic and sometimes also very aggressive. You can get through all german papers writing about GUG in the last 10 years and you will never find a direct comparism like GUG sounds like this or that. That is very cool for us. We only make sure to show what influenced us when we started GUG by choosing mainly acts from the 70's and 80's to cover them (like Simple Minds, Gary Numan, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd). That is our way to show how our heroes do sound in the more modern GUG-context. Thats much more interesting, I think.

Chain D.L.K.: Signing for Van Richter you approached the american recordings market. How do you feel and what are your main goals?

G.U.G.: It's so hard to say. We don't have real goal. Of course we would like to sell billions of records (wherever) but we would never adapt our style to anything just for the reason of making money out of it. So for the listeners and fans it always means: Take it or leave it, love it or hate it. We don't care. We are the band, we do our music and we don't do it for money-reasons! Of course being built up in the states by Van Richter is our first aim and step and we trust Van Richter to do a good job on us.

Chain D.L.K.: Tell us about your new album "Nightmares" and about the differences running between it and the previous ones.

G.U.G.: The difference is just that it is a compilation, containing songs of all our records apart from the last 2 ones. It's not a real best of, but a documentation about what GUG is about and how different we sound and how we developed our music.

Chain D.L.K.: Is it true that the album will be licensed in Europe through Hall Of Sermon?

G.U.G.: That was never the discussion. It's the other way round. Hall Of Sermon is the record company we did the newest record with. I doubt that HOS is interested in "Nightmares" in the moment because they are working parrallel on the "Equilibrium" album while Van Richter builds us up with the "Nightmares" in the moment.

Chain D.L.K.: You've released lots of albums by now. Is there a particular path connecting all of them?

G.U.G.: No, not all. In 13 years many things happen, we growed up and think about other things. Nowadays I can laugh about some of my earlier lyrics, because I can see that they were a bit naive but on the other you can't expect somebody of twenty-something to give you ideas how to change the world. Generally you can say that when I write lyrics about "ANYTHING" I take a sceptical and critical point of view and try to show 2 sides of a story. That also belongs to themes like Love or Passion, Desire etc.

Chain D.L.K.: Tell us about your previous band, Calling Dead Red Roses: why and how did they split up to from the Girls Under Glass?

G.U.G.: CDRR was Tom, Hauke and Thorsten. Thorsten for some reasons did not wanted to go on, so he left the band. Tom took the singers part, I joint the band, because Tom and Hauke new that I was a big fan of CDRR , so I became the guitar player and we looked for a new name to show that we did not want to start were CDRR ended up. We wanted to create something new. Therefore a couple of songs on the Humus LP/CD were originally CDRR songs.

Chain D.L.K.: Where does the name come from?

G.U.G.: It's just a good sounding name that doesn't give you a straight impression of what kind of music is behind it.

Chain D.L.K.: Are the current band members still working with bands such as Cassandra Complex, Project Pitchfork and Love Like Blood? Are there any further interesting collaborations in your future plans?

G.U.G.: I just finished a new Cassandra Complex record with Rodney Orpheus, Axel is technical live-supervisor of Project Pitchfork but we don't have anything to do with LLB apart from the fact that we are friends. Maybe you meant Trauma? That is our dark- electronic- project with the same lineup as GUG.

Chain D.L.K.: In the past you have released a live album too. Was this an important step in your career and how important is the approach to the stage in your opinion?

G.U.G.: We played more than 300 shows in the last 13 years. Nowadays we are not very keen in playing live allthough I think we are a brilliant live-band. Studio work is much more creative and satisfying. The live-album was a present to our fans but it was something special because we rent a studio invited 15 people to see this studio-show exclusively and recorded the gig with professional studio-equipment. So "Live At Soundgarden" is more a documentation of a special event and not a real live-recording. Usually we play in front of more than 15 people and there is much more energy on stage and in the audience, but we wanted to have perfect sounding record. So this was our consession to our fans.

Chain D.L.K.: You're from Germany: do think think that this is the right place for such a band?> Have you finally crossed the borders of your native country?

G.U.G.: Sorry, this is a stupid question. What's wrong of being a german band??? Music is universal and I personally don't give a shit were a band comes from as long they do a good job. So I absolutely have no clue what you try to imply with this question.

Chain D.L.K.: Are you concerned with the actual political situation in Germany and with the problems of neo-nazism and stuff like that?

G.U.G.: Yes, we are.

Chain D.L.K.: Are there some particular non-musical topics you are interested into? Do you blend this or other experiences in your music?

G.U.G.: I am very much interested in life, art, communication, parties, sex, films, work, challenges, experiences etc. Of course all of this is influencing me and influences my way of thinking and living. And my music is a mirror of that.

Chain D.L.K.: You're one of the bands who lately tried out the compromise between metal guitarsand industrial electronic dance music. Do think you think that's where the point stands? Is this the best direction to be followed?

G.U.G.: We were not lately trying to combine this. Listen to Positive or Darius (from 90 and 92) we worked with guitar samples from Megadeth and other acts and combined this with electronic music. We were very early. 1989 we collaborated with KMFDM, even years before they moved to USA and became famous. Between writing songs for Firewalker and releasing the stuff we needed 1 1/2 years for several reasons. Unfortunately during that period Rammstein became super-big in Germany and started a big wave of bands who tried being successful with the same combination of metal guitars and electronic. So "Firewalker" came out parrallel with the big Rammstein success. We don't have anything to do with that. We were not jumping on a train. We were allready on it! But as I mentioned before, music wise it's not our best record, so we decided to go back to our very roots instead of creating something new again.

Chain D.L.K.: You've worked with different labels during the past years, including Van Richter in US and Primary Recording Company in UK: which have been your best experiences with record companies?

G.U.G.: There are always good and bad experiences with record companies. It's not worth talking about it because we are talking about "doing music" and not about "music-business"! For us it was only always important to work with people who love and understand our music and let us do what we wanted to do. This experience we made with all of our labels. We never had the situation of being cheaten financially by any of our labels. We always had very fair and friendly label-partners. So our positive experiences definitely predominate.

Chain D.L.K.: What's your opinion about the current situation in the musical industry?

G.U.G.: It's a thrilling situation. Iam curious about the internet evolution and how the music industry will be able to stop MP3-piratery. Iam curious how it will be possible in the future to place music on a (what?) market plus musicians get paid for something they created. We are not even in the year of the millenium, we are also in the year of a big change of evering that belongs to marketing and selling music. To be honest: Iam very lucky these days that Iam not relying on my income as a musician. It's a very tricky and dangerous situation. On the other hand it will be so much easier in the future to get in contact with new musical-stuff.

Chain D.L.K.: Are you happy with the life of your band? What are you aiming to?

G.U.G.: Yeah, I am proud of what we did the last 13 years. I still think that we are a good band with a good creative output and good records. Yeah, we are happy! Again: We have no aims. When we feel it's the right time to stop this, we will stop it. When we feel the power to do another record, we just do it.