Girls Under Glass

Interview with Volker by Anthony Flores

As a genre, and state of being; in what way is "Goth" reflected in your life and music? Would you say it lends itself, to a particular temperament; and emotional predisposition?

As a genre and as a state of being I can tell you no one of us have anything to do with "Goth". I also would not define our music as goth-music. We are very much influenced by the some wave bands of the 80's and try to combine this with our own idea of melancholic & atmospheric music. It's no political understanding of something we only try to transport feelings and emotions with our music. Of course humans and experiences change, thats why mainly all our records sound different. We are not always melancholic, we can be sometimes even depressive, but also aggressive. So there is no certain scene we want to see represented by us. GUG is GUG. Thats all.

Between the '80's and this moment, is a lot of experience. How do you feel about "Goth's" prospects for the next millennium? How has it failed, and how is it succeeding?

Because I am not part of the goth-scene and I am even not interested in I am definitely the wrong man to ask about the goth's prospect for the next millenium. I don't have a fu.... clue. I am interested in development and progress and not in transporting a certain idea of goth-live-style from the 80's. There are not many goth bands I like, especially not the americans bands like Christian Death, Mephisto Waltz. In the middle of the 80's I was into that kind of sound. But I was always much more interested in electronic music, such as Gary Numan, Depeche Mode, Ulravox, Visage etc. So I never felt as a part of the gothic-scene although we had many fans from that scene.

To quote Alphaville, are you "Big In Japan"? If not, why not? What do you think of your chances, for cracking that market?

I don't know any band like GUG that is big in japan. Even Sisters of Mercy planned to go there a couple of weeks ago and now it is cancelled because there is not enough interest.I would like to play in Japan. So I would in Brasil, USA, Africa or anywhere else in the world, or do you think that Japan is any special (?). The european music that is interested for Japan is definitely not the kind of music I am interested in (mainstream rock and euro-pop and boy-oir girlie-groups. Thank you.... it's not us!

With the US release of "Nightmares," what kind of reception are you anticipating?

I don't expect anything. We will see what happens. We trust and believe that Van Richter is doing a good job on us and next year we see where we stand. When I know where we are I will expectations for next steps we could do, but in the moment we are at the very beginning. The experience shows that americans are NOT waiting for German bands. Apart from Rammstein or KMFDM there are no other German bands with a comparible sound that are successful in any case, so why should we be?

Would you say club DJ's, wield more power than the radio DJ, in influencing the listening habits of the more independent listener? Do you think their active participation, could really push "Nightmares" on to more than modest success?

Good question! I don't know how the american market works. In Germany you can't break a act through club-support, you need the radio. In america you have big advantage of having lots of college-radios that CAN play alternative music. In Germany there is no real radio-scene for our kind of music so here the clubs and DJ's are very important. But it's not enough to make a band successful. It depends on so many different things like "image", "presence", that is not transported by radio or club but more by TV and print-media. So any media-presence is important.
For the amrican market I have no idea how it works. I can imagine because of the size of the states it must cost a fortune to promote a band in all american states and cities. I would be very lucky if you could answer the question yourself and tell me whats going on in the states. How should I know?

What do you think the chances would be, for touring as the opening band, for one of these resurrected '80's bands; we see taking to the road again? Any interest, in such a proposal?

Yeah, defintely. There is nothing wrong with bands that reunify themselves. I loved the Bauhaus-show, I am still a big Numan fan, I heard that The Cult are playing in the States again, and that's also great. There are much more elder bands that just can't stop doing the same shit again and again although they should better stop. I definitely would love to support one of my early heroes.

In the Goth-Industrial-Techno arena, what largely unknown bands have caught your ear, and for what reasons?

I like Madonna, Massive Attack, Julee Cruise, Type O Negative, ParadiseLost, The Tea Party, Gary Numan, Placebo, Manic Street Preachers, Filter and NIN and some others. No-one of them is unknown. To be honest, for years I couldn't see any new interesting German band because there are no good new bands. Thats why the most succesful German bands are the old ones like Pitchfork, Wolfsheim, Deine Lakaien, Das Ich. All of these bands stand for a certain , special and unique sound. My view is that it's not really worth to watch out for great new bands. If they are great you will get to know them. But I must also say that my private taste of music became more commercial in the last years. There was a time when I was especially watching for new , unknown stuff and I became to know stuff like Godflesh, Slab!, Kode IV, Digital Ocean, Single Gun Theory, Schnitt 8 and many more acts that are practically unknown in Germany. I like all of them but since years it's not worth watching out for these kinds of new acts. Mostly I am just dispappointed.

We know Van Richter chose the title and song list for "Nightmares." But, had it been your choice, what title and songs would you have chosen, and why?

We trust Van Richter to do the the right thing for USA, because he lives there and not we. We have released 10 records with 100 songs altogether. They are all good and they could all be on a best of compilation or at least on a compilation that explains the idea of the band.

What would you say, is your favorite G.U.G. album to date, and for what reason? If you were to do a cover album, what songs would you want to cover? Give at least six examples...

We WILL do a cover album, allthough we did many coverversions allready. But it's always good fun giving this songs a GUG stamp and see what they sound like. We just did "Frozen" of Madonna, a brilliant version that will hopefully be released by Van Richter end of this year or beginning of next year. We would cover Wall Of Voodoo "Mexican radio", Garbage "Happy When It Rains", Sparks "Never Turn Your Back On Mothers Earth", Tuxedomoon "Creature Of The Night", Black Sabbath, Neil Young "The Needle & The Damage Done", Bauhaus, T-Rex "20th Century Boy" , maybe David Bowie and some other stuff. Why? Why not?

Tell us, if you can, about any ideas you might have for an album of new material...

We just released a new album in Germany "Equilibrium" that hopefully comes out in USA via Van Richter in the next year. Our plan is not to play too much live because we are tired of playing live. We will concentrate on acouple of festivals (Zillo was a big success, we have 2 more festivals this autumn). The other plan is to get a good maxi-single together. We are convinced that our "Frozen" version could become a big or small success, so we are waiting for some remixes to arrive in Hamburg. With this remixes we will have a maxi together with new stuff, remixes and this brilliant cover version. This single will be released in the States first before we get it out in Germany. Thats all the plans we have in the moment, apart from doing another album in the next year.