Girls Under Glass

by Daryl Litts

Give us a brief history of the band

GUG has been in the German electro/industrial scene since 1986!

What do you think has given the band it's staying power?

GUG was founded by ex-members of German cultband CALLING DEAD RED ROSES, Germany's darkest band in the beginning of the 80's. Musicalwise it was a mixture of german electronica ala Klaus Schulze and Gothic-style music a la Sisters Of Mercy. At least CDRR were compared with those two. This band split up and the two mainmebers Tom L|cke and Hauke Harms founded their new band together with CDRR fan Volker Zacharias. The aim was to go on with this style of music but combining this with some more modern and poppy influences. The change of the name was obviously very important because Girls Under Glass is just a good sounding name that does not give you a hint to the music behind, while CDRR was a very cliche- name.
So in the first years GUG was one of the first and only gothic bands. But right at that time we were allready totally different from any other gothic bands that existed in US or Britain, because we were using much more electronic and used sequencers instead of a bass guitar and drum computer instead of real drums. So in the end we started as and electro-band with dark wave and gothic influence, which was a very unique mixture at that time. Our audience and fans were 100% gothic at that time. So were we!
We loved stuff as Cindy Talk, Diamanda Galas, Chrome/Damon Edge, later we loved stuff like Executive Slacks, Big Black etc., Hardly any goth, eh??? We were musically very open minded and inspired by very different kinds of music. So after the first two records our singer Tom L|cke decided to leave the band because he wanted to do something very different and couldn't agree with the GUG sound anymore. So I, Volker, took the singer-part and together with Rodney Orpheus of THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX we did the first record in the new (and still existing line up with me singing and playing guitars, Axel Ermes playing bass and guitar and Hauke Harms doing the whole electronic stuff.) This record was called "Positive". It was our sign that we wanted to bring a bit more light into our music and that we changed and developed our style. With the following albums we became a bit more poppy and much more succesful in Germany, although many of the old fans couldn't agree with the change of our music anymore. We never thought about the sales or the fan reactions when we did a new record. We just did it and were very content with going our own way. It's a hard way when you want the BIG success, that's why we never had it and are still a insider-band (some call us german cultband). We don't care. We love experiments and we love developing styles and working with different influences. Thats why hardly any GUG record sounds like another.

Why did the band decide to put out the anthology- "Nightmares"?

We think that "Nightmares" gives you or anybody who is interested in wave and goth music a very good view of what GUG is about (much better than an normal album CD would do). With Nightmares we show that we can work with very different styles of music but that we (whatever we do) still are able to sound like a band that knows what they are doing. It's not only a very good record for fans because it contains lots of unreleased and special material, but it's also good for people who are interested in the german kind of goth sound that is NOT influenced by the typical acts like Sisters, Fields, Mission etc. GUG has their very unique style, so I think this record just can enlarge peoples way of understanding goth-music. Maybe this record even is a MUST (?!?)

1997's "Firewalker" was considered by many GUG's hardest album to date. What inspired the harsher sound on that one?

GUG was in a very bad and aggressive shape at that time. We were very close to split up at that time, because we were very unsatisfied with many many things. On the other hand we still felt this power and used it to do another (last?) record. We wanted to channel this power and agression, so we did. Firewalker was very muched influenced by lots of bands we heard at that time (KMFDM, NIN, Ministry) although again it sounds different.
When we finished the record we immediately were aware that "Firewalker" is not a very typical GUG record, because we didn't do our own thing but were repeating ideas of other bands instead. That's why we changed our sound drastically after that and were going back to our very roots with the new album "Equlibrium" that hopefully will be out in the USA next year. For Americans I would advice to get into the "Nightmares" stuff first to get abetter understanding of the band. Van Richter gives us their full support, so I think we have a chance to become much better known in the US in the future.

When can we expect new GUG material?

"Equilibrium" is already out in Germany. We are working on a maxi now that contains stuff from "Equilibrium", a version of Madonna's "Frozen" and remixes of Bruno from Das Ich. This MCD/EP will come out in the USA around october/november.

Tell us about some of your side projects- such as Cassandra Complex.

The Cassandra Complex is not my side-project. It's my other band. Together with Rodney (who travels frequently between Hamburg - LA and San Francisco) I just finished the new CC record "CseX". We hope it will come out early next year.
My third band (also together with Hauke and Axel) is Trauma. It's a very cool band, we founded to concentrate on very dark, electronic music that is influenced by german 70's heroes as Schulze, Kraftwerk, but also Clock DVA. The sound is totally different from the GUG stuff and many people just can't get away with it that the same people can do such different kinds of music. The latest Trauma record "Phase 3" became lots of critics as "record of the month, electro-album of the year", so we take this band very serious as well. It's more than a project. But in the moment we totally concentrate all our power on GUG.

What's the deal with the tour you are about to go on? Do you plan on touring the US anytime in the near future?

In Germany we only do a couple of big open air festivals instead of going on tour. We want to play with 7 people on stage (all the musicians that were involved in the "Equilibrium" record), so we need big stages and are not prepared to play in clubs.
If we come to the USA (we loved to come over!) we will concentrate on the main band with maybe one guest-musician. First of all we want to see the development of "Nightmares" in the American market. After that we decide if we can come over or not. As far as I know Van Richter is already in contact with a couple of concert agents, so it might be realistic to see you all very soon.

Any last thoughts?

I hope I have 50 more years until I have my "last" thought!