Girls Under Glass

Interview by Cleo

Your great cover of the Madonna song "Frozen" is probably your most well-known work in the states. Other than the fact that she is perhaps the biggest pop star in the world, is there a reason why you chose to cover a Madonna song, and also, why this particular song? Do you have a particular fondness for the imagery that song creates?

We did not know that this was our most famous title in the states. We have covered many artists over the years such as Gary Numan, Simple Minds, and John Carpenter. Cover versions are an extention of our creative outlet. We find songs that are compelling and make them our own. We don't pick tracks or artists that are popular to cover but songs that appeal to us both music and lyrics. Frozen is a very powerful song regardless of who originally wrote and recorded it. We hope the GUG version will stand the test of time on its own merits.

What other songs have you reworked as covers over the years?

As in the first question we covered "Down in the Park" by Gary Numan, "New Gold Dream by "Simple Minds", and "Halloween" by John Carpenter among others over our two decades of work.

There seems to be a nice connection between industrial/electro bands in Germany. So many artists there have done remixes for other bands and many tend to get involved in each other's projects. For instance, your EP includes a remix by Bruno Kramm of Das Ich and your track "Grey in Grey" features vocals by Peter Heppner of the well-known band Wolfsheim. I've read that you've done quite a few remixes for other bands as well. Are any members of Girls Under Glass also involved in outside projects or currently doing any remixes for other bands?

There is a very close industrial/electro scene in our town of Hamburg. Most all the established bands have worked or played with each other over the years. Even Project Pitchfork was formed at a Girls Under Glass show. There is solidarity in our counterculture. Volker plays guitar in Cassandra Complex, Axel has worked with VNV Nation as well as invented Midi gear for Die Krupps. We also have a great side project called Trauma. For more details of our current and past project you can read our chronology on our website that covers our two decades of work.

Would you consider doing a US tour to promote your music in the near future?

We would love to do our first ever U.S. tour however no opportunity has arisen. We know it is very difficult for foreign bands to tour the states. We are waiting patiently for the day to come. Until then our label Van Richter will continue to support us with promotion and marketing.

You seem to integrate many different musical styles into your songs, from industrial to darkwave, pop, orchestral, and even, in some cases, metal (for example-on "Desire Lasts Forever"). Do you think this eclectic sound is one key to your wide range of fans and also your longevity?

Yes the diversity of our sound has not only kept the GUG sound fresh but also given the band crossover appeal to many genres including Metal, Electronic and of course Gothic and Industrial music. The band follows no trends but instead stays true to our craft. Maybe that does not translate to platnum records but we maintain an artistic integrety.

Girls Under Glass has been around for over 15 years and has put out quite an impressive number of releases. How do you feel your sound has evolved and grown during this time? Are you already working on a new release?

We of course have developed as musicians as well as song writers. Our life experiences have been the source of our inspiration. Of course most of our fans relate more to our darker angst ridden material. Right now Frozen is the priority however there will be a new GUG record out maybe next year. Again all the updates are on our website There are already some new tracks for the new record online.

A few of the songs on the "Frozen" EP are listed as having been written as far back as 1992, yet they retain a freshness that makes them sound as modern as the newer tracks. Were songs like "Grey in Grey" and "Don't Be Afraid" remixed especially for the "Frozen" EP?

All the older tracks were remastered. However they already had a timelessness in the music and lyrics. So picking older tracks to remaster were as fresh sounding as if recorded today. Since the U.S. fans had never been exposed to allot of our material we picked tracks that would not only be fresh sounding but fit into the Frozen EP concept.

Like many professional electronic musicians out there today, you must have your own recording studio. What is some of your favorite gear used to create your music? Have recent advances in music technology and recording software over the past few years opened up the realm of possibility for your music even more?

As mentioned Axel has invented custom midi gear for exclusive use of the band. Nowadays everyone has Pro tools and Q Base software in their home studio among other gear and software. You still need to know how to write a good song. The technical advances can only take you so far. You need to have talent as musicans. Technology advances have enhanced our music but we still need to know the craft of writing good music.

Van Richter Records seems to have done quite a good job of getting Girls Under Glass recognition in the U.S. since they first put out your "best of" release "Nightmares" in 1999. How has your involvement with this label differed from those you've worked with in Europe?

The label has done a great job for us in marketing and promotions in the states as well as distribution into the stores there. "Nightmares" was a hybrid album as it included best of material, unreleased tracks and brand new material. It was our introduction to the U.S. market as well as gave long time GUG fans some new songs. Van Richter is more artist development, hands on than any other label we have worked with. They have a very limited roster of bands and we are luckily one of them. The label seems to care about the music first before the financial rewards. This is a refeshing change for us. Van Richter also has more of a global vision vereses our prior labels that only cared about selling records in Germany.

Anything you would like to add as a personal note for the New Year?

We would like to thank you for the editorial support. We wish all our fans and people in the scene a safe and happy new year, and never again a tragedy like 911. We hope people that truly support our music and scene will go out and buy some cds in the new year as none of us can exist without your support. The best for 2002!