Interview : Hands Off Gretel’s Lauren Tate Talks about being Scared of death, Their Pledge Music nightmare, question 8 is interesting.
Hi Lauren thanks for taking time out to join me today for a chat, its been a while since we last spoke, I think the last time we chatted face to face was when you and Sean dropped off some artwork I bought from you, it’s still pride of place on the RGM office wall. Hows life in the HOG camp these days?
Hey dude, yes oh wow that was quite a while ago now haha! Everything is wild over here, we’ve been doing lots of album promotion and planning. Working on new music video concepts and ideas, working on mood boards and new merch, lots of practicing of the new songs for the album tour and super pumped that our new album is finally going to be out! It’s all happening right now, it’s stressful but I love it.
I remember first catching you live at the forum, Sheffield many years ago when you were singing solo acoustic stuff, Your singing talents were obvious, where do you get your artistic flare from?
Oh yes i remember that gig. Well i’ve always been re-inventing myself, I’ve always leant more towards the crazy wild woman side of town though with my musical preferences. I listened a lot to Janis Joplin and Courtney Love, the rasp in their voices was quite similar to mine and I just worked with it, seeing what I could achieve with my throat most of the time, learning to scream and be as loud as possible. However saying that I’ve also got really into rap recently haha, I’m just always trying out new techniques and seeing what my voice can do, pushing myself to do everything I can while I’m alive. None of my family were singers though so I have no idea where my voice came from, my sisters got a really good voice too, maybe we were secretly adopted?
I’m always so busy. I have so many ideas all the time running through my head. I cannot sit still. I’m either writing or singing or planning something or crying about getting older and panicking I will run out of time to achieve everything I work towards. I’m currently writing 3 albums at the same time, I really want to get into acting and modelling,I bounce from one idea to the next which honestly drives me insane. I just wake up with new dreams and goals and I dedicate every hour of my day to them, fantasising and staring at the sky waiting for answers. I haven’t actually had a night out or hung out with friends since about October last year. When I’m in a creative mood I just become a hermit and focus on nothing else, I guess that’s why I feel lonely a lot of the time but when I’m determined to do something, i do it and loneliness is the price I pay for my art.
How does being in a relationship with a band member work?
Good points? I get to play on stage with my best friend every night!
Bad points? It’s hard to switch off from work mode and be normal people going on dates and stuff. We have the same stories which is funny because sometimes I forget we are together all the time and I will say “oh I was talking to this man on tour and he was telling me blah blah blah…” then he would interrupt me and say “yeah I know I was stood next to you remember” and I’m like.. oh for god sake haha, we never get time apart to have our own stories, we are connected at the hip.
You are in my opinion one of the most hard working bands out there, recording, touring relentlessly. What drives you to keep going?
Wow thanks dude! Well for me it’s my fear of dying. I say this a lot because I’m honestly petrified that I only have a certain amount of time to create and be alive. I always visualise clocks and sand timers, I drive myself insane. I can’t even sit and watch films sometimes because I feel like I’m wasting time that I could use creating something I can leave behind when I’m dead. When I record something I never say it’s finished until I’ve given it the ‘pretend I am dead and listening this in 100 years time test’. I listen to my mixes and songs imaginging I will never be able to tweak them or touch them again. This makes me a pain in the arse for producers working with me, we nearly always end up falling out because I am very particular and annoying when something doesn’t sound how I want it to. I’m always looking at the way way bigger picture and live my life almost like a movie or video game, this feeling of depersonalisation triggered from when I was about 15.
If you could go back to the very moment you learnt your instruments, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Stop trying so hard to play bloody twinkle twinkle little star, focus on power-chords and stop super-gluing the end of your fingers to try harden them, IT DOES NOT WORK LAUREN! Haha!
Did you vote leave or remain, and why?
I voted remain. I don’t like talking about politics or anything but in my opinion we are stronger together. It creeps me out getting political though, people online especially get so angry about it all. The world is a scary place right now! I have no idea what to expect when we leave the EU and how it will impact us.
We were really sad to see the experience you have had with pledge music, whats the latest?
We’ve had nothing from them. They are no longer replying to emails or giving statements, It’s honestly heartbreaking for us after all the hard work we’ve put in building the campaign. I’m mostly devastated for the fans. It is their money at the end of the day, they are the ones that funded the campaign in the first place. I was pushing for us to send all of the merchandise regardless of the money coming through but once we counted up how much it would cost to fulfil all the orders we had to re-think that. We had made over 25K through the campaign and sold 1000s of items. We’ve agreed to send out all the CDs out of our own pockets now as we continue to wait for Pledge Music to contact us. Along with many other artists in the same position with campaigns 10 times bigger than ours we really doubt the money will ever be paid to us as fans continue to wait for refunds. We are now running the campaign on our website though to continue with the pre-orders and re-coup some money to self release the album through our own label (Puke Pop Records).
I saw your video discussing the situation with pledge and I have to say your resilience is really credible, I respect how you will not stop to make sure you pay back all the contributors with their pledges. Whats effected you personally the most thorough this whole experience?
It’s been so stressful having to work around Pledge Music’s mess. Some people have got confused with it all and actually turned the blame around on us which has really impacted me. Annoyingly also it’s distracted from the success of our campaign. We hit our full target of 10K in less than 24 Hours and ended the campaign early after only a few weeks as we hit 250%. We’ve talked more recently about bloody Pledge Music and their arse up that we have about our actual new album and that really pisses me off, I just can’t believe this has happened. Saying that the fan support is stronger than ever, people have requested refunds through Pledge and gone to re-order through our website, giving us donations and supporting us every way they can. Maybe it happened for a reason? Who knows! All i know is our fan base is stronger than it’s ever been and we are so so grateful for that.
Really well. The CD’S arrived the other day and we are still waiting on the Vinyls. I’m so excited to launch the album, even with just the little teasers people are getting all hyped up for the release on the 29th March! I’ve wrote much better songs this time in my opinion, I learnt a lot from playing live past few years as a performer knowing what kind of flavours I wanted to create this time around. It’s been really fun blending some more bubblegum pop tones into the album whilst still keeping that angsty fuzz we have live. I’ve done a lot more singing too, with harmonies and a shit tonne of backing vocals. I planned every little detail of that album and I’m so happy with how it’s come out, all the way down to the artwork too. Just holding the finished product makes me so happy!
Im coming to see you at the Trashed TV gig in Manchester on the 1st March, whats coming up in 2019 for HOG and you Lauren?
Aw wicked! Gonna be a great day. We will be launching the album 29th March, releasing more singles and music videos from that, going off on tour around June time, touring for a few months then releasing more music and writing new tunes. Then for me personally I’m actually gonna be releasing a solo album, which I’m toying with the idea of calling it ‘Songs For Sad Girls’ or something like that which is a concept album I’m just near to finishing which I’ve self produced. That’s gonna have a different sound to HOG, it’s quite P!nk meets Sia, Lana Del Ray, KatieJane Garside vibes, which I will be putting up for pre-order in April via my own website.