INTERVIEW: Fairy-tales, Trolls and Female Empowerment - A sit-down with HANDS OFF GRETEL

INTERVIEW: Fairy-tales, Trolls and Female Empowerment - A sit-down with HANDS OFF GRETEL 2
Credit Neil Chapman

Sassy alt-rock/grunge-pop band from South Yorkshire, Hands Off Gretel play a headline Belfast show at Voodoo on Friday 14th February 2020. The four-piece have built themselves a solid live reputation, for a high energy shows that are musically dynamic and visually compelling. Mark Millar caught up with the band to talk about the show and upcoming EP.

Hands Off Gretel
Credit Neil Chapman

Hi, For anyone who might not know. How did the band get together?

Lauren formed the band with some Sean and Sam who played for her previous solo project in 2016, Becky joined later on bass after sharing line ups on a bunch of shows around the UK.

Where does the name Hands Off Gretel come from?

Of course, it starts as a reference to the fairytale, but it turns Gretel into a fierce and powerful girl yelling "Hands off!" Being young or seemingly vulnerable, but also frustrated and loud, is a big part of the band's theme.

When did you discover your love for music?

I started out mainly influenced by women that really spoke to me and helped me through my teenage years. Many lonely times hiding in the school toilets listening to P!nk and Linda Perry. If I become anything it’s to be the same for someone else out there, helping them get through their day.

Hands off Gretel play headline Belfast show at Voodoo on Friday 14th February. Are you looking forward to playing to the Belfast crowd?

Yes! We cannot wait for our first show in Belfast, We're 2 albums and 2 EPs into the band and we are so glad to finally make it over to Ireland and see what these crowds are like!

What goes through your head when you step on stage to perform?

It’s wondering what the crowd are going to be like. It’s the difference between a good and not so good gig, the energy we get from a crowd is so important!

2019 was a great year for the band with some festival appearances. What was your highlight?

Isle of Wight was a great one for us. It's such a huge and crazy festival with so much going on, but people found us, our crowd was spilling out of the tent and the vibe was electric! This summer will also be a big one for festivals too.

What tricks have you developed to stay sane whilst on the road for such a long period of time?

We still haven't really figured it out haha! We try to plan our heavy drinking nights to make sure we're all in the same boat for staying up late or suffering together the next day!

I love the new single MILK - the video is amazing too. Can you tell me about the meaning behind the track?

It's about exploitation, particularly female cows' bodies being used for their milk. Generally, it is our vegan anthem, we wanted to keep helping to raise the profile of this movement, using our music and the video. We want as many people as possible to watch our video, it was tough for us to make because of the research we had to do to get the inspiration for the animal testing shots. We want people to realise that what they buy can affect so many individuals' lives. We can't ignore their suffering for our commodity.

Hands Off Gretel will release THE ANGRY EP on 6th March which isn’t long after your last album I WANT THE WORLD. Why have you decided to put an EP out so soon?

We had these songs written during the I Want The World album, but they didn't quite fit with the rest of the album. They seemed more effective all together in a raw recording with a united theme. We wanted to keep the momentum up so we went into the studio as soon as we came back from last year's tour!

What are the main themes you have written about on the EP?

A lot of feminine rage! Being a girl in the punk music scene, being overlooked, being used, being inappropriately touched, being objectified… And being mad about it all!

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would that be?

Making opportunities for DIY bands more affordable. We just don't feel like bands are on even footing, if you don't have a label or a lot of money to back you, it's so hard to get your music put in front of the right crowds.

What do you enjoy most about being a musician? What do you hate most?

Love: Gigs, the audience, travelling
Hate: The internet trolls, the anxiety of not knowing what could be around the

What are your ambitions for 2020?

We would love to get to tour with another band who are like us. It would be awesome to support a bigger band around Europe if we can, it's just fun when you can get the time to build friendships with people. We can join forces and make an awesome tour! Playing in America would also be amazing this year if we can!


hands off gretel


Voodoo, Belfast

Friday 14th February 2020

Doors 7 pm

Tickets £10.50 + Booking Fee

18+ Only

Tickets on sale NOW from, & Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. Northern Ireland customers 0844 277 44 55 & Republic of Ireland customers 0818 719 300.

Xsnoize Author
Mark Millar is the founder of XS Noize and looks after the daily running of the website as well as conducting interviews for the XS Noize Podcast. Mark's favourite album is Achtung Baby by U2.

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