Midnite Mixtape Massacre - Hands Off Gretel Print
Written by Hands Off Gretel   
Sunday, 31 July 2016 04:00



South Yorkshire Grungy/Riot Grrl-loving noisemongers Hands Off Gretel are slowly but steadily making a name for themselves following last year's 'Be Mine' EP and a handful of home made DIY videos. In fact Hands Off Gretel, fronted by 19 year old singer/songwriter Lauren Tate, are a completely DIY band, with Lauren designing all the band merchandise, artwork and producing the videos.




The band beat the competition and won coveted spots at this year's Camden Rocks and Isle Of Wight festivals and their debut album, 'Burn The Beauty Queen', will be released in September without the help of any crowd-funding platform.


We thought it would be a good idea to get in there before the release of the debut album and find out what all the fuss is about and discover the sounds that shape this wild and colourful four-piece from Yorkshire.




Lauren Tate - Vocals/Guitar:


1.) 'The Young Crazed Peeling'- The Distillers (from the album 'Sing Sing Death House')


This song was probably my first link to female-fronted punk rock. I'd never really heard a girl scream before and I was there scrolling YouTube and I saw a kick-ass Brody Dalle with a mowhawk and lip rings and I was drawn in to click it, never knowing that this would be a very life changing moment for my music career. I heard the grit in Brody's voice and died a little, like... Oh my god, why don't all girls sing like this? She has a better scream then any guy I've heard (and I stand by that). She was my instant favourite and The Distillers became my favourite band at around 15. I idolised Brody Dalle!


2.) 'Violet' - Hole (from the album 'Live Through This')


Sean introduced me to Hole after I told him how much I loved Nirvana. I can't believe I'd never heard of them. The connection was instant, I've never resonated with any musician as much as I do with Courtney Love. Love her or hate her she is a genius to me, she is also the only female rock star with any rock 'n' roll left in her at 50. She's my favourite singer and lyricist, no one empowers me like her really. She's been through so much shit and you feel it in her music, without Hole there would be no Hands Off Gretel!


3.) 'Bruise Violet' - Babes In Toyland (from the album 'Fontanelle')


I heard this song by Babes In Toyland on a grunge online radio station. I never listen to the radio, so this was a rare occasion. Anyway, this song came on and I shit myself when Kat's scream came in at the start. I was staring at the "now playing" button waiting for the band name to update. This was the craziest thing I'd ever heard and who was this woman? This glorious mad woman screaming glorious labour sounds over fuzz guitar and tom-heavy drums? Kat inspired me vocally to totally let go, she's my favourite crazy singer, it opened a whole new cabinet of weird vocal gymnastics for me. She really boosted my confidence to let go and be a little crazy and kick my legs and stuff. I needed that!


4.) 'Shitlist' - L7 (from the album 'Bricks Are Heavy')


I was watching Natural Born Killers (my favourite film) and anyway, right at the scene where Juliette Lewis kicks some guys ass, this song comes on and I freak out trying to load Shazam on my phone to tell me who the hell the band is. It turns out to be L7, the last of my favourite '90s girl rock bands to discover. When I went to America I played them on my iPod constantly and decided once I got home I'd no longer give a damn what anyone thought of my style, my music, my personality or life choices. They inspired me to let go of all that insecurity and rock out, those women are so influential to me and the music I write. I thank them for being bad-ass and making other girls who love them feel bad-ass too. I wanna do that!




Sean McAvenue - Guitar:


5.) 'Don't' - Dinosaur Jr (from the album 'Bug')


An absolute shitsplosion of wonderment and magic. Dinosaur Jr. are a huge influence on me because... well, listen to that guitar! J Mascis was a drummer in a Grindcore band named ‘Deep Wound’, and picked up the guitar because ‘he didn’t like how anyone else was doing it...’ Class!


6.) 'Can't Keep' - Pearl Jam (from the album 'Riot Act')


I love Pearl Jam. ‘Can’t Keep’ is a beautiful, beautiful song. It lifts, but never truly explodes, and that makes it all the more alluring. Mastery of dynamics and a wonderful vocal tone keep you transfixed, and the lyrics are unparalleled: “I want a last breath I don’t let out”. Check out the 'Live At Benaroya Hall' version of the song.


7.) 'In 'n' Out of Grace' - Mudhoney (from the EP 'Superfuzz Bigmuff')


Amazing song. Raw, rough, with an intro that would leave me forever disappointed every time it turned out to be Primal Scream and not Mudhoney. Saw a live version once, wherein Mark and Steve used each other’s guitars to make guitar babies for two minutes during the ‘solo’, then launched into the next verse out-of-tune as a... shit-flinging Bejesus, and carried on till the end, happy out. In THIS moment, the true Seanness of my little musical soul was born. Art, boys. Art.




Sam Hobbins - Drums:


8.) 'Spit It Out' - Slipknot (from the self-titled album)


This was the song that turned me onto the alternative music scene heavily, it captured me and I became totally obsessed. I went out and bought the album and started delving deeper, then picked up the guitar.


9.) 'Suburban Home' - Descendents (from the album 'Milo Goes To College')


I'd found punk/hardcore/Oi/Ska when I was around 16 and again fell in love with it. But it wasn't until I'd heard the Descendents where I discovered where pop punk (which was extremely popular at the time) had come from. It was the first time where I'd heard melody be the main focus behind the music whilst still having the ability to kick you in the teeth. After buying 'Milo Goes To College' I quickly started listening to everything they'd done, and got turned on to other bands like Bad Religion and NOFX and they're one of my favourite bands to date.


10.) 'Strawberry Fields Forever' - The Beatles (from the album 'Magical Mystery Tour')


You can't call yourself a musician without at least having some admiration for The Beatles, they did it all. Whenever I'm stressed or not entirely sure what to do with myself this song always comes to the rescue. As much as I like screaming and shouting in music sometimes its nice to hear just pure melody, it does something to the brain and soul that angry distortion-fuelled attacks just can't reach.




Joe Scotcher - Bass:


11.) 'Had Ten Dollaz' - Cherry Glazerr (7" Single)


I discovered Cherry Glazerr late mid 2014, and ever since then they have had an everlasting impression on my musical influence. They capture the essence of the California grunge and post punk scene perfectly. Giant, fuzzy guitar, driving bass and pounding drums from a band that knows how to say "f**k you" but at the same time can be so personally relateable, it's like you've known the members of the band all your life.


12.) 'Better Living Through Chemistry' - Queens Of The Stone Age (from the album 'Rated R')


There is nothing I can say about Queens Of The Stone Age that hasn’t been said before. One of the most influential and important bands to ever walk the earth, they literally changed the way I look at music. While 'Songs For The Deaf' is one of my all time favourite albums, 'Better Living Through Chemistry' (Rated R) still sends shivers down my spine from the moment Joey starts on the bongos. The perfect mix of melodic/calm and ambient and also loud/soulful and passionate. It goes up in the list of songs I'll never get sick of hearing.


13.) 'Taxman' - The Beatles (from the album 'Revolver')


As the opening song of the best album The Beatles have done (debatable) it still, to me, sounds like every rock song ever written. As a song which almost set the standards for counter culture in 1960’s London, for me, this song just opened my eyes to how delightfully versatile the simplest of riffs can be. The blend of perfect vocal harmonies and scratchy, sloppily played guitar solos made me fall in love with the song, the album and the band. Although there are so many Beatles songs to choose from, this one really spoke to me and really opened my mind to how influential The Beatles really were, and still proves to be influential on my own musical perspective and outlook.



[Photos by Mel Butler, Kimberly Bayliss, and Helen Tate]