Children For Breakfest
CoC interviews Hanzel und Gretyl
by: Adrian Bromley
Few bands over the last little while have been able to create music for the sheer sense of experimentation and creativity. Everyone seems to be following a pattern or trend. Not so for New York-based 'space-rock' weirdos Hanzel Und Gretyl. While not even rock-oriented, as the band's style of music includes techno, industrial, loops, and heavy riffs into their music, the whole sound/idea of the band garners a very futuristic spacey flow to it, capped off by hard-driven musical numbers and odd imagery/lyrics. Over the course of two years, the band has produced some excellent material on their two Energy Record releases, 1995's _Ausgeflippt_ and their latest odd and eccentric conception entitled _Transmissions from Uranus_.

Main vocalist and songwriter/space traveler Vas Kallas speaks about the making of _Transmissions from Uranus_ and about life that exists in outer space. "I found time to go to outer space and do research for this record," jests Vas Kallas over the phone. "I'll tell you what, I read a lot of books about the future and that gives me a lot of ideas to write about. This stuff intrigues me and that is why I write about it and this is why we chose to deal with this subject. But this isn't science fiction, this is reality."

About some of the books that inspired _Transmissions from Uranus_, she adds, "While we were making the first record, we were totally into watching over and over again _2001: A Space Odyssey_. We got inspired by that film and that may explain why the first album was so mellow. This time around, this album was inspired by books. Books like _The Pleiadian Agenda_ by Barbara Handclow and all these other books. _Earth_ by Barbara Mansiniac and another book called _You Are Becoming a Galactic Human_ which was cool, another book called _Human Evolution_. This is real crazy stuff. This is real stuff and not science fiction. This is like channeled information from past and future lives, mixed with some scientific knowledge. All this stuff makes sense to me. That is me and my world. People think I am absolutely nuts about it, and I can't talk to many people about it, but when I find people that are into it too, we tend to talk for hours about it. Like I said, my music and I are in our own little world." She continues, "The stuff that I write about is real information that scientists say is wrong, but it's more about spiritual, ritualistic, futuristic ideals. That's the subject matter. As for the music, this is where we are at right now. I guess the music is different for us now, as we have gotten our act together and become more solid as songwriters. The first record was just Lupie (programming/guitars) and I, and we did what we felt. But we learned from touring and studio work and those experiences helped make our music better."

The band's latest LP is chock full of great numbers (i.e "9d Galactic Center", "Robot Logik", and "Pleiadian Agenda") and totally warped in its own right. The music is a monstrous heapage of samples, riffs, and mayhem all rolled into one solid package. How does Kallas and the rest of HUG assemble the ideas for songs? Is it difficult to bring all those sounds and ideas into one idea? "I dunno... I dunno. It just happens. For example, we are in the studio and find some samples and loops that sound cool and put it together. Both Lupie and I will hear something and go along with it. We add lyrics and music to those sounds and BOOM! you got a song. It just happens. It's magic. You can't really explain how creating music happens. Our music has no formula when we write it."

One thing that Kallas and Lupie (the rest of the band is rounded out by bassist Gingerbread and drummer Seven) have going for them is their strong belief in creative control and DIY methods of making music and being in a band. Forget the music industry, i.e. labels, press, etc... - they call the shots. Kallas explains, "I'll tell you right now, the industry does not play any role in my life. I don't have people telling me what songs to write or what to put on my record. I just don't have that and I am happy about that and not being on a major label. Even if people told us what to do, both Lupie and I are the kind of people that would say, 'Fuck off!' I don't care. We like to do what we want to do and if someone starts telling me what to do I will step out of the business. I don't give a shit. We have been lucky so far because we are on an independent label and we have been able to do what we want so far."

But is there an agenda for success for HUG? Does HUG think they could be a big thing in this music industry? Kallas starts, "If I answer this question, I will sound like a pompous asshole but... Yeah! I think so. If we had the backing of a U2-type band... forget it. I mean, the ideas we have would be hysterical and a lot more fun than that U2 concert. I mean, duh!? I think we have the capabilities to do so. I would love to be this huge trippy band. If we had the finances we would be like Hawkwind, The Orb, and Pink Floyd, and just go out all the way. Wooh!"

Describing the record, Kallas says, "Intellectually, I would tell people that this is a transmission from another planet and from the universe. These are the messages that were brought to me to relay to the public in song form. Sonically, it's like a sci-fi trip. But this is nothing compared to what we are going to do next record. That will be out of control."

And what does Kallas do in her spare time? "Spare time? I don't really have any spare time. This is my full-time job. Twenty-four hours a day I dedicate to this and lucky I can do so. I read or screw around with my guitar. I watch a lot of TV and science fiction stuff trying to get ideas. I am really into sci-fi stuff. I'm like one of those Hale-Bopp people." <laughs>

(article submitted 14/7/1997)


CHATS
1/17/1996 A Bromley Hanzel Und Gretyl: The Noise of Making Art
ALBUMS
5/29/2003 A McKay 8 Hanzel und Gretyl - Uber Alles
6/7/1997 A Bromley 9 Hanzel Und Gretyl - Transmissions from Uranus
12/13/1995 A Bromley 7 Hanzel Und Gretyl - Ausgeflipt
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