©Helen Tate
METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Lauren. So glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us at Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it. 

For someone that has never heard about Hands Off Gretel, what would you want to tell them about you and your band? What can they expect?  

LAUREN TATE: See this question is really hard to answer because you can’t exactly say… “We are the best, check us out”! Hahah! But I can say we are definitely different, we aren’t safe rock, we aren’t like most of the other bands in the ‘scene’, we aren’t even part of the ‘scene’ and we aren’t trying to be anyone else to make the ‘cool indie kids’ like us. We are fun to watch and even if you don’t like it your gonna feel something, I imagine if I found my own band out the blue and came to a show I’d go home wanting to play my guitar as loud as I can and cause havoc for the neighbors.  

MPAP: How did the band name, Hands Off Gretel, come about? 

LAUREN: I was inspired by the tale Hansel and Gretel actually, I wanted the band name to reflect childhood and kind of be a play on words like Jack Off Jill and Babes In Toyland. I totally hands up stole the name from them really and Gretel suited exactly the kind of front woman I wanted to be, shoving the witch in the oven and being my own hero and all.  

MPAP: Not only do you sing and play guitar, but you also design the posters, merchandise, album artwork, as well as producing the videos for Hands Off Gretel? You must always be busy?  

LAUREN: I sure am! I love it though. I’d find it hard giving it all over to someone else cause nobody quite gets our style yet. I feel like I got to bring out loads more videos and artwork before I can let anyone else take the wheel because they might get us dressed up in leather arse-less chaps re-branding us Hands Of Gretallica and we are yet to solidify our identity doing it DIY.  

MPAP: Is there enough time in the day to accomplish everything you want to do for yourself and the band? 

LAUREN: Nope. Never ever enough time! You can imagine my face when people tell me to get a ‘real job’. If I had one of those I’d be able to watch TV. I watch Netflix at 1am and it makes me feel like shit I’m so tired haha! I have to hold my eyes open with sticks! I never have me time, unless I make it…which is rare because I hate wasting time doing relaxing things when I know I could be preparing for world domination.
MPAP: You personally, without your current Hands Off Gretel band lineup, have done quite a few cover songs in your music career? Songs by Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac, and Janis Joplin? Are these some of the artists that have influenced you musically while growing up? 

LAUREN: Oh yes! For sure. Janis being my main one there, her music hits my soul. She once got asked why she sang so aggressively and why she chose not to sing pretty like other women in music, her reply was amazing but I can’t quote it. She said something along the lines of, her voice was the core soul of the music, it was the pain and the meaning, it wasn’t just the cherries on top.
MPAP: One song that really stands out is, “You Know You’re Right” by Nirvana. Why were you so nervous about doing this particular song on YouTube? 
LAUREN: I wasn’t nervous about singing it, I was nervous about reading all the comments from people claiming they were Kurt’s BFF just because they’ve read his journals & assume they get him like no-one else. Ugh they are so annoying! They spammed that video with a lot of hate comments saying Kurt would hate me and stuff but I mean wasn’t it Kurt that said, “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not?” RIGHT! People are arses.  

MPAP: Along with the bands previously mentioned, you have also covered songs by 4 Non Blondes, Pink, and The Pretty Reckless? Which one has been your favorite song to cover and sing so far? 

LAUREN: Ah that’s hard! Always loved singing songs from the 4 Non Blondes… but I’m gonna say my favorite song to cover is probably ‘Stop’ by Sam Brown because every time I sing it, it takes me back to when I first met Seàn and we fell in love. It’s so soppy and gross I love how it makes me feel even if the lyrics are about heart break haha!
MPAP: Who is someone you would die to be able to collaborate with as a musician? 

LAUREN: Myself. I wouldn’t like to work with my idols, I would turn to mush! Some days I’m writing a song and I want to jam it out with me on drums, I’d love to clone myself! But I would give her battery power because she would start flirting with my boyfriend and I’d have to turn her off after practice! 

MPAP: Your latest release, Burn The Beauty Queen (2016) was crowd funded entirely by your online fan base. You hit the 100% goal weeks before the campaign was to end, finishing at 135% of the original goal? Were you expecting this?  

LAUREN: Oh man! No not at all. I always feel really cheeky when asking for money. But y’know some artists run these crowdfunders and they call it DIY but they might as well call it a Pre-order, when I crowdfund…I crowdfund! Haha! I was selling everything from my dresses to my paintings to clay models to handmade jewelry. I put so much work into making all these many items to fund the album that I panicked when everyone bought them. I really didn’t think they would but within a few days, all my handmade stuff had been sold. I had to get the paints out and make more! The pledge went amazingly but it was bloody stressful posting out over 1000 packages within 2 days with only me and my mum doing it, people forget that when they say I’m “not even DIY”.
MPAP: With those kinds of numbers, you truly do have some dedicated fans out there?
LAUREN: Oh we sure do! They are incredible. I think people ache for what’s not being played on the radios right now, they like that real element to music and so many people are like “OMG YOU REPLIED TO ME” and I can’t believe smaller bands don’t interact with their fans it’s just bloody rude. We are a family now!  

MPAP: Why be a DIY band? Why not shop for a record label and let them do most of the legwork so you could focus your time elsewhere for the band? 

LAUREN: I think it’s important to be DIY for a while if you want any control over what you’re going to end up doing in another 5 years. Only when the product is right and we have a solid sound and a solid direction would I approach a label. Right now we have so much learning to do and I’m happy to admit that. I’m hoping to be a musician with longevity and integrity in what I am doing and who I am. I don’t want a few months of fame, a flop record and a coke addiction.  

MPAP: Going back to earlier in the interview with you just about doing everything, are you drained at the end of the day after doing so much? 
LAUREN: Yes! Haha, the days of bed time are long gone. I do all my sleeping on tour, that’s when I’m laziest. All I do is sleep. I’m so boring until I’m up on stage!
MPAP: What makes you want to keep pushing forward and harder than the day before? 

LAUREN: Fear of dying, fear of time running out, fear of regret, fear of people being right about me and not being able to prove them wrong, fear of being alone.  

MPAP: What do you do to relax? 

LAUREN: Well this is the hardest question haha! I have actually no idea how to relax, maybe this is telling me I probably should? I go on a lot of walks with my dog and that’s about it, ask me about what makes me tense that’s easier to explain haha!  

MPAP: Before we bring this interview to a close, Hands Off Gretel is a fairly new band hitting the music scene in 2015. Where would you like to see yourself and the band in five years, and then 10 years? 
LAUREN: 5 years I want to have released 3 more albums, I want radio to pick up on us and everyone to pretend they had any interest in us 5 years previous. I want Dave Grohl to notice us and adopt us or something. Then in 10 years I want to have Dave on speed dial and he’ll be like “Hey Loz wanna chill”…and I’ll be all “Soz Dave I'm busy”. Then I want to headline the bigger festivals because women are hardly ever at the top of the bill especially new and upcoming women like me and I’m gonna do it! Even if it means not relaxing until I’m older.  

MPAP: Lauren, any last words you’d like to tell the Metal Pulp And Paper readers and all your fans out there? 
LAUREN: Thanks for having me! Yeah last words, if you haven’t heard of us then go check us out right now while we are fresh in your brain. If you have heard of us, we freaking love you and I thank you with all my heart for giving a shit about our music.
MPAP: On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, thank you for spending some time with us Lauren. Look forward to what Hands Off Gretel does to finish out 2017 and beyond. 

©Helen Tate
Band Members:
Lauren Tate - Vocals and Guitar  
 Sean McAvinue - Guitar
 Sam Hobbins - Drums