Hanzel Und Gretyl? Yeah, you are thinking about the fairytale, but HUG are actually a band from NYC, with a 25 years activity this year already and new album as well entitled as Satanik Germanik. I’m into this band since some years now, but below you can read an interview I had with the two masterminds behind Hanzel Und Gretyl, Vas and Kaizer Von Loopy, where they answered some questions about the new album, their music style, past albums, future plans and others.
Hi to both of you,Vas and Kaizer, is nice having this interview with you, how is everything going?
Vas: Hey there! All is good here in the Big NYC!
Kaizer Von Loopy: Sehr gut!!
Are some good years already since I’ve discovered HUG and since then I’m still following your work. Here you are with a brand new album called Satanik Germanik, which in my opinion, is a good one, maybe I’d say better than the previous one. It seems to me this album is more melodic, do you agree with me on this?
Vas: Thank you! We have 25 years of music under our belts with many different styles. We always want to write songs that differ. So yes, the music in Satanik Germanik is a bit more melodic. It was written during a dark time, and as an artist, I always write my feelings.
Kaizer Von Loopy: Extra effort went into both the songwriting and production as well! We are very pleased with the results thank you!
Maybe it is a continuation of Black Forest Metal?
Vas: Yes it is! Satanik Germanik is the second offering of the GRIMM SHIZA Trilogy. We are currently representing and recreating the darkness of the traditional Hansel and Gretel Grimm fairy Tale.
Kaizer Von Loopy: These last 2 albums are part of a trilogy of Black Metal infused industrial metal leaning heavily on themes from the original brothers Grimm Fairy Tale with our own twist!
Probably your “weird“ style was so catchy for my ears, making me liking your music and as said earlier, also to follow your work all the time. Your music have different elements: industrial, thrash, dark, black metal, how would you describe it?
Vas: Thank you for calling it ‘weird’ I take that as a compliment! I would describe Hanzel und Gretyl as a strange life form outside of the Realm.We are a blend of all those things! Dark Metal, Black Metal, Gothic, Hard Rock, Euphoria, Industrial Metal, Punk, Biker Outlaw, Thrash, Astrology, Ambient, Chaos, Fantasy, Star Wars, Multi Lingual, Religion, Magic, Witchcraft, mixed in with some extreme drinking songs!! Just to name a few! Even though we try very hard to fit into a style of music, we are just slightly incapable of doing that. We always end up being weird! and weird is way more interesting! I will never understand how a musician can continue year after year and write the same exact style of music over and over again. It may be great for that style, or for their business, but it’s tedious. Loopy and I have a huge range of musical tastes, and we always end up incorporating whatever feels good or makes us want to smash windows.
Kaizer Von Loopy: the WEIRDER the BETTER I always say! If it’s not weird, it’s probably forgettable!
Somehow, your music is funny as well, even the first and the second release, are that way…!
Vas: Are you referring to Ausgeflippt and Transmission From Uranus? Oh yes, we do have a healthy sense of humor. Sometimes, we get misunderstood. Sometimes people don’t know what we are or what our intentions are. But they all seem to be attracted to it…or despise it. Either way, we like to keep people thinking instead of serving them typical music and lyrics.
Kaiser Von Loopy: All of our albums stretch the stereotypes of these industrial and/or metal genres as far as possible! rather than avoid it, we try to immerse ourselves in it! this is why we have a tendency to change as the decades pass. we want to taste every flavor of creative absurdity and self indulgence!
The lyrics are both in English, then adding some German into, it’s bit of a madness in the lyric theme. How do you explain this transition between the lyric language?
Vas: We like to break all the rules. We like the madness. How could you have a band named after a German fairy tale and not sing in German, right? Plus I am multilingual and have a love of languages, enough to be able to write simple lyrics and messages. Ever since I was a little girl I was always drawn to music sung in foreign languages. Therefore, of course I would do the same as an adult. Languages are interesting puzzles that offer different soundscapes. It’s art, it makes the listener wonder what the meaning is, they use their own ideas and feeling to interpret the music. Again we like to keep our listeners guessing!
Kaiser Von Loopy: Since the beginning we’ve always agreed that spoken German tended to add sort of an overdrive to aggressive music. I like when metal bands from their native countries sing in their native language as well. I think you’re seeing more of that now but still not enough. As far as I know we are the only American band in the genre that likes to sing in other languages to a large extent!
This year is not only about releasing the new album, but is HUG’s 25 years anniversary as you said earlier. Have you thought doing something special for the anniversary?
Vas: We would like to put out some special releases. But, first we need to clear the rights to these CD’s along with the unreleased OZ FACTOR from 1998. it’s complicated.
Kaizer Von Loopy: We are currently working with our longtime label, Metropolis Records, to retrieve and re-release our early catalog. We would like to do a tour that displays the entire range of our recorded catalog, perhaps in 2019!
Getting back in the past, Ausgeflippt, Transmissions From Uranus, Uber Alles, Scheissmessiah, are my favorite HUG albums, songs from Uber Alles actually got me to your music. The first two first releases are more of an industrial/cyber, and later, your music became more and more heavier. How do you compare the past vs the present, from your vision, regarding the sound and the elements?
Vas: When we started out, we had came out of this Hard Rock, major label industry horror and wanted to do something a bit more true to who we were. Go against all the rules. We really tried to be unique and metal but it all came out sounding a bit more experimental. People thought we were industrial, but we did not even know what industrial was. We did not have a band and recorded everything with machines. The technology back then was minimal and new. The popular music was techno cyber and metal. As time progressed and our record label went out of business and legally tried to control us and dominate, we had a lot of anger and frustration. Therefore our music evolved into a more aggressive, angry mode which developed into a wagnerian opera of star wars, chaos and death star explosions. Each CD reflects exactly what we are going through.
Kaizer Von Loopy: Yes! We tend to absorb our immediate surroundings and react to it creatively, we do this however within a framework that we have created over time as an industrial/metal band that plays off of the dark Hansel and Gretel fairy tale in a sort of detached or surreal way.
In your opinion, which HUG album do you consider is the best (your favorite one too)?
Vas: That’s impossible to say because they are ALL so different and span many years. Each album had the influence of that time and the spirit of what we were feeling as we created those songs. I personally do not like to lament about the past. I always prefer the latest and newest songs. So in this moment, by favorite is SATANIK GERMANIK! But, it looks to me that UBER ALLES was a game changer. We worked on that CD for 5 years! We rehearsed those songs over and over again before even recording them. It was recorded and mixed and mastered in big professional studios. It was also our comeback CD from the mid to late 1990s. There was a lot of angst.
Kaizer Von Loopy: it’s hard to choose! I believe for what ever reason we are likely best known for Uber Alles. when I began that CD I was very focussed and had a very clear idea of what I was going for. with most Cd’s we are on a sort of quest creatively. Uber Alles stands out in a pointed kind of way because it’s very specific in it’s content. I saw the whole album before I even started. It was like coloring in a sci-fi meets World War 2 coloring book for me, it was a very fun CD to record!
It’s quiet a long time since you are signed with Metropolis records, how is it still to be a part of the label since the release of Uber Alles?
Vas: Metropolis is a steady easy going label that gives us a lot of freedom with no great demands. To this day it is impressive that Metropolis is still going strong under the circumstances of the music industry. Of course they had to adjust their business model as we all had to, but they remain one of the elite industrial metal, ebm goth label on this planet!
Kaizer Von Loopy: Metropolis is a good home for us! Like us, their range is rather eclectic but still focussed. I think we represent the extreme metal end of their roster and I also believe we are by far the heaviest and most aggressive act they have ever signed. We like standing out in this way!
The band had line-up changes as well along the years, mostly live members that also took part to some of the records, but HUG means you and Loopy. What is the “secret“ of this long term friendship?
Vas: Yes, Hanzel und Gretyl is myself and Loopy. We are the creators and the destroyers! As we go through the years we decide who will play with us on stage and there was a time when we went on tour with just the 2 of us! You have to go with the flow in this business if you want to survive and want to keep doing what you are doing. There are so many bands that insist they must have a tour bus and a big crew or they won’t tour. If we decided that years ago there would have been no HUG tours at all. You ask how we keep this long friendship? It’s not easy. We are complete opposites and at the same time we are similar. No friendship or working partnership is easy. All the stress and disagreements has obviously produced great music! Hanzel und Gretyl is like the Mob, once you want to quit and have had enough, something good happens and you get dragged back in.
Kaizer Von Loopy: I think because we have our body of work in mind at all times, we are able to weather the more challenging times where other bands might have problems with dueling egos etc. We are also from loud Eastern European households (I’m Macedonian / Romanian and Vas is Greek) where problems, as you know, get worked out loudly and fast!
Do you have touring plans for this fall/winter or maybe for the next year? Maybe you will come one day to Romania. You have a song Hoia Baciu, which is said to be a haunted forest somewhere in my country, hehe!
Vas: At the moment we are not touring and have no definite plans. and YES!! Once we tour again, we would love to visit Romania! Loopy is Romanian! He must visit his ancestral land! We did have a promoter offer us a show there before, but it never worked out. Hopefully next time we tour!
Kaizer Von Loopy: We have spoke to a number of promoters about playing in Romania and I’m certain we will in the future! I need to see my ancestors’ homeland!
Thank you Vas and Kaizer or your time, it was nice talking with you! Hails!
Vas: You’re welcome and thank you for supporting Hanzel und Gretyl ! We totally appreciate it!
Kaizer Von Loopy: Prost and La Revedere 4 now!