Hanzel Und Gretyl
Industrial shock-rockers Hanzel Und Gretyl are in Australia for Fiend Fest 2012, an all day celebration of all things dark and alluringly grotesque. Combining the already popular Black Market with the Carpe Noctum fashion parade, burlesque shows and live music, it promises to a horrifically entertaining day out for anyone in touch with their dark side.
In the run up to Fiend Fest, Beat spoke to Van Kasser and Kaiser Von Loopy, the bat shit bonkers duo behind the self-proclaimed “best fukken ubererst German fukken band not from Germany”. That’s right – despite speaking, sounding and looking like they hail from Germany, they’re actually from New York. Given the aesthetic they’ve created and their hard-as-nails industrial stomp, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Rammstein were a major influence on Hanzel Und Gretyl. In fact, as the pair explain, Rammstein comparisons are purely coincidence!
KVL: “Just to let everyone know, we met Rammstein back in 1997 when they opened for us at a festival in NYC. We realized that we had many of the same influences without ever knowing or hearing of each other beforehand. Within months we were touring the U.S. with them as direct support.”
“Rammstein have become so synonymous with Germany itself that lazy Rammstein comparisons have become an occupational hazard, even for bands that influenced Rammstein! I won't name any names but one of them rhymes with Schmanzel und Gretyl,” says Van Kasser
Pretending to be German and writing songs with less than serious titles like Scheissway to Hell (from 2004’s Scheissmessiah) or Heil Shizzle Mein Nizzle (from this year’s Zwanzing Zwölf) has some critics writing off Hanzel and Gretyl off as a gimmicky novelty act. “You can write off being a novelty act?! I gotta talk to my accountant!” retorts KVL.
Van doesn’t see this being such a bad thing. "A novelty act is one that has a particular gimmick in order to stand out from the crowd. Since our conception in 1993, we've had several gimmicks and are ever changing with our ‘gimmickness’. We went from space alien experimental babies to evil death metal bootstomperz of the galaxies! Our new CD coming out this [autumn] will bring a new ‘gimmick’ of bad arsery!”
If they were to start again, I ask, would they choose a different country to pretend to be from and a different genre of music to play? Vas responds, "I would join a Greek bouzouki band and do some sort of death metal bouzouki mosh pit music for space aliens and switch from Jägermeister to ouzo!"
KVL continues, “Spoken Finnish is the closest thing to Klingon in existence. I would speak Finnish slowly over spooky ambient landscape! I think that's pretty much the future of industrial. I'm glad I thought of it.”
Hanzel Und Gretyl will be bringing the bad arsery to Fiend Fest 2012 this weekend. “Expect our jet-lagged asses to go fuckin' crazy! And don't wear anything that requires dry-cleaning! Trust me!” warns KVL.
"Yeah! Stay on my side of the stage if you don't want to take a Loopy beer bath!" adds Vas.
By all accounts they are looking forward to Fiend Fest and its all encompassing celebration of everything dark. Vas explains, “I'm looking forward to the whole experience, being that the venues are bigger, and in art spaces with so many creative types – that's always inspiring. I'm also looking forward to hearing and meeting [the other bands on the bill] Hocico and Witchgrinder, since their name is very "'HanzelGretyl-esque'."
“I'm hoping both of those bands will return to the stage as HO-GRINDER and reduce the whole place to a triple X-rated satanic zumba dance party,” says KVL.
“Ye, beware! Loopy is an expert zumba dancer,” says Vas.
A terrifying prospect, indeed. Exotic dancing aside, Hanzel Und Gretyl are also in Australia to promote their new slab of pounding industrial beats, razor sharp riffs and tongue in cheek Teutonic wit. The album is entitled Zwanzing Zwölf in a reference to the Mayan prediction that this year will see the end of the world. According to Vas, they plan on celebrating the end of the world by throwing a concert at the Mayan pyramids in Mexico – “Hopefully before Lady Gaga does!”
One of the reasons they chose German as their adopted language of choice is its naturally aggressive sound, which makes it perfect for industrial metal. It’s also a great-sounding language with which to insult someone. When learning a new language, it goes without saying that the first thing you learn is how to insult someone.
According to Vas, “nothing beats a good ‘Go fuck yourself!’ in any language but if I had to pick a German one, It would have to be ‘Du scheisse alte schlampe sackgesicht blutes sow!’” I’ll let you do the translating. Like anything Hanzel Und Gretyl do, be warned – it’s not for the faint hearted!
BY ADAM ROBERTSHAW
HANZEL UND GRETYL play alternative festival Fiend Fest at Revolt, Kensington on Saturday June 9. Their album Zwanzing Zwölf is out now.