My Life in Music: Lauren Tate (Hands Off Gretel)

Lauren Tate, lead singer of South Yorkshire punk outfit Hands Off Gretel, talks us through her life in music…

The first record I bought

The first record I ever bought was Fontanelle by Babes in Toyland. I played it nearly every day when I was 16. My Dad would shout up to my bedroom, “Lauren! It sounds like someone’s in labour up there!” because Kat’s voice was so screamy. I absolutely loved it!

My first gig

The first show I ever saw was Gwen Stefani on the Sweet Escape tour in 2007, I believe. I was in absolute awe of her stage presence and she owned that stage. I knew that one day that would be me.

The first song I Performed

I sang AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ at my Catholic primary school when I was 12. Ha! The kids were holding up devil horns and moshing like crazy as the headteacher cheered me on. That was the start of my teenage rebellion and my love for doing the opposite of what I was supposed to.

a song i wish i’d wrote

‘The Hunger’ by The Distillers. Gosh, I love that song. I love Brody Dalle.

A song I wish i’d never made

It’s not that I want to delete our song ‘Be Mine’, I just hate how slow we recorded it. The EP bugs me because I knew it was too slow but back then I was too shy to say anything.

I first fell in love with music

I discovered the power of lyrics when I found P!nk as a teenager. I was dealing with bullies and mental health issues, spending dinnertimes in the toilets listening to her music. It felt like she was speaking to me, holding my hand to guide me through those lonely days. I always knew I’d grow up to write music of my own that could hopefully help people like she helped me.

A song I can’t get out of my Head at the minute

‘T r a n s p a r e n t s o u l’ by Willow Smith is currently on loop in my head. I love her. What she’s doing for young black girls, seeing a black woman doing so well in alternative music, will be the change we’ve needed to see in the music world for so long.

A record which reminds me of a specific time and place

It was summertime and me and my best friend were skipping class by hiding in the school toilets. We shared my earphones and I played her ‘Violet’ by Hole. I’d recently got into the band and I was watching my friend’s face as she heard Courtney Love scream for the first time. I told her, “I’m gonna learn to scream like that someday” – and I did.

Music allows me tO

Express myself and be the class clown. I can show off, act the fool, make people cry, make people laugh. Music is my superpower to connect with people after spending most of my life not knowing how.

Hands Off Gretel play The Leadmill on 7 September as part of the band’s Still Angry UK tour. Tickets available here

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