GIRLS UNDER GLASS
TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with Volker Zacharias (Zaphor) from the German goth/darkwave/industrial band Girls Under Glass was done through e-mail in December 2000 / January 2001.
Could you give the readers a short biographical background on the band?
Answer: Sure here is our chronology before signing with Van Richter Records in
1986 Girls Under Glass were founded by Thomas LŸcke (singer), Hauke
keyboards) and Zaphor aka Volker Zacharias (guitars)
1987 first record was recorded: HUMUS For this record Dr. Fluch joined
band and played the bass guitar.
1989 Girls Under Glass supported bands such as Fields Of The Nephilim,
Lorry Yellow Lorry and were just big stars in the german
gothic-wave-scene. At this point of time the band was playing togther
two guest musicians (Marcel ZŸrcher, drummer of AbwŠrts, Schwansee,
Shanghaid Guts) and Olaf O. (Bassplayer)
1989 FLOWERS (second album was recorded). Members: Thomas LŸcke
Hauke Harms (keyboards), Axel Ermes (bassplayer). Axel joined the band
into the real band-line up. Axel and Zaphor played at this point of
parrallel in the german
cult band CANCER BARRACK
1990 Axel and Zaphor left CANCER BARRACK and concentrated on the third
singer Thomas LŸcke left the band and Zaphor take over the singers
Rodney Orpheus of
THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX produced the third GUG album called "Positive"
friendship with Zaphor. Zaphor joined in THE CASSANDRA COMPLEX studio
live-lineup and is still working together with Rodney these days. This
year was really a year of changes and
re-starts. PROJECT PITCHFORK were playing their first Gigs as support
1992 DARIUS the 4th album was recorded. This is the first record
with a real
drummer (Marcus Giltes, ex PINK TURNS BLUE). As a new guitar player
welcomed Raj Sen Gupta.
1993 CHRISTUS was recorded, also with Raj Sen Gupta plus Markus
For the following
tour Raj left the band and Girls Under Glass were working with Robert
Wilcocks of SLEEPING
DOGS WAKE & COBALT 60.
1995 CRYSTALS & STONES was recorded as a trio again (Zaphor, Axel,
The band recorded this record in their new own studio. Die Krupps did a
remix of Die Zeit, which became another big club hit in Germany). For
record the band was touring with Robert Wilcocks again. Additional
on tour were played by Tippi Agogo (musician from Vancouver and close
friend to the Legendary Pink Dots and Skinny Puppy musicians-scene)
1997 FIREWALKER was recorded. The hardest record GUG did ever. Totally
inspired by the
american industrial metal & electro music scene such as NIN, KMFDM,
Gravity Kills etc. Girls asked ex KMFDM drummer Rudi Naomi to join the
band for the tour. GUG
toured together with Deathline Int«l, an german-american-electroact.
I know most musicians don't like labelling their music but could you
please give a description of your music to those who haven't heard it
Answer: Though we are grouped in the Gothic / Darkwave subgenres in Europe and
America our sound is very unique with a signature all its own. We are a
hybred band that also incorporates Aggro and Industrial as well as 80's
wave hooks. If you are a fan of any of these genres then you will love
What are Girls Under Glass up to at the moment?
Answer: We released a great piece called "Nightmares" when we signed with Van
Richter Records in 1998. The record combines a "best of" record with
unreleased material, out of print material cover versions and new songs
capture new and old Girls Under Glass fans.
Also Van Richter Records was kind enough to remaster the whole package
everything sounds very fresh on the technology side.
Now we have a new record coming in the new year called "Frozen". Thats
right the same song done by Madonna! Also the record has a remixe by
Ich and a duet with Wolfsheim.
Hopefully this will be the record that breaks us out of the underground
the mainstream where we deserve to be.
What do you think of your label Van Richter Records so far?
Answer: They are fans of the music first before they signed us. This makes a
difference as we are one of only six bands on the roster so we are all
They are passionate about the music and what they do. By far they have
done more for us than all the European labels we were on in the past on
They have struggled right along with the bands to make this niche genre
known in a tough market. In short they are doing a great job!
Why did you, as a band consisting of only guys, choose the name Girls
Was there any thought behind the decision?
Answer: It's a name and it means...."Nothing". It has a flow and doesn't give
automatically a direction of what is behind the band. For example
Nephilim, Dark Days Of Doom, Creatures Of The Night, Blah of The Blah
all these other cliche-names are telling you straight away what's going
music-wise. I think this is boring. Girls Under Glass stands for
open-minded people that are doing open minded music. Why should I
name that implicates a certain kind of music???
I understand you weren't very happy with the way Nuclear Blast promoted
your album "Firewalker" in the US. Have you had any luck on the
market since then?
Answer: Nuclear Blast first of all is a traditional metal label. Second they
no real U.S. presence
and I understand the few people they had have now been folded into
Media as basically a license deal for the U.S. market. Even though we
on the Deathwise sublabel for one record they really never supported
either the sublabel or genre we were in to press. radio or retail. Van
Richter Records has basically had to start from scratch and as we said
already they are doing a good job for us as it is very difficult to get
known in the states even with radio, press and retail.
Your lyrics are very diverse and deals with everything from love and
death to intrigues and politics. What kind of thoughts do you have
the German society in general?
Answer: We are very much interested in life, art, communication, parties, sex,
films, work, challenges, experiences etc. Of course all of this is
us and influences our way of thinking and living. And our music is a
mirror of that.
I know the band members have studied, could you tell me a little about
Answer: Studies? Nothing significant to speak of. None of the guys have PHD's
music even though Axel has invented Midi Equipment that we use as well
he built for Die Krupps.
Are the band members involved in any other bands or projects apart from
Girls Under Glass?
Answer: Side-Projects and relatives:
Trauma (Hauke Harms and Zaphor) were founded 1993. Releases: Fractal 1
(93), Construct (95),
Phase III (99)
Cassandra Complex (Zaphor joined the band 1990 and is still playing
Cancer Barrack (close friends of GUG, Zaphor was singer of Cancer
Axel was founding member of Cancer Barrack and left the band 1990)
REC a one-off project founded by Peter Spilles of PROJECT PITCHFORK and
York Eysel of LOVE
LIKE BLOOD (Axel and Zaphor playing several instruments on several
STILL SILENT (Mindy Kumbaleks project. MINDY is keyboard player of
music act, cult in germany. Zaphor playing guitar on several tracks.
Musicians from many german bands join in the project NEFKOM (Axels
together with Markus Reinhard of WOLFSHEIM. 100% electronic music,
inspired by Kraftwerk).
Founded in 1995, two records Traum-B (Axels and Haukes Goa,
PsychedelicTrance-Project) founded in 1998, compilations and live gigs.
album out so far.
NEUSTART followupband of NEFKOM together with STALIN singer Christoph.
Crazy, weird music with even weirder lyrics that would definitely be on
censorshiplist in the USA.
Your best or funniest touring memory?
The morning when had breakfast with Gary Numan, he asked me how my
was and how the name of my band is, I told him it's Girls Under Glass
he said "great, I know you for years. You did the cover version of
In The Park" six years ago. I have two tapes full of music of your
It's brilliant"!!! I know, it sounds like a dream, but it was the
was doing promotion and marketing for the "Exile" album at that time. I
tell him that I was a big fan at the beginning unless he outed me as
singer of GUG. Luckily it didn't impress him too much.
Your worst or weirdest touring memory?
Answer: My gig with Cassandra Complex in Spain was the weirdest one. After
minutes all instruments and channels were crashed and we started a
bullfight on stage, were jumping in the audience dancing to our backing
tapes, kissing girls, getting wild. The crowd was totally into that.
was super-sexy and wild. Around six chicks were grabbing Robert
(the other guitarplayer) trying to rape him (I'm NOT kidding here). The
promoter had to stop the whole thing, because the whole situation was
close to be turn into a big group-sex-swinger-party. We were thrown
This is a
Your top five bands ever?
Answer: The Fair Sex, Paradise Lost, Type O Negative, Depeche Mode and Gary
The music industry in Germany is huge compared to most other countries.
you have any ideas about how this has happened?
Answer: Germany is the largest industrial nation in Europe. Further we have a
subculture that is strong in our country that supports underground
Also Germany has a large network of festivals that up and coming bands
can play /tour unlike the states. Therefore we have the infrustructure
place not to mention the clubs etc... that support the growth of music
both the major and independent level.
If you were to choose just one, which of your albums are you most
satisfied with and why?
Answer: "Frozen". Because it captures the best of the evolution of Girls Under
Glass in a small package
with no filler tracks, that is tight both on a musical and
Any final words you would like to tell?
Answer: Yes, buy our records! You can do so by going to our label website
Also all the latest Girls Under Glass activities are listed there as
as this interview.
You can also listen to all our music online there before you buy it.
Links of interest:
Van Richter Records