Volker Zarcharias (Girls Under Glass)
by Jett Black
Who are current members of Girls Under
Glass and what roles does each perform?
Volker is the singer, guitar player and main songwriter,
Axel plays guitars and produces, Hauke is the electronic expert and is doing
Describe some of the creative techniques used to achieve
specific aspects of Girls Under Glass recordings.
Hauke found his own midi-to-data-converter, called the Mac
Harms-16. In the german high-tech-press this thing was announced as the best of
its type. So people from Die Krupps, Klaus Schulze and other VIP-musiscians
bought this. Hauke is a real crack. Apart from that we use very normal
equipment. We own more than 25 synthesizers (old analog stuff as moog) and lots
of new shit. We use special-built guitars (Sirius guitars and basses, I have 2
unique special versions of a Sirius guitar and a Sirius alien slam bass). You
might remember Sasha Konietzko's (KMFDM) machine-gun-bass. That was also a
Sirius. And G|nther from Ministry plays a Sirius as well. But everybody has his
own very unique model.
Describe some of the processes involved in composing and
We press a button on the synth and like virtual magic a
sound comes out of the machine. It's that simple. And we try out several sounds
until we have one that we like. That's it. The whole song and the voice makes
the atmosphere and the soundscape. It's a natural thing. It's just a 1:1 copy
of our emotion played by instruments and packed together in a nice 4
What changes in the music industry have caught your
attention most during the '90s?
Things became more and more professional and better
organized. For us nothing changed music-industry wise because we always stayed
with small independent labels instead of changing to major-companies. The
so-called independents became much more influential and professional. So these
days any tiny label can do a no.1 hit in Germany. That's justice, or what?
When not completely focused upon Girls Under Glass, what
do you do to support yourself?
I play music with Trauma (that's definitely dark!!!) and
Cassandra Complex. Apart from that I work for the music industry and do
marketing for bands.
In what ways will Girls Under Glass live performances
differ from its recordings?
Its much more aggressive and loaded with emotions. And we
decide about the loudness, not the customer. That's a good thing because I
think sometimes you have to feel music physically to leave a certain
impression. That's cool. We still love to play!
Please describe the themes employed on recordings by
Girls Under Glass.
Most of the lyrics are very personal. It's like self-therapy
for me. In the earlier years I was less concentrating on myself and therefore I
reflected more social stuff. Every thing that pissed me of was written down on
a paper and I used it for the music. Nowadays I reflect more things that are in
my head, in my heart. So lyrics become more personal. It can be about love,
about loosing somebody, about inner-balance, about feelings, thoughts,
experiences...anything...the mind is an unlimited creative pool.
What would you like to accomplish through Girls Under
Glass into the dawning of the new millennium?
What happens happens.
What other recordings, outside of Girls Under Glass, have
been released by its band members? What other side projects are currently being
As I said before me and Hauke are Trauma, Axel is playing
with a Wolfsheim-guy and they have their band called Neustart. Axel is also
sound-engineer for bands like VNV Nation, Covenant. So we are all more or less
deeply involved in other bands and generally in music. Yes, and of course I am
playing guitar for Cassandra Complex since 1990 and we just finished a new
album called Wetware.
What will you entitle the next release by Girls Under
Glass and when will it be available? Who will be distributing your next
I have no idea. First of all we released a new EP in the
states via Van Richter called Frozen...yes the Madonna song, which is
our US-label. And Van Richter still thinks about releasing the latest album
Equilibrium in the states as well. Hopefully that happens sometimes in
2000. Meanwhile we will work on a new album that might be ready in the late
autumn this year and after that we will see
Any re-mixes from previous releases?
They are on the Frozen EP!
Where else might readers find releases by Girls Under
Glass available for purchase?
In Germany! And of course you can find nearly anything you
look for in the net. That's the way the music-business will develop. Tracks on
command, Internet label, MP3 charts and so on. We are already there...through
the Van Richter website http://www.vanrichter.net. So go there and they will
organize anything for you you wish to have.
What are you looking for now in terms of new musical
We influence mostly ourselves these days. Everybody has made
more than 20 records with several bands in his life so the question of new
terms is just a question of progression. We can't decide about this before we
just do it. Of course we try to make a masterpiece of a record. But who
knows...we just have to start at the right time, with the right people and
right ideas. And nobody can plan this. It's just there and than you have to
take the chance.
Which shows have you seen during the past year that
impressed you the most?
Nine Inch Nails in Berlin was great, Skunk Anansie was
awesome, Tea Party was great as well... hmm I think that's about it. They were
the killers of the year.
Looking back, what mile-stones have been most notable for
Girls Under Glass?
Every record is a milestone on its own. Many good things and
many bad things happened since 1986, but there is nothing that impressed us
What particular interests might you explore along the
route of this next tour, if opportunity permits?
What new opportunities would you seek and develop to
advance the music of Girls Under Glass?
We work with different guest musicians and had very good
experiences with working that kind of way. That's our way to get fresh impulses
and influences in our music. Therefore we never needed a producer. Every
GUG-album is 100% our own baby, from songwriting to production and mixing. We
will introduce some new people we will work together with for the next record.
It will be a bit more acoustic again (less electronic). We might use some
tribal instruments (African drums) and we will work with real violins. That
will give new aspects to our normal electronic-based sound.
What changes have been made in Girls Under Glass during
the last year?
Last year we only gave four concerts. The only change was
that for the first time we were seven people on stage, because we wanted to
have a real big, huge sound. It was good. So we got a new band-feeling. That's
why we will integrate more other musicians for the next record.
Where will you be traveling during the course of your
No idea. We don't do the booking. We prefer to concentrate
on bigger festivals than playing one club show after the other. For 2000 we
have no concert-plans at all.
What new goals will you focus upon now?
No idea. We just do another record and see how it is.
Hopefully it will be the best one.
How can music enthusiasts best contact Girls Under Glass
for more information?
The should send a mail to: email@example.com Van Richter
does a great job answering all communications for us. Also visit their website
at http://www.vanrichter.net for all GUG information and updates.