Britta Gortz is the frontwoman of German death metal bands – Hiraes and Critical Mess. Hiraes is the evolved version of Dawn of Disease with a new singer. As a very new band, they have given fans a taste of what is to come with two singles – ‘Solitary’ and ‘Under Fire’ out via Napalm Records. With the upcoming debut album ‘Solitary’ from Hiraes, we got a look into this release through the eyes of vocalist Britta Gortz.
Hello! How are you doing?
Hi there! Thank you, I am doing fine! We are all pretty busy at the moment in the band, but with a lot of good stuff. Our promotion phase is going really well and we are rehearsing and getting ready for live shows.
That’s good to hear! Hiraes formed with the former members of Dawn of Disease, but with you as the new vocalist. How did you get involved with this project?
Our guitarist and main songwriter Lukas sent me an e-mail in the beginning of 2020. He asked me if I was generally interested in a musical project, but he didn’t go into any detail back then. I said if I like the music I am always interested. Then we talked on the phone and met online and discussed further things. We have met before on a few occasions when we played together with our bands on festivals etc. They felt like my voice and also my live performance would fit their new band very well. We wrote a first song together and had a short rehearsal to check the chemistry etc. It felt great right from the start and I am very happy to be in Hiraes!
Your debut album with Hiraes will be out on June 25th via Napalm Records. How would you describe the album’s sound since it is your first release as a band?
Harmonies and melodies are one of the central elements in our songs. We try to create music that are catchy, partly hymnlike and also have a touch of melancholy. The songs stand very well as individuals, but form a great unity within the album context. I would describe the overall sound as dense and direct. Also the people at Fascination Street Studios did an amazing job mixing and mastering this album.
I am looking forward to hearing the full album. What are you most looking forward to about this release?
We are a new band and everything is exciting at the moment. The album release is one of the things we are looking forward to a lot. Especially since our two singles that we have put out so far got super positive feedback. We hope that we will be able to present the album live very soon, but that depends of course on the overall situation. I can’t wait to get back on stage and see all those happy sweaty faces again! Hiraes is the most melodic band I have played in so far and I really enjoy it. The thing I look forward to the most is taking in the feeling of singing these melodic songs live and find myself in a new place of an otherwise well known environment.
That’s great. What is the meaning behind your latest single “Solitary”?
Hiraes formed and wrote the first album during the pandemic. The band members are spread across the northern part of Germany. So for the most part, every musician worked on the album by him- or herself, we never physically met to work on the songs together. We also recorded ourselves separately in our own studios. So it is natural that a song like Solitary would wash to the surface and even become the album title. The lyrics describe the feeling of being on your own, being alone, taking care of yourself alone and being the only one responsible for getting shit done. It can be a quite raw and at times cold feeling, but it is also a very empowering feeling. It lets you feel your own strength, your own power and proves that you can totally rely on yourself and your own abilities. Your inner voice might have known that already, but sometimes big challenges can be very intimidating.
Simple yet powerful concept – I love it. If Hiraes existed in a world without metal, what genre would you guys be?
Haha that is a good question. I would say maybe Blues, but then again I can also imagine us as an 80s Wave band with big hair and melancholic yet upbeat and quite danceable synthesizer tracks mixed with a The Smiths like guitar sound. … omg now I have images in my head hahaha. Guys, we need TO TALK!
Haha, interesting. If you could relive one moment from your career, what would that be?
Any of the “big firsts”. Holding my first album in my hands, first nightliner tour, first video shoot. The excitement paired with this absolute naiveté that goes along with it is a great feeling. Especially the naiveté is something that you an’t feel a second time. I remember sleeping in my bunk for the first time on tour thinking how many times I dreamed of doing this and how hard we had all worked to make it happen. I felt pure joy and was super proud of us as a band. That was with Cripper back then – feels like a lifetime ago.
Have you experienced sexism in the music industry and what advice would you give to those who face those situations?
Not particularly in the music industry, but I have experienced sexism in my work and private life. I don’t think that sexism is per se meant to be mean in all cases. Some people are not educated enough or didn’t have the chance to develop a sensitivity to it. Luckily I am not the quiet type and I call people out on it – not in a fighting stance, more in clarification mode. In most cases, I was not taken seriously when I did and people tried to belittle the situation. For me, that didn’t matter. What matters to me is to speak up, to not stay silent when I feel mistreated. That would be my advice – to speak up in a calm and direct manner while not expecting the other party to understand or give in. Be proud of yourself for speaking up, know you have a smart head sitting on your shoulders and 100% know that you are not wrong, just because they don’t think you’re right.
Shannon Wilk is a Connecticut-based music industry creative; bassist and photographer. She has brought her bass guitar skills to stages all over the country in various bands, most recently The Heartless and Alice Loves Alien. Dubbed the “female Rudy Sarzo”, Shannon has a unique and captivating stage presence in addition to her distinctive playing style. Since beginning her professional career in 2019, she has made waves in both the live music scene and the digital world, playing legendary stages such as the Whisky A Go-Go and the Monsters of Rock Cruise, as well as accumulating nearly 1 million views across online platforms.At 17 years old, Shannon Wilk has become a force to be reckoned with in the rock n’ roll scene. In addition to her blossoming music career, she has continued to showcase her passion for live music through concert photography. From KISS to Foo Fighters to Evanescence to Yungblud and more, Shannon has captured rock royalty through her lens. In 2018, she launched her own publication, Rockin’ Interviews, where she has connected with beloved ‘80s heavy metal artists through her independently produced podcast.