From knowing nothing about the Slovenian metal scene to slowly getting to know it in a few bands. HELLCATS has been kind enough to enlighten me some more about an otherwise blank spot on the metal map. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
With so many different styles of hardrock/metal what is it that makes you choose the particular style you play?
-We are an old school heavy metal band from Slovenia. We are the first all-female metal band from this part of Europe and for now still the only one in this country. Sonja is a drummer, I am a bass player, Zala is our vocalist and Ket is a guitar player. Sonja and me were true metal heads and into metal music from our teenage years. There was numerous of thrash and heavy metal bands that had a big influence on both of us. Our favorite bands are Pantera, Judas Priest, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Sepultura, Warlock, Iron Maiden, Metallica and many more. We grew up with them. They helped us to become who we are today. Since we were the two girls already playing drums and bass guitar, it seemed best to find a female guitar player. Then one thing led to another. We knew exactly what we wanted right from the start: an all-female heavy metal band!
The name Hellcats manage to combine femininity with the attitude of metal. How hard was it to come up with the name and what does it mean to you?
-We were looking for the name for quite a long time. Then the name came out by our good friend who is a musician who knows an awful lot about airplanes. He named us after The Grumman F6F Hellcat, a carrier-based fighter aircraft. But for us the name means much more than just an airplane. Yes, we could say feminine infernal power combined with the attitude of metal.
It’s been over 20 years since Communism fell to the ground all over Europe but still countries like yours appear exotic to a metal audience. Why don’t we hear more from Slovenian metal bands??
-We all live in Ljubljana, which is the capital of Slovenia. Slovenia is quite well developed, when it comes to metal. We have a festival, called Metalcamp in Tolmin [http://www.metalcamp.com/], which is one of the biggest metal festivals in Europe. It has delivered a respectable contribution to our metal scene over the years. We also have quite a few metal bands for the country with only 2 million inhabitants.
What kind of music culture do we find in Slovenia? To my ears it seems like it is much folk music and people in folk costumes dancing and Eurovision/Eurodisco music.
-Hehe, yes. The music of Slovenia is closely related to Austrian and Northern Italian music, and in some southern regions to Croatian (especially Istrian). Polka, waltz or pop music mixed with some Mediterranean stuff.
How big is the interest in a native metal band? Do people show more interest in international bands than they do their home grown bands?
-It could be better. In our case yes. Sometimes the responses to our show and our music is better when we perform outside Slovenia. We released our EP this summer and we sell more albums to our fans from other countries than here. But I have to say that we have many shows in Slovenia too and we have many people who support us here as well.
When you look for a record label to release your music where and what are looking for?
-We haven’t been actively looking for a label yet, but we hope that somebody is looking for us 🙂
How hard do you find it is to reach out to the rest of Europe and the World? Are the former Yugoslavian countries still met with skepticism when it comes to quality metal?
-I think that it is not hard. We don’t have that problem. Internet helps too. Facebook, Youtube…If you have a goal, a passion for doing it, if you do a good job with your promotion and write good songs and if you are unique, all doors are open for you.
In today’s globalization we see bands not singing in English making it big worldwide. Is the language you sing in of less importance today than it used to be?
-Our lyrics are written in both languages, English and Slovene. When we are composing the songs and writing lyrics, we always let our emotions lead us. The language is not important for us. Sometimes is easier to express feelings in English and sometimes in Slovene. We don’t bother about that. Our first single “Heavy Metal” is in Slovene language and it became a big success among metalheads all over the world.
I know very little about Slovenia. What does the general Slovene think of bands playing heavy metal/ metalheads?
-Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe, touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. It is known as the »sunny side of alps«. Slovenia borders Italy on the west, Croatia on the south and east, Hungary on the northeast, and Austria on the north, and also has a small portion of coastline along the Adriatic Sea. The most popular bands in Slovenia are pop and folk bands. Metal is a subculture here. The general Slovene doesn’t pay attention to bands playing heavy metal. The general Slovene loves pop and folk music. There are exceptions, of course.
I know nothing about group dynamics in a band. How hard is it for one person to accept responsibility for the band going forward and get the other three to follow suit?
-When me and my sister Sonja formed Hellcats a few years back, we had many auditions for the singer and the guitar player. It wasn’t easy to find female musicians in a country, that has only two million inhabitants. When we were forming this band and looking for the right members, we were careful about many things. During our auditions, we were not only trying to find the right musicians, but we were also looking for good personalities to get along with and to become friends with as well. We think this is very important for female bands, because girls like to chat more than guys. We are lucky to have found that. When it comes to recording. We all record by our self. Our singer records main vocals, Sonja drums, Ket guitar, me bass guitar and Sonja & me also record backing vocals. We are currently working on a full length CD and planning to release it in 2012. Sonja and I wrote all of the lyrics and music. It’s not hard for us to keep the band going forward, actually we enjoy doing it very much. “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
What kind of future do you envision for Hellcats?
-We are going to a Russian tour in March. We will be headliners on their biggest festival of female bands: http://www.rockaluga.ru. We will perform in many cities we haven’t visited yet: Moskow, Kaluga, Tula… In the next five to ten years from now we see Hellcats touring and performing on big stages and to be more and more successful every year and to have more and more fans. Our biggest wish is to tour the Europe first and then go to the USA.