Greetings brothers and sisters! Here on Metal Maidens, we will be talking with the all-female band from Slovenia, called HELLCATS. We caught up with sisters and founding members Sasha and Sonya and had a nice chat with them about what the band is up to...
Hello ladies and welcome to Metal Maidens....
"Hello and thank you for having us here!"
Please introduce yourselves to our readers and tell us about your band mates?
“We are HELLCATS, an old school heavy metal band from Slovenia. We are the first all-female metal band from this part of Europe. Sonja is a drummer, Sasha is a bass player, Valentina is a singer and Ket is a guitar player.”
Are all of you originally from Slovenia and can you tell us a little about your town and what the metal scene is like there?
“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.”
Growing up as sisters, did the two of you run around the house singing and playing air guitar and dream of someday being on stage?
“We were actually on stage from a very early age. We were performing as a duo. Sonja was playing flute and me classical guitar.”
Well, I guess that is quite a change from playing those type of instruments to what you are playing now. I really don’t see a whole lot of flute players in the metal scene, right?
“We started to learn those instruments at a very early age at music school. Sonja started to play flute at age five and me at seven. I started to play bass guitar, while I was already a guitar teacher and I was paying for my lessons with the money that I earned by teaching guitar. Sonja became fascinated by drums, when she first sat behind the drum set. Everyone had noticed her talent.”
How did the two of you decide to form a metal band?
“It was automatic.. Since we were true metal heads and into metal music from our teenage years, it was obvious. We knew exactly what we wanted: a heavy metal band!”
Was having an all-female band something you wanted from the start as well or did it just kind of happen that way?
“Having an all-female band was something we wanted right from the start. Since we were two girls already playing drums and bass guitar, it seemed best to find a female guitar player. Then one thing led to another...”
How did the other girls come to be in the band?
“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. But at the end we noticed that the biggest problem was not to find a good female guitar player as expected, but to find the right singer. From 2004 to 2008 a few guitar players and singers have been replaced, until Ket and Valentina responded to an announcement on My Space and that was that.”
What bands or musicians influenced you to want to do this?
“We all love female bands and female singers in metal. Each one of us listens to different metal bands, but we all love VIXEN and DORO.”
Do all of you still work other jobs or has the band become a full time thing for everyone?
“We wish, that the band could become a full time thing, but for now we are still working and studying. Sonja is an electro engineer, I am an architect and Valentina and Ket are students.”
Wow, intelligent, talented and beautiful... There are so few of ‘us’ in this world, right? (lol) Being all women, do your families support what you are doing or are you subjected to the unavoidable questions, that women musicians seem to always get from their families like for example "Why don't you all stop this nonsense and settle down and have a few dozen kids"? Well, I am sure you know what I mean?
“Hehe! Yeah, our mother used to say that. But as the time went by, they all just had to accept it. And now they support us.
What's your opinions on women in heavy metal today?
“We adore them. There is not many of us and we have to struggle in this mostly male world. But when you are on the stage, all that stuff and other problems are forgotten.”
I get the impression a lot of people in the music industry thought the whole ‘female movement’ in metal was just some new trend, that would fade away, but I think we all know that women in this genre are stronger than ever and the wave of new female musicians and bands is getting more extensive daily. What are your thoughts?
“We are first and for now the only all-female metal band in our country and it's not always easy. There are always some skeptics who think, that women cannot be as good of musicians as men, but through the years we became stronger and we follow our dreams no matter what other people think.”
I am sure, that all of you have female role models you have looked up to in metal music and at this point HELLCATS may be inspiring other young women to follow in your footsteps. Would you be comfortable in being a role model or mentor for young female musicians and if so, what advice would you give to them?
“We are very happy, when we see a new female guitar player or a drummer or even an all-female band. We are extremely proud, if they were inspired by us. Our advice would be that the most important thing of being in a female band is to have a good friendship, a strong will and a lot of patience.”
Rumor has it, that the band is currently in the studio recording their first CD. Will this be a demo or a full-length CD?
“Both. We are currently recording our demo CD. We have plans to release it in the summer of 2011 and than to start recording our first full-length CD.”
Can you tell us a little about the CD and what fans can expect?
“This is going to be our debut album. All songs (lyrics & music) were written by Sasha & Sonja. We are recording in Studio Conti here in Ljubljana with producer Davor Kontic. You can expect some pure old school heavy metal with positive lyrics and a heavy guitar sound in two languages (Slovene & English).”
How does the recording and writing process work with the band. Does everyone have a say?
“We all record by our self. Valentina records main vocals, Sonja drums, Ket guitar, me bass guitar and Sonja & me also record backing vocals. Sonja and I write all of the lyrics and music and also do the arrangements.”
Your single "Heavy Metal" is a pretty straight forward metal tune. Would you say the rest of the CD is in that same kind of vibe?
“That’s right. The sound of the rest of the CD will be thick, massive, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos and emphatic beats. The songs differ a little, but the sound and the style stay the same.”
Since at this time you only have the one song out, what other tunes do you play live and are there some cover songs, that the band prefers to play?
“We play mostly original songs and of course some cover songs (AC/DC, PANTERA, VIXEN, etc.…).”
Can we expect a tour with the new CD release and any idea where you will be playing?
“Our biggest wish is to tour in Europe first and then go to the USA.”
If the band had a dream tour, what bands or musicians would you love to share the stage with?
“MOTLEY CRUE, IRON MAIDEN, METALLICA, AC/DC, PANTERA (a big dream) and many more.”
Where do each of you see this band in the next five to ten years from now?
“Touring and performing on big stages and to be more and more successful every year and to have more and more fans.”
Where can potential new fans find out more about the band?
“Here are some links: http://www.hellcats.eu; http://www.myspace.com/hellcats; http://www.facebook.com/hellcats.eu.”
Well ladies, is there any thing at all you would like to add to your interview?
“We would like to thank you for this comprehensive interview. See you guys soon! Metal on!”
On behalf of myself and Metal Maidens, we want to thank you for spending time with us today. I think this band has the talent, the looks and the attitude to become a major force in the metal scene for many years to come. We wish the band all of the best and hope to see you play live someday soon. Horns way up brothers and sisters, Nick Rohm.
Visit their offical site at: www.hellcats.eu
Or go to their My Space site at: www.myspace.com/hellcats
or Facebook at: www.facebook.com/hellcats.eu