I interviewed sisters Sasha & Sonja Zagorc about their all female heavy metal rock band, Hellcats, all the way from Slovenia… here’s what they had to say..
Q: So one of the biggest accolades of the band is that you are the first female rock metal band from Slovenia. What reception does the band get when you are performing in your country?
Sonja: With some people is easier, with some not. We had some bad experiences at one festival we performed, that they did not want to help us with equipment, but they helped other male bands. They were rude to us and said, “Let your fans help you!” Usually, we meet people who treat us good. It is not easy to form a female band, especially in the country of 2 million people. There are not a lot of girls who play instruments such as drums, electrical guitar and bass. We are the first and still only all-female metal band in our country and it was not always easy. We have a lot of supporters but in the past there were some skeptics who thought that women can’t be as good musicians as men. We are proving that they were wrong. But sometimes you can still find some skeptics among metal people here. Rockers are more enthusiastic about everything we do. But as we can see, things are getting better in Europe, there is many more female musicians and our supporters, especially in the northern countries.
Q: Hellcats’ original members are sisters Sonja and Sasha Zagorc.. when did both of you become interested in performing Metal? And how easy was it find other members of the band in Slovenia, that also happen to play metal music? Who are the current members of the band?
Sasha: We started to perform together in early childhood when we were still in music school. I played classical guitar and Sonja flute. Later on Sonja switched to drums and I switched to bass guitar. We started searching for the other band members in 2003, but we needed some time to make the realization of it and in 2006, we had our first gig and that was the real start for us. Due to the small size of Slovenian music space, it wasn’t easy to find female musicians, especially in rock and metal music. But we never gave up and the main thing, besides we are sisters, we are best friends. We are motivating each other and always listening to each other & talk about everything we do. Our current line up besides Sonya and me is: Karmen Klinc on vocals and Aleksandra Stamenkovic on guitar. Since Aleksandra lives in Serbia, which is far away and cannot come often to Ljubljana, another guitarist, Stasa Zadravec steps in.
Q: Of course I need to ask this..1 out of 200 people in Slovenia are beekeepers. Is that really a big part of your culture? I’m not a fan of bees, I usually am running away from them.
Sonja: Yes, it is true. Slovenia is a country of apiaries, bees and beekeepers, as they are part of the Slovenian culture and a way of life. Sasha and I actually lived by one apiary source our neighbor was a beekeeper. Slovenians wish to remind the global public that bees are vital for the provision of food security, biodiversity conservation and protection of the natural environment.
Q: Who are some of the band’s biggest musical influences?
A: AC/DC, Judas Priest, Pantera, Rock Goddess, Metallica, Iron Maiden, KISS, Doro and many more.
Q: When not playing music, what do each of you do for downtime/fun?
Sonja: Since I am a dance teacher, I have a group of people that meet every week and learn how to dance, so even Sasha and Karmen dance in my group. When not working, playing, dancing and spending time with our families, we like to hang out with our friends from the music industry with whom we connect the most.
Sasha: Whenever I can, I go to the seaside and enjoy sailing in a small sailboat.
Q: COVID-19 has really hit the music industry pretty hard with some small independent venues closing in the US, what has it been like in a Slovenia regarding how it has been fetching musicians’ livelihoods?
Sasha: In Slovenia, it is the same. COVID-19 has really affected musicians & everyone in the music industry. Big events are cancelled all the time and we just hope all this will end ASAP so it will not affect the music industry long term.
Q: The band has 2 albums: Divja Pot released in 2013 & Warrior Princess released in 2024 & a single Naprej in 2016. After listening to both albums, am I correct in saying that Warrior a princess is the English version of the 2013 album? Do you prefer singing in your native language or in English?
Sonja: When we started to create songs, we had some songs in Slovenian and some in English. Since we have a lot of fans here and in other countries, we decided to make everything in both languages. It became important to us to be able to create music in the Slovenian language and show it to the world. We are proud to have our own language since we are a small nation. Some fans prefer English, some Slovene. The meaning of the songs in both languages are the same. Slovene version of our album, “Divja pot” was released on October ‘13 in Ljubljana (Slovenia), English one “Warrior Princess” in ‘14 in Milan, Italy where we were on tour. We also do videos in both languages and we intend to continue doing it. The new album will also be in both languages. We like to perform in both languages as well. Every language has its own magic and people have accepted them both. Our first release was actually the EP Hellcats in 2011 and it sold out almost immediately.
Q: When can your fans expect to see an album? And where can they find your music on social media?
Awesome!! Thanks to both of you for speaking with me and can’t wait to hear the new album!!
Some interviews coming up with Tik Tok Star Callum Lacey, Overcoats, Fulton Lee and many more, If you would like your new music promoted or would like an interview, send me a message through my a Instagram @Music_Stylist or send me an email through IG as well.
Until next time, I am Your Music Stylist – Linda Dias.