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An Interview with Hellcats


Hellcats are one of the acts who will be performing at Dirty Rotten Tequila Festival at Carfax in Johannesburg next weekend. These Hades Felines (what they would be called if their fanbase were into Greek mythology) have been tearing things up in the SA Music Scene over the last few years and have never really bored rock fans with their energetic live performances.

They are part of an amazing line-up (which includes FuzigishRaygun Royale, The Tazers, Shadowclub and a few other bands) and their set promises to be one of the highlights of Dirty Rotten Tequila Festival.

I recently had a chat to Warwick Rautenbach (the guitarist in the two-piece band). This is what he had to say:

Hellcats have performed at Arcade Empire, Park Acoustics, Mieliepop, Oppikoppi and even opened for Incubus. This band is obviously going places! You’re up to play at the Dirty Rotten Tequila Festival happening at Carfax, Newtown – Jozi on the 21st April. Tell us if you’ll be delivering anything new we can look forward to.

We’ll be delivering a child. A two headed, six eyed, demonic, zombie feline child. We’ll also be playing 2 new tracks which we’ve been fingering for the past couple weeks, so that should be a vaaib.

We’ve been told by you that your perfect balance drinks are 2 beers and a tequila before shows. Will you be indulging in a bit more at the Dirty Rotten Tequila Festival, it being a tequila festival and all?

So, the last time Alessandro and I played Dirty Rotten Tequila Festival, we were in our previous band. We had like a 13:00 slot so we pretty much spent the rest of the day drinking tequila out the bottle. That was all well and good but the problem was that we had another gig that night. Yussis, did that go fucking kak. Anyway, this time we plan to keep it together long enough to play the set, but after that, the wheels come off. Actually who are we kidding, the wheels will start coming off during the set.

Tell us about the two gigs you did at Mieliepop. It was unexpected. What happened? (We loved it, by the way!)

It was unexpected. This is how unexpected it was : After a loooooong day of day drinking which started at 9 AM in the Hellcats camp, I was in my tent in my underpants about to down a substance (which would have put me on my arse) when Alessandro and a crew of people busted in and told me we had 10 minutes to get to the stage to play a Friday night, 19:30, main stage headlining slot.

There was about 5 minutes of me arguing with Al and calling him a lying P because he’s always pulling shit like that. But then once he had told me that Femi Koya’s whole band couldn’t get into the festival grounds because of all the rain and the mud, it hit home and I realized we had to go fuck the whole of Mieliepop in the ear hole.

What followed was one of our best gigs to date. It seemed like the whole festival came alive after a really rainy, muddy day. The crowd was amazing and we had such a huge fucking jol. As for the night after (the night we were actually supposed to play), that was rad too, although we were super hungover and Al had lost his voice from giving it all the night before, but fuck we manned the fuck up and had a great time.

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You mentioned in a previous interview with us that you were planning to release an album – on vinyl nogal. What is happening with that? Your fans are anxiously waiting!

Ja, we’ve written about 20 new tracks and are on the cusp of getting into studio. We’re not sure yet what to do with them yet – by that I mean release a full album or a bunch of EP’s. But we have new music, lots of it. So mense moet maar net vas byt, man.

Hellcats is a name that is floating around many conversations lately. How do you guys feel about this sudden hop, skip and jump to South African fame?

Jurrre man, I don’t know about the fame illusion, but I’ll tell you this – it’s fucking rad to play lots of great line-ups with great bands and get onto lots of dope festival bills. Being able to play our music to new faces on a regular basis, is our whole jam, and we are fucking grateful for how lucky we’ve been.

Lastly, what are your plans for live shows at festivals/venues for the rest of the year? We want to ensure these are scribbled into our diaries so as not to miss you guys even once!

We have a busy April – we have a Cape Town tour which comprises of Stellies Bohemia and Aces on 12 & 13 April, then we jol DTRF on the 21st which we are the MOST amped for – jisss. Then we are playing Harley Davidson Africa Bike Week in East London the week after. Other than that we have a bunch of other rad shows BUT we’ve just found out we’re playing OppiKoppi in August which we are super lus for. Keep an eye on Fakebook – all our dates are up there.

I’d like to thank Warwick and Hellcats for this interview and I wish them all of the best with their upcoming shows and musical adventures.

Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.

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