BILLYSI / Interview with Slovene Super-Starlet Urska Majdic

Fashion shootings or surrounded by zombies … Urska Majdic, lead singer of the Slovenian band BILLYSI, still looks pretty!
In a small talk she told about new projects, Slovenian artists like Maja Keuc and the difference between the West-European and the Balkan music market.

Interview: Dennis Rowehl

Photos: M. Mutic (StudioDa) / Tanja Zrinski

entertaimnet: You already released 2 albums: „Magia“ and „Bite me“. How was the feedback on the current CD so far?

Urska: Actually we released 4 albums: Modra pravljica (2001), Insomnia (2005), Magia (2007) and Bite Me (2009, 2010). So far the radio still plays mostly our old songs, which are quite more pop-rock than the newer ones. Some people prefer the old songs, some the new ones. That’s why we play gigs with mixed songs, but live everything sounds more of hard rock anyway. Bite Me got great reviews by foreign media, while some Slovene media were kinda holding a grudge for having mostly English lyrics. Anyway, the feedback on live concerts is always the best and that’s what counts mostly for us. After all, we are mainly a ‘live’ rock band.

entertaimnet: Sometimes you sing in Slovenian, sometimes in English? English definitely makes more sense in international countries, what’s better in Slovenia?

Urska: You’re right; we need to have a double repertoire; in Slovene and in English. Although some songs are done only in one of the languages and it stays that way. This means, that you can always, wherever we are, hear both languages at our full concert shows.

entertaimnet: How hard is it to schedule shows outside Slovenia? Did you already play some festivals in Germany?

Urska: We had numerous great gigs in Slovenia for the last decade, but also some outside, but we’d love to have more of those, of course. We played mostly in Austria, rarely Italy, Croatia. We’ve had a mini-tour booked for Germany through our friend agent, but sadly it somehow didn’t work out at the organizer’s side. It’s hard for a band without an agent and that’s our situation this moment. We had a period of ‘band vacation’, and now that we’re back to action, we really need an agent for foreign markets again.

entertaimnet:  Your new video is pretty cool. How important is the connection between a good video and the number of people showing up at live shows?

Urska: You mean Orion? We got some not so nice feedback on this video, I’m not sure why people don’t dig it as much. I like it, even though some say It’s a bit weird and out of context, hahaa. We’ve got many fan-made videos which proved to have quite good ideas. For example Changes. It’s a very powerful, gentle song and fan-video made it into this really cool nature video, animals running in the same direction, emphasising the lyrics of “you are never alone”. So yes, video is important, since it has to support the song itself and the band’s essence. But does it influence people as audience on live shows? Not really. We get our fans through good reputation of other gigs … People notice that we are a fun rock act with depth and sincerity, and the word spreads. 

entertaimnet: What’s a bigger challenge for you? Playing shows in Slovenia, Croatia etc. or Austria and Germany? What’s the difference?

Urska: There’s always a challenge if people will enjoy the show, if the energy of both – us and them – will be there or not. And this is the same everywhere. The only difference is that people in our country know the songs and sing along lyrics, while that doesn’t happen in other countries .. at least not yet (laughs).

entertaimnet: What are your further plans for 2012?

Urska: New songs, we’ve already began the work. We’re going to play some bigger festivals, such as Music Week and Fronta Fest, and in Fall we’ll release a new single. Also a side-project is coming up for me, I’m slowly preparing some solo stuff. Plus, perhaps a new hair-color and a new tattoo for me, hehe.

entertaimnet: A new tattoo? Awesome! There are some great Slovenian bands but most of them are not really famous outside your country, maybe except Elvis Jackson who played a whole European Tour. What is the biggest problem for domestic bands to become successful in Germany, The UK etc.?

Urska: Actually we’ve got lots of great and successful Slovenian bands, it’s crazy what a melting pot of music talents our little country is, trust me … Perhaps most known are Laibach, and then Noctiferia, Negligence, Elvis Jackson, Toronto Drug Bust, Last Day Here, London … and more. Like I said earlier, it’s important to have a good representative and a good moment, to meet the right people at the right time. And then again, not all bands aim to tour a lot, sometimes tours are only a cost burden in order to promote … not everybody is happy with that.

entertaimnet: Well, I have been officially in the Slovenian delegation at the European Song Contest 2011 to support Maja Keuc. What do you think about her debut album? Have you listened to it yet?

Urska: Really? That’s great! Maja is awesome, in whatever she does. I have to admit that I haven’t listened to her debut album yet. I heard a single from that album, and it’s sweet. I also believe that we will hear more of her in the following years, when she’ll find her direction and maybe a certain pain or passion from where the best songs usually come. I noticed with us singers and especially song-writers that a broken heart or some pain in life makes our music different; our expression gets deeper, better because of its sincerity. … I’m just saying that I think Maja’s immense talent is yet evolving and she’ll blow everybody away even more, at the right moment.

entertaimnet: Urska, thank you very much and hope to see your band in Cologne 🙂

Urska: Thank you, hi to all readers and yes, hope to play in Köln anytime soon!

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