The interview with THE BIGGEST Slovenian Rock’n’roll star TILEN HUDRAP was held on 1 February 2024. If I had to sum up everything I heard over several occasions we have met, it would be that my first impression was (which stick and remained true):
“WAU! You are like the nicest person I’ve ever met!”
My brain backflipped, as no one expects a big star (in any music genre) to be so nice and approachable.
This turned out to be an unbelievably inspiring interview with an incredible person which possesses incredible amounts of passion, strength and modesty necessary to keep all in perfect balance.
Tilen Hudrap is a bass player who play(ed) with Pestilence, U.D.O, Testament, Doro, Vicious Rumors, NorthTale, Thraw and others.

Q: Impressions from the latest tour in Asia with NorthTale?
It was really crazy and unbelievable, all that I expected in Japan turned out to be true. Japan was pure perfection! Organisation- perfect, fans- blew my mind perfectly, accommodation and all other aspects were perfect and I believe its always like that in Japan. They have it all arranged in perfect order, order and perfection. Fans are completely unbelievable as they go totally insane in between the songs, but during all songs performances you get complete silence, total silence. It was totally weird, but I knew that beforehand, it was just strange experiencing it. All the cities in Japan were pure perfection.
Afterwards we went to China and it was completely “a different world of its own”. Economic situation, people seemed very distant, the atmosphere was weird, all was under constant surveillance and I believe it worse than anything you might think to gather info only from our media. It was insane and we had to have a visa for every province we went to as every city on our tour was in another province. It was insane paperwork around all those visas. But, again the concerts were something out of this world! Turn out to concerts were really great and interestingly, there were more women than men attending the concerts!! It was the biggest surprise ever!
All the places in China were great and the highlight was the MIDI Festival where we played as the only band from the west. There were 70.000 people there and we recorded that for a DVD and once again it was out of this world experience! We were the first metal band from the west which played in China after the corona lockdown! First! Before anyone else!! I believe it will be remembered as a historically important moment! And we were almost the first foreign band ever, as just one week before us there was the performance of Mr Big.


NorthTale at MIDI FESTIVAL, China in front 70.000 fans

Those are the kind of people that make Metal live on!


Q: WAU! I’m sure it was the most fired up feedback from the audience ever!
Yes, it was crazy as they were expecting and hoping for that moment for 4 years. It was crazy! And all the musicians that come to Japan feel that you are treated like a God, as long as you are foreign and known musician you are like a God to them! And that was too good and extraordinary to experience!
Q: This is all so interesting as I always want to know more and especially I’d like to know what was the craziest mentality of the audience you ever experienced? You performed world wide and have all kinds of experiences? Of course, the Japan experience was crazy, but maybe some others were also extreme surprises?
Always Latin America, always!! All states, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Columbia and all others- they were all crazy: Fans go insane and they cry when they see their favourite band live!! Always, when I was there with Vicious Rumors, Pestilence or U.D.O.- those were incredible and indescribable experiences.
And 2 states that are not in South America are Mexico and Costa Rica. In Costa Rica people were in tents 3-4 days before the concert for a solo gig of Pestilence, and they were just lying there on concrete not on grass. Those are the kind of people that make Metal lives on!
Q: In all the Live albums you can feel and experience the pure passion the audience has!
Yes, all the live tracks from South America from Iron Maiden and many more…but when it is you that is playing there- it’s exactly the same. And that was my biggest dream, to play in South America once. And I played there many times and it was always great and beyond great!

Tilen on stage headlining Alcatraz Metal Fest with Saxon, Emperor and Nightwish/34.000 people

All my dreams became reality!!

Q: What are your other dreams? Something you have on a bucket list? A band to play with or festival to play at?
Nothing. All bucket list items have been checked out as done!! Not one single thing left. The bands I played at, such as U.D.O, Vicious Rumors, Testament and many others- I listened to them growing up and had their posters on my walls. I had posters and listened to all the bands I later on turned out to play with them! It is truly out of this world and mind-blowing. My biggest dream was to: play a USA tour- done, To play in Rio de Janeiro- done, to play as headline or co-headline at Wacken- done: with Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate on the main stage for 93.000 people. To play in one legendary international band- I’ve played in 7 bands. To have an endorsement from a worldwide renowned company- I have it from: Spector basses. So, nothing left. But of course, I can’t say I want to play in Iron Maiden as Steve Harris is irreplaceable. So I will not wish for that. But all others came true and I could not foresee that even in my wildest dreams!
Q: Ohh, I see, so you signed the contract with the Devil?
Hahahahaha:) No, I haven’t made a pact with the devil. All of it was pure law of attraction. I have projected all my wishes into realisation from when I was a little kid. And I didn’t only have 100% determination and faith that all I want will happen, I had 1000% of faith and belief it will. And all my wishes came true!
Q: When you talk about determination, what is your advice to young artists struggling right now? What is the formula for success? Talent, practice, luck…what is needed?
All, all of that is needed. But the first thing is that you NEVER believe people who say something is not possible- don’t believe them! Those are the people you have to say to: fuck off. Then, you have to have extremely powerful self-belief and it’s not arrogance, but self-belief and self-respect and that you believe in your own abilities. You have to recognise your own abilities and then strongly believe in them and then expand them, firstly in your head and then in all of your surroundings. And that will lead to manifestation and realisation of your desires. At that point all is possible. Nothing is impossible, all is possible- if you believe that: all can be achieved!
Furthermore, do not give all attention to social media and YouTube. People must work on themselves and practice and make contacts. Physical contacts, go to festivals, concerts, meet and talk with people and let others have the opportunity to meet you and feel that you have charisma, talent or something special- then, again, all is possible. That is very important, to discover a special “X factor” which is something others don’t have. That’s a receipt for success!

I’m just a regular guy, I’m Tilen and that’s all

Q: What are the downsides of becoming famous, what is the real burden of fame and what about ego, does it start to become overly inflated?
Yes, ego can grow outside propositions, but I have a big ego only on stage. I always have a strict difference. When I’m off stage: I’m just a regular guy, I’m Tilen and that’s all. When you are on stage: you have to have a big ego as people don’t want to see their neighbour on stage, they want to see a Superhero! Something they don’t see every day except when they see their Superhero on stage. That is something that every star musician has to divide. Those 2 personalities. That’s very important.
Downsides in my case are that I played in too many bands and I experienced a burn out. If I was to go into the past that is the only thing that I would change. All the bands called me and I didn’t know how to say: “no” out of respect as those were the bands I loved and admired.
Regarding fame and being famous, only 1 thing I noticed is that Croatia has better media coverage of rock and hard rock bands and your stars get prime TV time, but in Slovenia it’s not like that. In Slovenia there is not enough recognition for some very good rock and hard rock musicians.
Q: Your musical evolution. You have played in a very large number of bands. How did it evolve and what is it that you love the most at this moment?
Yes, in Metal I have played basically all, Death, Thrash, Symphonic, Speed, Heavy and all other genres. But the other side of me is that I’m a huge fan of jazz, Fusion jazz, Electric jazz and artists like: Chick Corea, Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola and others. And all other genres as well. Yes, I listen to all other genres. The only genre that is unbearable is the Balkan folk music. All other genres I listen to because of my evolution. I don’t consider myself as a metal musician, I consider myself to be a musician and that’s it. That is why I want to know all possible genres, from: ethno to classical, blues, electronic, synthwave to all there is. I listen to all of it and many of it is just great to me!
For my practice: I play Fusion jazz, which is my main thing, apart from metal. And where do I see myself? My musical evolution is completely spontaneous. There is no plan. I go with the flow. There is no general master plan for new 5 years e.g. It’s easy going and I go with the flow:)

Q: How difficult is it to be creative and original nowadays? You listen to a lot of genres; do you distance yourself sometimes in order to feel that you are not influenced when creating your own stuff?
When I create my own music, the first thing is that I never compose on the bass guitar. I always use my old, acoustic guitar that I used when I started playing 25 years ago. And yes, on days I create my own music: I don’t listen to anything else so I try to stay out of influence and try to concentrate on the idea I have. When I create, the first thing is that I always write the lyrics and afterwards I build on that and explore the vibe of the overall song. So, I try to transfer the story from the lyrics into music. That’s my way, for forever now. I never start on bass guitar. Every day I play the drums, electrical guitar, acoustical guitar and my clarinet. I play the bass exclusively only before the tour, when I need to practice to perfection. Many people are surprised by that, heheheh:)
Q: So now for the tough question. What is your most favourite concert you ever had? If you had to choose one concert for a reason it turned out great?
Yes, impossible question. Really impossible question.
Probably the main stage Wacken with Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest. The atmosphere and the feeling were incredible. It was really hard to choose but Wacken was really special.

I never warm up; I run to stage and it’s fucking showtime!

Q: Do you have a special ritual or a special object you must have before the concerts or on tours?
For every concert I ever played: my totem: circle of life is always with me. It’s visible in all my photos, I always have it. That’s the first; as for the second: I always wear my two rings.
Apart from that, before I came to U.D.O. I have always worn the same wristbands. I have put them into retirement as they were with me on about 700 gigs.
Ritual is that I never warm up. The roadies always come up to me and ask: “Tilen, wanna warm up here’s the guitar?”. No, never, I don’t want to warm up. Never. Warm up is the first song and that is the ritual for me. All other band members want to play before the show as a warm up, but my ritual is: no warmup, when I go on stage that’s the fucking showtime and that’s it.
Q: So you came on stage explosively and start explosively?
I don’t want to know what will happen. I want the surprise, as well as the audience. So, it’s a more spontaneous surprise for them and for me. Maybe Ill fuck up the first tone but I don’t give a fuck!
Q: YES:)))) But, you will have THE ENTRANCE. The kind you want!
Yes! And that’s rock’n’roll. Nowadays, everything is becoming too sterile. Heavy metal is like rock’n’roll, it’s not Wagner or classical music, we need more spontaneous moves. I’m fighting against it!
Q: Planes for the future?
EU tour with NorthTale and Leaves’ Eyes in March and April. And exclusively I announce that this year, on my incentive we will be doing a 45 anniversary of the legendary band POMARANČA. They were the first Slovenian metal band of all time and one of the most important metal bands from the whole of former Yugoslavia. It will be published very soon and the date is 6 June 2024 in Kino Šiška, Ljubljana and we are inviting all fans to come to this concert as it’s gonna be legendary and unforgettable.
Thank you so much
Thank you, this has been great!

Photo credit (cover photo): Lukasz Urbanik

The interview has been conducted by PH-Pit representative: Kristina Hećimović.

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