Each show is memorable for us – Interview with Ignea

Five years ago I interviewed a young up-and-coming band. Ignea from the Ukrainian capital Kiev. At that time, the musicians had only released one single (“Alga”) and one EP (“Sputnik”). I liked both of them right away. Since then, a lot has happened in the house of Ignea. Two albums were produced (“The Sign Of Faith” 2017, “The Realms Of Fire And Death” 2020). Recently, the split EP “Bestia” was released, a co-production with their long-time friends from Ersedu, also from Ukraine. On their European tour, they also made a stopover in Hamburg in 2018. And let’s not forget the record deal with Napalm Records. So, it’s time to ask how the musicians have experienced the last few years. Singer Helle Bogdanova answered my questions.

MHF: Hello, I’m Rainer and I write for Metalheads Forever Magazine. Thank you very much for answering my curious questions again. How are you?

Helle: Hey Rainer! Thanks for having us again 😊 Good memories from our Hamburg show in 2018!

We’re 50/50. Good on the musical side but we’re so hoping for the complete renewal of concerts and touring.

MHF: The first thing I noticed is that your band line-up has been stable since 2015. That’s rather unusual, especially for smaller bands. Do you have a secret recipe for this?

Helle: Yeah, we didn’t have any lineup changes since then. Although, I don’t think there’s a recipe, our band differs from many others because there are two people who are managing the band, and the rest of the band members are mostly involved in rehearsals, recordings, and live shows. It doesn’t make their contribution less, but it helps avoiding extra arguments and delayed strategic decisions for sure.

But, as the pandemic has shown us all, nothing can be certain. So, we’re glad our lineup is working, and we hope that it’ll continue this way.

MHF: In the past five years you have released two full-length albums. How was the response from the music press and fans to these two releases?

Helle: These two albums have definitely built our fanbase. Because we’ve been independent up until now, press wasn’t mostly interested in cover another small band but the word of mouth worked greatly. People simply shared our music with their friends and gradually we won hearts of people from all over the world. Of course, we also added touring and some promotion on top of that, but it was more to increase the scale.

The Realms of Fire and Death, by the way, was 100% funded by our patrons at https://www.patreon.com/helleignea.

MHF: You have been active as a band for seven years now. How has your sound developed during this time? How do your two albums differ, as there are three long years between them?

Helle: All our records have been recorded and mixed by Max Morton, so the sound quality has always been there thanks to Max’s professionalism. He knows how to make the best of us. As musicians, we have definitely mastered our skills, although there’s a lot more to pursue.

I think, the songwriting has changed, and even though all music is still being created by our keyboardist, I stepped more into bringing my vocal parts and creating concepts for our albums. Thus, our latest records — “The Realms of Fire and Death” & “BESTIA” — are concept releases, and there’s a story behind each song. Which we’ll continue doing with our future music.

I think, each new release is more well-thought as a standalone musical project.

MHF: Your latest masterpiece was released just a few weeks ago. You released the EP “Bestia” together with your compatriots Ersedu. Are you satisfied with the result?

Helle: Yes, I think that this is one of the records that you make for the sake of art. I love the mood of this EP, I think there isn’t any filler song and this is what makes this record good. Its length, artwork, vibe, – everything fits one another, in my opinion, and this is what we also heard from reviews and feedback of fans.

MHF: How difficult were the recordings for this in pandemic times?

Helle: The recordings went as usual because we always record everything one by one. Meaning, we don’t go to the studio as an entire band. But we even didn’t manage to tour with our previous record, so it brings a lot of sadness, of course. Also, I had coronavirus before recording the vocals for this record, and my breath capabilities were affected by the disease, so it didn’t make the recording process easier.

MHF: I was especially impressed by the duet, in which both singers growl in competition. In the video you can see impressive landscape shots. Where did you record the video?

Helle: Thank you! I think, our voices go together very well. The landscape that you see in the video is the Kyiv Reservoire, also called the Kyiv Sea by locals. It’s located approximately 20-30 km from Kyiv and it has a stunning nature of woods, water, sand… We wanted to show that Ukrainian mermaids (mavkas) can live in different places, so it was a perfect location.

MHF: In the press release for “Bestia” you could read that both bands have been friends for many years. When and how did you get to know each other?

Helle: ERSEDU were active 10 years ago as a band under another name and we discovered them, went to their local show, and this is how our friendship started. Seems like a century ago 😀

MHF: In 2018 you were on tour in Europe, together with the Butcher Babies, Kobra and the Lotus, Skarlett Riot and Martyrium. Five bands from five countries. What memories do you have of this time?

Helle: This is our best tour ever and the lineup was perfect. We had great time, made friends, and each show is memorable for us. If you take a look at the pages of all bands, we sometimes still repost photos from those days, and everyone has warm memories about this tour. Would love to repeat again!

MHF: You have managed yourselves for many years. Now you were able to sign a record deal with Napalm Records. Congratulations on that. How did you get in touch with the label?

Helle: The label got in touch with us, and we think that this is a good time for us to be signed, and it makes sense for the label to sign us. We hope that it’s going to be mutually beneficial for both sides. The proper work with Napalm will start from the next record that is going to be out in 2022. Stay tuned!

MHF: What do you expect from the future collaboration? Is a new album already in the making?

Helle: Yes, the new album is halfway through, and we expect to start recordings in late winter-early spring. We’ll disclose more from the writing process soon on our Patreon, and as soon as we can reveal anything more certain, with dates and stuss, in approval with the label, it’s going to be posted on all social media. Follow us there!

MHF: Thank you again for this interview. Would you like to say something to the fans at the end?

Helle: Thanks again for having us. Listen to our new record BESTIA on all streaming services or get it on CD/limited edition vinyl. Stay healthy and see you soon at the live shows!

Ignea are:

Helle Bogdanova – Vocals
Yevhenii Zhytniuk – Keyboards
Xander Kamyshin – Bass
Ivan Kholmohorov – Drums
Dmitry Vinnichenko – Guitars