About Me

Interview with Ignea

“Once upon a time…,” could be the introduction for this album, shaped like a fairy tale. Helle Bogdanova, vocalist and Evgeny Zhytnyuk, keyboardist, talked with Metal Imperium about the pleasure about recording “The Realms Of Fire And Death”, the new album, its curiosities and many more. Let’s get to know them!

M.I. -  Could you introduce yourself, tell us what you do in the band and a bit of Ignea’s history, please? And what are your influences?

Helle  - Sure! I’m Helle, the vocalist of IGNEA. I do all the vocal parts, most of the lyrics, and all the management and promotional tasks at the band. Evgeny, the keyboardist, is in charge of music and, thereby, the direction of the band’s development from the musical perspective. He also was the one who founded the band in 2011. However, its active development started in 2013, which also was the release of our first EP “Sputnik”. Then, we changed the title to IGNEA, changed our music, and released a full-length album “The Sign of Faith”, a couple of singles, videos, and are about to release our new album “The Realms of Fire and Death”. Even though we’re an independent DIY band, we managed to tour Europe a couple of times with some awesome bands including Butcher Babies, Kobra and the Lotus, and Illdisposed, and gather quite a massive online following. Our biggest achievement, in our opinion, is the bond with our listeners who support us all over the world. You can’t buy that!

M.I. -  You’ve started under the name Parallax and then changed it to Ignea. Why the change? I know that Ignea is “fire” in Latin.

Helle  - It’s simple: there were over 60 bands titled Parallax, and we started crystallizing our own music. It was just a perfect time to find a more suitable name to our music. IGNEA means flaming or burning. Our music can sound as a small candle fire and as a disastrous flame wiping out everything it touches. The balance between melody and brutality is what we eventually came up with, and we think we found a match with the name IGNEA.

M.I. -  With “The Realms Of Fire And Death”, you’ve created a more modern sound, mixing heavy riffs with symphonic, electronic, folk elements, medieval sound, that results in a powerful and majestic sound. Where did you get the inspiration for the music? And the lyrics? 

Evgeny - It's all over the place. Sometimes a melody or a riff strikes you when you are trying to sleep, the other time you just fiddle with changes to another one to get it right. Lots of musical styles and bands are inspirational, too, and this ranges from Turkish pop music to symphonic black metal, from Amorphis to Altın Gün. But usually the mindset plays the biggest role. For instance, the main melody for Disenchantment was hummed on iPhone voice recorder during a midnight party after playing a festival, so you can even call playing live a sufficient inspiration for new songs. 
Helle  - As for the lyrics, I get inspired by lots of stuff, but I get most inspiration from travelling, seeing new places, reading books and just imagining things in my head when listening to the music Evgeny writes.

M.I. -  It is divided in three major parts, each consisting of 3 songs: Part I – Queen Lives, where the wizard tells her that on the night of the full moon he had a dreadful vision: the Queen would be killed by a twin. Part II – Fired, her soul wandered in the mist, the heavy substance of no light and no darkness and Part III – No Smoke Without A Fire - The Earth was covered with cold and dusk, and people felt fear. What inspired you to write an album like this? Was it challenging?

Helle  - I guess, I’ll put answer to both these questions at once. The concept of the album came out naturally as I was putting down the lyrics to the music Evgeny wrote. I thought it would be cool to accompany it with a book of tiny stories (which can be bought in our store along with the album) and make it more than just music. This album was harder to make than anything we did before, but the process was also more exciting, challenging, and captivating. There are no words to express that!

M.I. -  The songs of each part are outlining a certain separate story, bringing the themes of fire and death from various perspectives. Why is that?

Helle  - As said, IGNEA means flaming, and I was also always captivated by fire, I even did fire spinning back in the teenage days. And it was only a matter of time for us to choose this topic as the center of the release.

M.I. -  The melodic part in the new album is executed using various synths and electronic sounds. Who plays them? How did the idea of using them come up?

Evgeny - I played all of them on the recording. I have always been fascinated by those mysterious boxes with knobs that make sounds and getting my hands on them still thrills me. And, besides, having a synthesizer means having a truly unique sound that can't be recreated by anyone else. If you want to use an orchestra in modern metal music, you buy a sample library and guess how many bands did also buy and use the same library as you do. If you do some synth patchwork, nobody ever will recreate your sound exactly as you did.”

M.I. -  The album cover seems like a painting from the Medieval Age. Who had the idea for it and its design?

Helle  - All our artworks and videos are created by a talented Ukrainian artist Maria Goruleva. We just gave her the music, the concept, and asked to make it in an engraving style. Usually we give her the full freedom of creating her works, and it always works out the best. 

M.I. -  What are the differences between your EP “Sputnik”, “The Sign Of Faith” and “The Realms Of Fire And Death”?

Helle  - “Sputnik” was our first release ever where we were only testing the grounds. It’s kind of a concept album because it’s all based around the topic of space. It’s more in a progressive/industrial style. “The Sign of Faith” is the album that gathered various songs from different years and has a heavy middle eastern vibe. “The Realms of Fire and Death” is the most well-thought release we’re ever made, and we feel that we leveled up with it. It’s the album we worked on most, in terms of time and efforts. And, I’d say, it brings out the electronic and prog side of” Sputnik”, the IGNEA-style sound and elements from “The Realms of Fire and Death” and tops it all with some sound experiments. 

M.I. -  “The Queen Dies” was the first single and “Jinnslammer” was released on the 10th April. Why have you chosen these tracks to showcase the album?

Helle  - We released “Queen Dies” back in 2018 as a single and a video to bring out something fresh for the tour with Butcher Babies and Kobra and the Lotus. In 2020, we felt that we needed a couple of songs to showcase the album and chose “Disenchantment” and “Jinnslammer” as the best ones. They show the melodic and brutal parts of the album and are simply one of the best songs on the record, in our opinion. 

M.I. -  “Disenchantment” was engineered, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Max Morton. Maria Goruleva directed, edited and animated and Ivan Vizhletsov wrote the script. It was released on the 28th February, this year. How was it working with this team and did they have the same idea as you?

Helle  - We’ve been working with Max since our first release, and it’s always been the best experience. He knows our music, our skills, and knows how to make the best of it all. He also gives us a lot of advice, which we strongly appreciate. I spoke about Maria in the answer above, and Ivan works with her. This tandem is our best formula for designs, videos, etc. 
All in all, we found our best team, and we’d love to continue working with them on future releases.

M.I. -  Let’s talk about a curious song: “Чорне Полум’я”, an Ukrainian song. What’s its meaning?

Helle  - It means “Black Flame” and we also included the English version as a bonus track to the album, so you can listen to it and understand everything. It’s the continuation for “Queen Dies” where the Queen realizes that she has done a lot of evil stuff and would like to save the kingdom.

M.I. -  You’ve made a cover of the song “Í Tokuni”, of a Faroese folk-pop artist. Why did you decide to do it? Do you like that artist?

Helle  - Yes, I am a fan of Eivør, and I was listening to this song next to Evgeny. Unintentionally, we both thought about doing this cover, and we enjoyed recording it a lot. It turns out that many of our fans also know Eivør, so we can’t wait to share our version of this song with them.

M.I. -  This album was released on the 17th April. What can fans expect of it?

Helle  - IGNEA-style but more mature, diverse, and well-thought. It’s the release we’ll be talking about for months because there’s a lot to say about it!

M.I. -  “Alga” was named after a war call of Crimean Tatar people who are defending their land and was recorded with a full symphonic orchestra. How important is this song for you and he band? How was the process of recording with an orchestra? Do you plan on doing it again?

Helle  - This is still our most popular song that brought lots of listeners to us, which we are super grateful for. First, the song was created, then, by a coincidence, we were offered to record it with an orchestra. It was a chance that we couldn’t miss. In the end, we decided to make a video as well because it can be a once-in-a-lifetime chance. Maybe we’ll do it again anytime in future, but we’ll see where inspiration takes us.

M.I. -  “Şeytanu Akbar” was accompanied by an animated anti-terrorism video in a surrealistic style. Despite the provocative title, your intention is to carry the idea of peace. Do you think that, with the video, you were misunderstood?

Helle  - We were understood by 95% of people, and that is great. The rest 5% mostly didn’t read the description and our message. But, all in all, people know and love this song, especially on the live shows. We’re glad we did it.

M.I. -  You’ve played at Vagos Metal Fest, last year. Did you like the experience? What can you recall of it? Do you have the intention of coming back?

Helle  - Vagos was one of our best festivals ever. Perfect crowd, perfect organization, and we’d love to go back again for sure. 

M.I. -  Will this album have a tour? What countries will you visit, after this madness calms down?

Helle  - Of course, it’s hard now to speak about it, considering the pandemic outbreak. However, we already have some European tour dates planned for August, which we’ll announce soon. Let’s hope that the universe will make it happen. And we’ll have another leg somewhere in the autumn. Our intention is to visit as many European countries as possible. Stay tuned!

M.I. -  Thanks! Stay safe and the best of luck for the album. Any final words you’d like to share?

Helle  - We’d like to send our best wishes to people all around the world. Please, stay strong, stay at home, wash hands, support medical and essential workers, and may we meet soon in your city! We’d also love to express our endless gratitude to our patrons who helped us to record this album. Thanks for having us!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda