The Ukraine has produced a hell of a of a lot of cool bands over the years. And I’ve been lucky enough to get to know some of them, like IGNEA. So read this interview and be a part of the growing Ukraine metal scene you too. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
As you might not be that known to most people a short introduction might be in order.
-My name is Helle, and I am the vocalist of oriental metal band IGNEA (Ukraine).
How does your latest recording compare to the previous ones?
-Alga is a breakthrough. I’m not trying to say that it’s better than previous releases, but it has opened an absolutely another level for us: we managed to record a track with a full orchestra and release the first video. It all intersected with change of our title from Parallax to IGNEA. We are feeling refreshed and ready for something new.
Was it hard for you to come up with a sound you all could agree on?
-Not hard at all. You see, we’ve been working with Max Morton starting from our first ever release back in 2013. Max is a very talented sound engineer and the recording process at his studio is a kind of magic, not speaking about his ability to create an ideal mix. Sometimes, very interesting moments are born right at the studio, such as numerous backing vocals, additional guitar parts. And we always stay in touch with Max during mixing process. He is open for discussion in case we don’t like this or that. However, we are very delighted with the sound in most cases.
How important are the lyrics to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
-Lyrics are something intimate and, I’d say, most provocative, in our case. Our first release, EP “Sputnik” has been an absolutely conceptual album based on space themes. In our lyrics, we spoke about life on Mars, first ever human-made satellite Sputnik-1, etc. We were then obsessed by space and it was reflected in our lyrics. Our single “Petrichor” recorded together with Yossi Sassi (ex-Orphaned Land) is the most oriental metal track so far. The track is about Petrichor, the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The track is sung on behalf of a person who appeals to gods and wants to be one of them. To initiate the transformation, he pronounces a petrichoral vow and is about to be torn by thunder. Thereafter, he will be among divine spirits, the foreshow of which is accompanied by mighty scent of Petrichor. Finally, our latest release “Alga” is sung from the name of Crimean Tatars who stand and fight for their land against invaders. “Alga” means “forward” in their language. Although we do not intend to be political, the track appeared to be so, but it was something we could not keep silent about, especially after revolution in Ukraine. Our upcoming LP will contain one more social-themed track — about terrorism.
How important is the cover art work for you? How much do you decide in choosing art work?
-You know, art is of a high importance for us, but we still are not able to find the artist we’d like to work with. Therefore, as a matter of fact, we are searching for proper art for a long time, but then either buy the closest art available right before release, or create it themselves. But, we have found a gorgeous artist for our merch. You can see one of her works on our tote bags: . Hopefully, she’ll keep on working with us and surf the waves of our music, to reflect it visually.
Where outside of your country have you had success?
-Well, our listeners and fans are mostly based abroad. Top countries are UK, France, Chile, Argentina, and Italy so far. But, our first performance abroad is going to take place in Moldova in about a month. Hopefully, local fans will give us a warm greet 🙂
Is it harder today to get noticed both nationally and internationally than it was 10 or 20 years ago? Is the competition tougher today?
-I believe, than the competition got tougher not internationally, but in our country. We see lots of high-level bands appearing in Ukraine, which makes it harder to compete for performances on local festivals or gigs. But I think, this is awesome. Makes you work all the time.
And I also believe that tech development helped musicians a lot. Some of them became famous because of YouTube, for example. Isn’t it cool? Dreams of people come true.
What is your local scene like? What status does your band have in the national scene?
-As said before, in the past years, our music scene is bursting out with deserving bands. And, for the worse, or for the better, we are more recognised abroad than locally.
What is the general population’s opinion on playing music? Is being a musician a respectable choice?
-I’d say that fans and music lovers tend to think that being a musician is very cool, but most people perceive it as not serious occupation. However, there is a category of musicians that manage to be both cool and successful at music business. For me, this is the highest achievement ever.
But we all are not full-time musicians and all have regular jobs. Being able to let it all go and do only music is a luxury thing, which we cannot afford now.
What does the future hold for you?
-We’d better not predict. All I can say is that we’ll do our best to deliver more great music to this world and bring it to ears of as many people as possible. Currently, we are recording our first LP, and I personally have shivers down my spine when we’re playing new tracks. Stay tuned.