IGNEA is a Ukrainian symphonic metal band with modern vibes, blended with oriental and progressive elements combined with the voice from Helle Bogdanova who can sing and growls. 2017 was a good year for the band, 2018 will be better for them as they are currently working on dates for a European tour this year. I had a chat with Helle.
Hi Helle, how are you doing today?
Hi! Thanks for having me. Well’ I am now overloaded with the day job and am preparing for the video shootings we’re having with the band next week. Pretty busy and exhausted but excited about what’s coming up.
IGNEA’s debut full-length album was released in 2017, how has the overall response been so far from music critics and fans on the album?
The response was absolutely awesome. As we’re an unsigned band and have done everything on our own, we didn’t expect to have such response from people from all over the world. You know, I even bought a map and pin the cities from where the buyers of our merch come from. Well, apart from almost the whole Europe covered and lots of cities from the US, our CDs were even shipped to such far away corners as Australia, China and Japan. What to say, we even had an order from Alaska! Not saying about the digital sales and streams. Seems like we’ve covered almost the whole world.
2017 seemed like a good year for IGNEA, lots of views on youtube, more than 100.000 listeners on Spotify and you were in the top 3 best Ukrainian metal acts. There’s nothing standing in your way it seems or are there things that can be better?
Yes, it’s been an awesome year, truly. We are approaching 4 million views on YouTube already, that’s insane! However, we did hope to tour in the EU and promote the album in 2017 but it didn’t work our because of the issues with the previous booking agency and the overall tough situation for unsigned bands, especially those that are not in the EU. It’s really hard for us to get abroad. However, in December we’ve signed a deal with The Flaming Arts Agency, which is of an absolutely another level and approach. Next week, we will be finally announcing the May tour, so stay tuned!
The oriental vibes that can be heard in most songs from IGNEA, is that something that’s just an influence as i believe none of the members have a Middle East background?
Nope, none of us has a Middle East background. Evgeny, our keyboardist, writes most of the music and it was him who chose this direction for IGNEA. However, I’ve always liked that culture and the melodies. They are so beautiful, delicate, and yet intense and strong. There are so many moods you can express with those vibes… I cannot say we have that in each and every song, but 80% of the songs are definitely oriental-flavoured.
In 2015 the band name changed from Parallax to IGNEA, can you tell a little more about the reason for this? And how did IGNEA come as the band’s name?
Well, that was pretty simple. There were over 60 bands called Parallax, and that’s just the ones we have googled. That was a strong reason to change the name because it would be extremely hard to promote ourselves in the future. And, as our music was about to considerably change after the first EP, and we were absolutely not known at that time, it was a perfect timing. We came up with IGNEA title, as it means ‘flaming, igneous’ in the feminine. We lit up the fire and started the new era for our band.
Which song on The Sign of Faith is your favorite when playing live?
You know, I can say that ‘Alexandria’ is very cool to play live because lots of people like it, it’s fast and catchy. When you see people dancing and moshing along with this song, as well as singing the chorus, it really gives me chills and drives me crazy. However, I also love performing ’Seytanu Akbar’ as I think that this is our most profound and strong song at the moment. When I sing it on stage, I am always in kind of a trance state. And I feel that I am able to pass this state to the audience.
With which band would you like to go on tour with? And to which countries? Are there already some plans for 2018?
I personally would love to tour with Arch Enemy, now, when Alissa White-Gluz is the front woman. I like her vocal style and personality a lot, and I would be glad to study from her, even watching them doing soundcheck, you know. However, I’d also think we’d be cool to tour with Amorphis, Moonspell, Myrath, and Epica, for example. You know, our music is a mix of melodic metal with symphonic and middle-eastern vibes. So we could fit lots of touring lineups, I guess. Of course, we have to work hard till we get there, but we’ve only started.
As said, we are about to announce the tour for May 2018. We will also be performing at the RockMetalCampFest in France on May, 25th, which is awesome, cause we’ve got many French supporters.
How did you discover your own style of singing and when did you started with singing?
I think, I am still in search of my own style. Initially, I completed a classic guitar class and was a solo guitarist for some time. But I had some health issues with my hands, and it was hard to develop. Of course, we had those gatherings with friends, drinks, and would sing songs along with the guitar. They’ve always asked me to sing. Eventually, I sang more and more. I really liked it! But I’ve never properly studied it. Especially the extreme vocals. I came up with it on my own, it was really hard and hurting. I wish I could simply find a good coach back then, but it wasn’t an option in our country. Now, I am good pretty at doing growls and screams, but I’d still like to take classes from professionals to improve my technique and do it for hours and hours without getting tired, you know.
Who influenced you the most in the beginning of your career and who are your current favorites? Is there another type of music you would like to sing?
I guess, I am still at the beginning of my music career. I still have a day job which takes most of my time. Anyways, I cannot exactly tell the influencers, because I absorb lots of music and vocal styles. Moreover, it doesn’t mean I copy someone. It’s rather I hear something, get inspired and that inspiration lets me sing the way I do. Currently, I am obsessed with Myrkur, In Flames, Lana Del Rey, Gojira, Chelsea Wolfe. I also remembered that I liked the vocal style of the Role Tomassi singer and I am even flying to Budapest to see her performing live in March. Radiohead is my all-time favorite. I often do my warm-ups with Lady Gaga song, as our vocal range seems to be 99% matching. As for another type of music, I’d love to try out mixing trip-hop with sludge in terms of a side project where I’d sing sweet vocals and play bass
The last one, feel free to add something you want or last words?
I’d like to thank all our listeners for the endless support and for accepting us as we are. Would love to play a show for each and every of you! For those who do not know us, please, do check us out. We have very diverse songs, and you can easily find a smashy brutal track next to the Disney-like lullaby…
More IGNEA: https://www.facebook.com/ignea.band