by Christophe Pauly
— Sr. Photojournalist —
Ignea is a Female Fronted Ukrainian Oriental Metal band. Originally known as Parallax the group changed its name prior to releasing its debut EP Sputnik back in 2013. Since then the group has gone on to release a couple of singles “Petrichor” in 2014 and “Alga” in 2015.
Currently led by Helle Bogdanova, the bands latest studio album titled The Sign Of Faith, released in February of this year, offers listeners 11 songs that are Symphonic/Progressive Metal with Middle-Eastern Folk influences
Helle Bogdanova recently took time out of her schedule to talk with Hardrock Haven about the band’s origins, the new album and more …
Hardrock Haven: First, I’d like to know how the band was formed? Did you know each other before making this band?
Helle Bogdanova: This band was created by Evgeny, and the lineup has been changing several times. As a rule, all new members came via Evgeny. They were his friends, or friends of friends, and so on. In 2012 I joined the band, it was called Parallax back then. And I am proud to tell that I was the person to drive the band towards active rehearsals and recordings. Almost all music and lyrics are written by Evgeny, he’s the talent, the guys are talented musicians as well. But they all lack discipline and self-confidence. Perhaps, that’s why I am needed in the band.
Hardrock Haven: You first performed as Parallax. Why did you change your name to Ignea?
Helle Bogdanova: Simply because there were over 60 other bands in the world called Parallax. It is very hard to promote a band with such a common title. And it was just a perfect time to change the name — before the first LP. Not so painful in terms of rebranding, you know.
Hardrock Haven: What’s the signification of this word?
Helle Bogdanova: It is the feminine word of “fiery” or “flaming.”
Hardrock Haven: Why did you choose to play oriental metal? Was it already a choice you’ve made from the beginning or the result of a reflection about your music?
Helle Bogdanova: From my perspective, all we do is the composing evolution of Evgeny. We all just love what he does. So maybe one day we’ll play absolutely different music. But what is good, there are not so many bands in this genre not only in our country, but also in the whole world, so it’s quite a niche music, which is good.
Hardrock Haven: The themes in your lyrics are quite interesting and particular. How did you find the inspiration to write it?
Helle Bogdanova: The inspiration comes from absolutely everywhere: from a movie, a painting, a book, a happening in the world or in our personal lives. You never know where and when this inspiration comes out of you. Sometimes it just fits the lyrics. Sometimes I listen to the music Evgeny writes and try to imagine things. Some songs were born like that.
Hardrock Haven: Your new album is called The Sign Of Faith. Why this title? What’s its meaning for you?
Helle Bogdanova: “The Sign of Faith” is a line from the “Seytanu Akbar.” As many tracks on the album are more or less about religion and faith (even if it’s a faith in love or homeland), it fits very well.
Hardrock Haven: How do you proceed to compose your songs? Is it a collective work?
Helle Bogdanova: In most cases, Evgeny composes everything and simply gives us tabs/demos. Sometimes he writes the lyrics as well. Thereafter, we practice playing the songs all together, and if someone has to add something, he does. That’s all. I mean, we do not jam to come up with new songs all together. That’s not the case for IGNEA.
Hardrock Haven: The first song is against terrorism. Are you often inspired by what’s happening around the world and the way it changes?
Helle Bogdanova: It is perhaps the second social-themed song after “Alga.” I’d say we’re not into politics or happenings, but terrorism is something absolutely terrible and can happen to anyone everywhere. And as we play oriental metal and are interested in middle eastern culture, we often hear bad words towards Muslims, which are often bad because of terrorism. On the other hand, we have Muslim friends, and they are great people. With this song, we just wanted to tell that there is no excuse for killing other people. And it refers to any person and any religion.
Hardrock Haven: The visual of your albums and merch is quite particular and interesting. Could you tell us about the artist who works with you and the inspiration behind some designs?
Helle Bogdanova: In fact, we purchased two latest artworks for “Alga” and “The Sign of Faith” album on the web, we just liked them and they fit our music. As for current t-shirts, they are all based on our ideas and brought into life by Masha Goruliova, a talented Ukrainian artist.
Hardrock Haven: Is it the same person who did you latest video?
Helle Bogdanova: Yes, Masha created our latest video. And unlike t-shirt prints, it was her 100% idea. We just provided the song and the lyrics. All the rest is her imagination, and we are stunned with it.
Hardrock Haven: Being a Female Fronted Metal band in Ukraine with such genre should be quite unique. How are you considered there? Does the audience really appreciate that genre there?
Helle Bogdanova: As we are telling in many interviews, IGNEA has 95% fans outside Ukraine, for many reasons. However, we are going to have many tour dates in UA this year, so maybe the situation will change. It’s not about the genre, but because of peculiarities of Ukrainian metal scene. It’s not that developed as in countries like Germany or France.
Hardrock Haven: Do you plan to tour outside Ukraine in the future?
Helle Bogdanova: Yes, we have signed a contract with a German booking agency, and they are now working on an EU tour. Let us all hope we’ll do it this year!
Hardrock Haven: Thanks a lot for taking some time to answer. And thanx for this awesome album.
Helle Bogdanova: Thank you as well.
IGNEA — Şeytanu Akbar (Official Video):
IGNEA Official website: https://ignea.band/