by Anabel DFlux
– Sr. Photojournalist —
Senior journalist Anabel DFlux had the pleasure of speaking with Zoë Federoff from Insatia, in regards to the groups upcoming release (which is marvelous, by the way), the band’s ideology, and why YOU should see the band live.
Anabel: Hey there! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. How are you?
Zoë Federoff: We are all doing terrific, hope you are as well!
Anabel: Tell me about your upcoming album Pheonix Aflame. Where did the title come from? What inspired the album’s creation? How was the album written?
Zoë Federoff: The title is a celebration of suffering- we didn’t say “Phoenix Rising” or “Phoenix Resurrecting.” We specifically chose the moment the Phoenix bursts into flame. Suffering is a good and beautiful thing when you allow it to be, and cliche as it may sound, there is nothing in life more important than growth. Growth always requires pain. For me, I was going through a lot of changes in my life that were quite painful, so like all us “crazy artists”, I had to turn it into something creative. Since suffering is a universal human experience, I hope a little of mine can give people joy when turned into music.
Anabel: What was the recording process like for you?
Zoë Federoff: Speaking for myself, for vocals it was very easy because I was working in the studio with some incredible engineers and producers. We got a lot done efficiently and I learned so much, not just about audio engineering but about life and philosophy. The studio can be the setting for some amazing conversations.
Anabel: What was your absolute favorite part of making this upcoming album?
Zoë Federoff: I love the entire creative process, beginning to end, but usually the most memorable moments are the ones that inspire the writing of each song, that moment where you pause at an idea and think “What if we did that?”
Anabel: I know this is usually a tough question, but do you have a favorite song off the album? Maybe one that is more sentimental to you than the others?
Zoë Federoff: I love the title track and the duet “Not My God.” Both are very personal to me as the lyricist. “Phoenix” is about offering your suffering up on the altar of life and using it as fuel, and “Not My God” is about how we shouldn’t let other people or especially close relationships become our religion. When someone has that much control over you, extracting each piece of your soul out of this toxic religion is a long process.
Anabel: Symphonic Power Metal is traditionally a European genre that thrives there to this day. How do you feel this genre does in America? What was it about this sound that drew you to it? Personally, symphonic metal is the genre that made me passionate about metal music in the first place.
Zoë Federoff: America, in general, is not a huge Metal market, as compared to Europe, especially when it comes to Power Metal or Symphonic Metal. Still, it has its ardent adherents and its talented bands that often slip under the radar merely because they’re not European. We have this strange bias that only Europe can produce this type of music, and that stereotype needs to die as North American bands keep creating amazing work. Bands like MindMaze, Graveshadow, and Ascendia deserve equal fan support as their European counterparts, but they are fighting much harder for it. They are pulling together beautiful albums with minimal resources and recognition. It’s time for this to change.
Anabel: What is your musical history? Is your family musical?
Zoë Federoff: I am very fortunate to come from a musically inclined family. My mother has a sweet, bright singing voice (although she is very shy about it) that sang The Beatles to me when I fell asleep, and my father is an old school metal bassist who has always opened the doors to fantastic music for me. He’s taken me to all sorts of concerts, from Rush to Iron Maiden, ever since I was young. For me, music was not a career choice at first- I had been singing publicly since I was a child, usually the National Anthem at sporting or public events, but I actually went to college to study mathematics and Japanese. It took a while for me to admit to myself that what I really wanted to do was music, mostly thanks to some very supportive music professors. I’m very happy now that I chose music over my original plans.
Anabel: You’ve opened for some absolutely incredible staples in the music world. What has been your favorite show thus far, and why?
Zoë Federoff: I have gotten to play with Delain twice now, and both times I’ve been struck by the sincerity and humility of their frontwoman, Charlotte. Actually, the first real show we ever had was opening for Sonata Arctica, Delain, and Xandria, and of course, I was extremely nervous and mentally unprepared for such a well-attended show as my first real gig. Charlotte was kind enough to approach me, the local opening act, and give me a little pep talk and words of encouragement. I’ve never forgotten that, and I will never have an unkind word to say about her. I also loved that show because it was the first time meeting our producer, Fabio D’Amore, face-to-face, and of course we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for taking us under his wing.
Anabel: What can fans expect at an Insatia show?
Zoë Federoff: First and foremost, sincerity. There is no “act” in our performance, it’s all very much an authentic projection of who each of us is as people and musicians. As the lyricist, I am projecting my own experience of the human condition and asking the audience to apply their experiences to my lyrics, which is a really humbling moment. I love hearing from people about how my lyrics reflect something in their lives, it’s so much more important than talking about my stories behind them. Kaelen projects not just his guitar prowess, but also a bit of his personality when he plays- fun, optimistic, thoughtful, and always in momentum. Dan is always very intense as a person and as a drummer, and I feel like when he plays you’re seeing a man completely consumed by his own intensity, without any restrictions. And Dave- Dave projects his desire for perfectionism, his attention to detail in every micro second of what he does, his heart of service and giving himself to the music. I am very fond of my bandmates, and I love playing with such good, humble people.
Anabel: Any future touring plans you’d like fans to know about?
Zoë Federoff: Keep your eyes open, and I’m serious about that…
Anabel: Why did you pick your band name?
Zoë Federoff: Actually, the band was named before I joined, but I like to joke that we’re “Insatiable, but no bull.”
Anabel: What image do you think your music conveys?
Zoë Federoff: Introspection and conviction. At least, that’s the goal- my music is written with the intention of reminding people that hope is more than just a pipe dream and that hope combined with will can get you through absolutely anything, and I mean “anything.”
Anabel: What are your dreams and goals?
Zoë Federoff: For me personally, to be the best mother I can be, the best girlfriend, daughter, sister, and friend I can be, and to remind people that cultivating joy and accepting love is the answer to a multitude of life’s problems. I know this sounds terribly hippie and cliche, but the world is full of people who are unhappy and do not accept love, and because they won’t accept it, they can’t give it either. A self-loathing, loveless world gets us nowhere, and a world without joy is just ugly. Be joyful, and weaponize joy against darkness. If I can be joyful and give joy, then I’m successful.
Anabel: Any last words for your fans before we conclude this interview?
Zoë Federoff: My boyfriend calls this my “star farts” speech and he likes to roll his eyes when I say it. You hear it often as a diluted message in the media, a well-meaning attempt to remind you of your value that often falls flat when life has jaded you. But I’m going to say it anyways, because if I say it to my daughter, then my fans deserve to hear it too. You are worthy of love, and on a journey towards learning to love others more perfectly. Accept it, give it, pay it forwards. And of course, stay Metal, because Metal = love.
Anabel: Thank you!