QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Helle Bogdanova (IGNEA)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello. Thanks for taking the time for the interview. Are you well and are you healthy, Helle?

Helle: Thanks for having me. Yes, I’m healthy and everyone in the band and my surrounding are healthy. I hope that you’re too!

Pix666: Yes, I’m helthy, too – thank you for asking.

Pix666: Two months ago your second full-length album ‘The Realms of Fire and Death’ was released. How satisfied are you with the work and what is the main theme of the songs?

Helle: I think that this is the best music IGNEA has ever released and this is our truly mature album, compared to the previous works. We’ve been working more thoroughly on the songs, we were more prepared than ever when entering the studio, and it’s also our first concept album. There are 9 songs that are split into 3 parts. Each part tells a certain story. There’s one theme that connects all the songs — fire and death, as you can take it from the album title. I also wrote a book of short tales that literally tell the stories of what is happening in the album.

Pix666: Did you have concerts or a tour planned for the album release that you had to postpone or cancel?

Helle: Yes, we actually had a tour with quite a famous band booked for July. It included festival appearances and club shows all over Europe. Right now, we’re hoping that it will be possible to postpone it to 2021 but a lot depends on the festivals and their decisions. Also, we were planning to hit the road in November, within an awesome lineup. However, because the fellow bands are from the US and Canada, there’s no certainty that they will be allowed to enter the EU in November, and there’re also no certainty that by that time, concerts and clubs will be working in full. So, again, our booking agency will most probably postpone it to spring 2021.

All in all, it feels very devastating not being able to play the album live in the year of its release.

Pix666: The next concerts are now planned for December in Finland, is that right? Do you think the dates can be kept?

Helle: We’re more than certain that these dates will happen unless there is going to be the second wave of corona. These are our solo shows with supports, which means, the clubs won’t be huge, and that raises our chances that these shows will happen. Also, both Finland and Ukraine didn’t suffer from corona as much as many other countries, so again, fingers crossed, we’ll be able to play these shows. We’re also trying to book some other dates on our way to Finland and back, but it will depend on the situation, of course.

Pix666: In 2015 you published the video clip ‘Alga’ – there you play together with an orchestra – Would that be an idea for a tour in the future to bring an orchestra on stage?

Helle: Even huge bands are sometimes not able to play with orchestra. Bringing plus forty people on tour is something super hard and expensive. Moreover, this song is quite popular but we’re not a fully symphonic band so it wouldn’t make any sense. However, we’re already working on the next album that will be more symphonic than the latest one, so there’s a chance we’ll work with orchestra again. At least, for the studio recording.

Pix666: You also sing a song in Ukrainian language on the album. How important is the connection to your home country for you?

Helle: To be honest, I’m a global citizen and I’m not that connected to certain geographic location. This planet is my home and I feel good on the road. Singing in Ukrainian seemed very suitable for this particular song, and I’m glad we did it. It was also perceived very well by our listeners, so maybe we’ll do such experiments in the future, if we feel that a certain song should be recorded in Ukrainian. It’s not an intentional thing, it comes from our inspiration.

Pix666: Since 2018 you have been touring internationally and playing great concerts and festivals. What is the next step – could you imagine a tour around the world together with Jinjer or another famous band?

Helle: Jjinjer have their own path and choosing who to tour with is sometimes not as logical as many people might think. Sometimes it’s even better to tour with bands that have quite a different audience, to gain more new fans on tour. As said, we were supposed to hit the road in July and November with quite famous bands, but I cannot disclose their names until the tours are postponed and all things are settled. However, I think some bands we’d like to tour with someday are Amorphis, Moonspell, Cellar Darling, Delain, and Lacuna Coil, to name a few. But it all can change, depending on our development and direction of our music.

Pix666: How are your friends and families? How do you stay in touch with them?

Helle: It’s quite a complicated time for everyone, for sure. However, our families and friends were mostly not that affected by corona so far. The lockdown is also not that strict at the moment, so we can freely see and meet each other. However, since the start of the pandemic, I’ve been overloaded with work: promoting the album, arranging merch production and shipping merch, managing our Patreon, doing some freelance. So when lots of people were occupied with choosing the next movie to watch on Netflix, I sometimes had no time to have my lunch. But I’m grateful that I have a chance to work during these times.

Pix666: You are from the Ukraine – what is the general mood in the country?

Helle: Right now, it’s not that good because of our government and the things that it’s doing. But I’m not that into politics and local things. And Ukraine is really a big country, so everything varies from region to region. I live in the capital, and it’s very different to a small town somewhere in the west, for example. As said, I’m more of a global person, so I’m definitely more concerned about the pandemic.

Pix666: Do you believe that the corona-crisis will change the behaviour of humanity in the future?

Helle: I think, it already has. For example, I personally am not a fan of crowds anymore, cause it doesn’t feel safe, subconsciously. And I didn’t experience that before. Also, I think that the habit of washing our hands all the time, using sanitizers and even masks are there to stay.

However, I cannot speak for everyone, cause I already see and know how people break the distancing rules here in Ukraine and all over the world. I’m in touch with our listeners from different countries and it seems people behave the same all over the world. That is sad.

Pix666: What things do you miss the most at the moment?

Helle: Traveling. I feel very bad stuck at home for a long time. Under normal circumstances, I travel somewhere at least for a few days every month or two. Not to mention touring. So, I’m following the news on the borders and traveling restrictions everyday, hoping that soon I’ll be able to travel again.

Pix 666: Do you have any other news about IGNEA that you would like to share with the fans?

Helle: We’re going to publish one more music video soon, for the song ‘Jinnslammer’, The shooting was back in November and it happened on a very cool historical location in Kyiv, so stay tuned. We’re also working on doing some live videos, and there’s a lot coming up on our Patreon, including but not limited to playbacks and tabs to our songs, exclusive backstage, merch, and more: https://www.patreon.com/helleignea.

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting insights into your present life – Stay healthy!

Helle: Thank you and stay healthy as well!


photos © by Ivan Vyzhletsov, Maria Goruleva & Darina Momot