Interview: Yevhenii from Ignea
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Why do people generally get into music? I think there's no true answer for it, most of the answers you'd get for this question are just attempts to say at least something. One just wants to play music, one simply starts doing it. If not for music, I would probably be a coder or something along the lines of it. I'd love to be an architect or urban planner, but the first requires drawing skills which I'm not ahold of, and the latter simply doesn't exist in Ukraine.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I scroll all the feeds! Honestly, doing something on purpose to get influenced didn't work out for me. I tried mountains, solo travel across the country, and maybe other things, they don't generate music. So yes, the things I usually do while not working on new music don't influence me at all.
How long has your band been around?
Usually, we say that IGNEA as a solid project was born in 2013 when our first EP was out but... Nobody knows! I've started writing music myself since the first day I met a couple of guys who showed me Guitar Pro back in 2007. That folkish power metal written directly in tabs turned into something more gothic, then in 2008 I found the first real musician we started doing things together, then the first rehearsals, and then it all gradually became IGNEA as we know it. So there's no correct answer.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We're in Kyiv, Ukraine, and that didn't get any effect on the music at all. Probably, until the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine now, since I now have an idea of incorporating a small feature of Kyiv's anthem into some new music in sorts of ways.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
If you try to find an epithet for something you really like, in most languages one of them will be somehow related to fire. In English those would be 'lit' or 'it's on fire' to name a few. While we were changing the name, I thought about something like that and came up with IGNEA, a Latin feminine adjective for 'fiery.' Since Latin has genders in adjectives, the boy word would be 'igneous' but we're a girl-fronted band, aren't we.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
My personal favorites were the only three headline shows we had so far. Two of them are in Spain, and seeing people who come specifically to see you for the first time is a thing to remember, and later a show in Kyiv in which we played with COVID restrictions. We had some basic production, I played an analog synth, the epic set was 1.5 hours long, and people were seated and wore masks. That also turned out to be the last headline show in one of the biggest, oldest, and most recognized live venues in Kyiv.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I'm a festival guy, so for me, that would be a festival. We love the Faine Misto Festival, which is in Ukraine, there's always a sizeable crowd, lots of fellow bands we know for a long time, and tons of other bands to enjoy. But if I had to pick a live venue, that would be Skråen in Aalborg, Denmark. It has a great crew, and perfect sound, design-wise it is a modern Danish architecture with classic design details, and the Danish backstages and catering are just the best.
As for the places I'd like to play, there are probably some of the more iconic names across the European live venues: The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes, Satan's Hollow in London, and Pumpehuset in Copenhagen.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
That would be the most eclectic lineup ever. Probably, the Danish death metal band Baest, our Ukrainian colleagues 1914, us IGNEA, and a couple of promising no-name bands who should have creeped out of their respective basements long ago.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
To the new bands, the advice would be very simple. As a keyboards player, I promise you, never hire a keyboards player. Use backing tracks. For myself, it would probably be... dude, learn to play bass or something :D
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
The main advice for the band would be to get out there and play abroad as soon as possible. The other things that are quite obvious now, we somehow had followed: we never played lots of times in one time, we never tried to jump higher than our heads, and we didn't play at shitty places in cringeworthy lineups just for the sake of going on stage.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
It's always the unreleased song :) But yeah, out of the songs we did release, the most meaningful to me is Sputnik. It was the oldest song I wrote that we have released as it was, it was the start of our live set list for a long time, and it just took that special place in my heart. Now we don't play it already, but it still is there.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
For now, my favorite song to play is Bosorkun. It's just fresh and catchy, and it didn't start to bore us all yet. Alga is the most requested song and probably is the most hated in the whole band :D Of course, it took us a lot of recognition but boy we played it like 60 times during video shooting and it wasn't one of the more interesting songs to play even back then!
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
I write all the music except vocal lines for the upcoming album. We don't jam, we don't improvise, the band receives a demo recorded by me and guitar tabs to know how to play it, that's it. And then we just practice it together with the backing tracks I slice from the demo project until we get the real deal after studio recording. Of course, the song evolves and has some slight elements added by the guys before and even after the studio, but they all still work with the playbacks we have, so the song remains practically the same.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I don't believe music works that way. There are too few real people who really try to find a meaning or a message in our music. I think, only one of our songs, Alga, has a certain message. But generally, our music is a story. Both the last album and the upcoming one are epic stories bound together by some notes and riffs here and there, and their primary goal is to entertain you with a tale, not present you with lessons.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
You don't have disagreements in a tyranny :D The only problem we can face is when someone lacks motivation. That is an often problem given our history, as we only had two tours in almost a decade of existence and you feel it all senseless without real people's feedback sometimes. Once someone is unmotivated, we usually just wait through it, it fixes itself fine so far.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Right now, the Russo-Ukrainian war has interrupted the recording of our 3rd full album and a couple of live shows. We are renewing the work on the album while there are no missiles flying into Kyiv and hope for a proper release with supporting tours this time. We're waiting to finally make it all, release an album, throw a tour, play festivals, as a grown band.