In this third interview with one of the Journalist’s from Demon Reports magazine Svetlana Koruga – with Helle Bogdanova Frontwoman of Ukranian metal titans IGNEA and a Booking agent of The Flaming Arts Agency. She talked about with her – about their Patreon page and how are they satisfied with it, her podcast show, about her activities as a Booking agent at The Flaming Arts Agency, how she relaxes while not working – without a busy schedule, more exclusive details, below:
1. You have a page on Patreon? Are you satisfied with the feedback on it, also did it bring you more success?
”Yes, we launched this page over 2 years ago, so I may say that we’re quite the Patreon pioneers among the metal bands. I cannot express enough how much our patrons have been helping us. We even managed to fully fund the production of our latest album and all videos, as well as upgrade some of our musical gear through Patreon only. Huge shout out to all our patrons!”
2. What it is like to have a podcast show? Since you have one of your own – how do you choice guests for it, how much time do you spend making questions and doing preparations for the podcast?
”I cannot say that I’m fully dedicated to this project. Basically, I conduct interviews with fellow bands and representatives of the metal music industry through Skype or Zoom. There interviews are available on my YouTube channel and as a podcast. I’m mostly focusing on the behind-the-scenes of running the band and DIY approach that musicians have nowadays. So, you won’t hear me discussing latest albums with my guests. Rather, how their band functions, what struggles they face with band promotion, where is the best catering on tour, etc. Because I’m also in the band, our conversations are usually very mutually understanding. I had a small pause with these episodes but right now, at least 2 interviews are planned, so stay tuned.”
3. As a booking agent at The Flaming Arts Agency, how does it feel to work with so many bands? How did you handle all of the work regarding the booking part?
”I’m mostly involved in the paperwork that is a must for every show, be it a club concert, a festival appearance, or a big tour. Working at The Flaming Arts Agency helped me a lot to gain another perspective on the music industry, which I find very beneficial. I don’t have any pink glasses anymore and I’m able to be realistic about shows, artist fees, etc. I think that every musician who has ever worked not only as an artist, but also at the booking agency, at a label, or as a venue manager, will see a more full picture of the scene. And I find it a plus.”
4. You released your latest album ”The Realms of Fire and Death” last year, tell me about the making process of it – about the lyrics and the whole concept of it?
”Our composer Evgeny is always writing something new and he’s in charge of all songs. So, this album was in the process for quite a while. When it came to writing down the lyrics, the kick off point was the song Queen Dies because it has been already out and we actually also had ”Чорне Полум’я” (Black Flame in Ukrainian) as its continuation. These two songs were already interlined with a story, so I decided to get more story-telling into this album. All in all, it’s a concept album dedicated to the themes of fire and death from various perspectives. IGNEA is translated as ‘flaming’ or ‘burning’, so it was logical that we’d make a flame-related record. The album is divided in three parts, each containing 3 songs. Each part tells a separate story, but all of them are related to fire and death. I also wrote short tales which are now combined in a book of tales and lyrics, beautifully illustrated by our designer Maria Goruleva. This book is available in our store at www.ignea.band or you can get the digital and audio version of it by subscribing to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/helleignea.”
5. As a Vocalist, which song of yours is the most interesting one for you to perform?
”Every year, I have different favorites. Right now, I adore performing ”Gods of Fire”, a song from our latest album. You can witness my excitement in our latest live video for this song at https://youtu.be/N2YO9qvYcac.”
6. What are you thoughts on the Covid-19 situation as a Vocalist, but also as a booking manager? How do you feel about the whole thing in both fields, are you satisfied or not with the whole situation?
”I was infected with Covid at the end of 2020. I felt it impact as a vocalist because I was coughing a lot and I was short of breath. It took me quite a while to be able to sing properly again. Now, I seem to be fully recovered but my body still shows lots of bad consequences after this disease. So experience my friends who had Covid as well. Of course, the pandemic has vastly influenced the touring side of music. Needless to say, we had to stay at home in the year of the album release, which is devastating. And as for the booking agency, well, we’re in the same boat as all other agencies. No touring is happening and there’s a lot of work with rescheduling tours and hoping they’ll happen in 2021.”
7. Are you planning to do a full live streaming event with the band in the nearest future? If so, are there going to be some surprises for the fans – with the set list or some special effects?
”No, we’re not. We’ve been asked this question a lot but we decided to take another path because a high-quality online concert requires huge investment and a team of experts. We filmed 4 songs within a live session back in autumn. 2 songs are already out on our YouTube channel:
And 2 are still in the making. As for the rest, we’re now working on new music and videos, doing lots of content for Patreon, and trying to think several steps ahead in terms of our releases. I think, it’s wise to adjust to the circumstances, so we’re not trying to focus on touring and concerts but on content that can be consumed online.”
8. Which influences inspired you to become a Vocalist, also defined your vocal style and approach to your singing?
”To be short, I started as a guitarist but then, people always asked me to sing along. I never studied vocals but in the past few year, I took some lessons from vocal coaches. And I believe I’ve got to learn a lot but I see the best progress when I simply practice more. Lately, I found out that listening to different types of vocals, from deathcore growls to opera singing and trying to imitate the sound is priceless. Of course, I’m able to do it safely because I’ve been singing for a few years now with IGNEA. But I mean, it not only increases your vocal range and technique but also strengthens the style you usually sing in. Also, I must say, I feel more as a frontwoman and band manager rather than a vocalist.”
9. Since you are a such a busy person, when do you find time to relax? How does your day look like, when your are not working?
”I’m very bad at relaxing, sadly. I always have something to do and even if I’m taking a shower or walking, I have lots of thoughts popping in my head. I also don’t have proper weekends because of my type of work, I’d say. My main occupation is the band, and it has been so since last year. People may think it’s a creative artistic life but in reality, I spend lots of time in front of my laptop, planning releases, producing content, working on new lyrics, replying to emails, handling merch, etc. So, it’s a lot of routine work, I’d say. The best way for me to stay away from work is to travel somewhere far away from cell phones and laptops. Next week, I’m heading to ski for 3 days, so my body’s in for some rest!”
10. For the last question of the interview, do you have a message for your fans and the audience?
”Stay safe and strong. Don’t forget to support artists because the pandemic is still not over, and everybody’s in this industry is struggling. And even if you cannot help financially, it’s totally ok. Simply stream music, watch music videos YouTube (it’s free!), and share, share, share your fav artists with your friends, drop some extra likes and comments on the artists’ social networks. It’s all simple, but it boosts discovery of your fav artists and bands. And see you at the shows soon!”
Check out the official music video for the “Jinnslammer”, here: