Discovering the Heroic Fantasy Metal of Bendida
Discovering the Heroic Fantasy Metal of Bendida
Bendida from Bulgaria present fantasy metal at its most epic, complete with female operatic vocals, exhilarating musicianship, and expansive choirs. Their latest album of intrigue is entitled First Of The Heroes, and it’s a towering achievement in the grand and glorious tradition of Nightwish and Therion. Highwire Daze recently interviewed lead vocalist Kremena Nikolova to find out a whole lot more about the magic and mystique of the almighty Bendida and their captivating artistry. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Bendida, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I am Kremena Nikolova – the lead singer of Bendida. The band was founded in 2008, twelve years ago and I became a member seven years ago.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We live in Bulgaria/Sofia and as a capital of our country; we can say that the stage for live music is most active here. If we talk about the things in general, well metal and rock are not from the most popular genres in our country unfortunately and it takes a lot of effort to go ahead, fighting with thousand of difficulties.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the First Of The Heroes album title?
Yes, first of the Heroes is Gilgamesh – a semi-God hero, described in the most ancient legend from the Acadian history and mythology. It’s not easy to be the first who bravely create new paths and horizons. We’ve always respected the discoverers and the unique, original ideas. This is what we want to be, heroes and discoverers in our own story as musicians and artists.
Select any two songs from First of the Heroes and what inspired the lyrics?
Our songs and lyrics and arrangements they are all created by our talented songwriter – Vinnie Atanasov – the guitar player and founder of Bendida. Well, I will choose “Hunt the Hunter” – a song strongly influenced by the Bulgarian folklore. What about the lyrics? The idea behind it is to remind all humans that what comes around goes around and they should respect Mother Nature, Animals, each living little creature, because Nature is our home, it is home for all the beautiful creations of God. The greedy human often forgets about this.
Another song is History of The World, it’s a 16-minutes-long composition made of six parts. It shows a short view of the history of music and Humans ‘development, the stairs of civilization….upstairs and unfortunately downstairs, leading Humans to the self-destructive end.
Who did the cover art for First Of The Heroes and how much input did you have on it?
I am the one who takes care about the styling of the band and all the visual products, graphic design, posters, flyers and other kind of design, even the lyric videos. The cover and booklets of our first and second album were also designed by me.
How did Janika Groß of Haggard become involved with the song Vampire’s Ball?
Beautiful lady Janika Groß is such an impressive vocalist, we all love her. This was the reason to invite her as a special guest at our mysterious Ball – The Vampires’ Ball. We were very happy when she accepted to join. The other guests in this song and the album are our dear friends from Academic Choir – Sveta Paraskeva with conductor Galina Lukanova. Actualy we take the choir as a part of our Bendida family. You can also see them in our new video – Civilization.
What has it been like to release new music right in the middle of a pandemic and so much social unrest in the world? Have you had any show cancelled because of the pandemic?
Nobody expected that year 2020 will bring us such a bad surprise. The concerts and plans in one band are usually made for months ahead and we had a spring tour with the idea to promote our new album…the doors were locked exactly after the album promotion, so the tour failed. It’s a very difficult situation indeed. We hope things will be much more normal in 2021.
When you look back on your first album Goddess of the Moon, what do you think of it now in retrospect?
We love this album; it’s an illustration of our efforts as a band during quite a long period of time. Of course we wanted to make really huge step upstairs with our new album and we are very happy with the final result. We got some precious new members in our official team during the last few years and therefore we’ve got better and richer sound now in First of the Heroes.
What could one expect from a live Bendida show?
A trip to our Fantasy world
What are you looking forward to the most about the Enigma Rock Festival with Blaze Bayley in 2021?
We are very excited and we can’t wait to go there.
If BENDIDA could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I think we are all very big fans of Therion. Even if we play mainly our compositions, sometimes we include one or two cover songs…and we really love to sing To Mega Therion. As we are also fans of beautiful Janika, it would be also great to meet her with her two amazing bands on stage.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Bendida
I put all of my energy focused on Bendida so I don’t have other projects. Our dear keyboardist plays in another band also. The talented violin player performs at the National Opera as well.
What’s up next for Bendida?
Album number – two is done, I’m already dreaming for album number -three 🙂
Any final words of wisdom?
Find enough time for fantasy and wishing, give “food” to your imagination and it will show you unexpected places, always keep the doors opened, a miracle could be just behind the corner, waiting there for you…
Kremena Nikolova • Vocals
Vinnie Atanasov • Guitars, Vocals, Compositions, Arrangements, Orchestrations
Alexander Panayotov • Bass
Vyara Grancharova • Viola da gamba
Bisera Dimitrova • Violin
Ralitsa Georgieva • Keyboard
Velislav Kazakov • Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
Bendida on Facebook