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Bendida: Quarantine Story

by Ivona Bogner

In Corona Corner, we are asking musicians how the outbreak has effected them, how did they adapt to the situation, what did they learn. Bulgarian Fantasy Metal band Bendida released the second album “First of the Heroes” on March 6th, 2020 via Psychosounds Music.  Kremena Nikolova,  lead vocalist speaks how Corona madness changed their plans.

How are you doing during corona outbreak?
Hi! It’s Kremena Nikolova here – the lead singer of Bulgarian Fantasy Metal Band Bendida.  We are all in good health condition but if we talk about our musical activities, things went totally wrong after Corona-monster appeared. In first days of March 2020 we had BENDIDA -New Album Promotion here in Sofia/ Bulgaria and the next day we had another promotion in Bucharest/Romania because our new album was produced by the Romanian label -“Psychosounds music”.  

What have you cancelled/postponed due coronavirus?
The first thing that we had to change during our new album promotion ” First of the Heroes”, …Well we supposed to have special guest-band coming from Rome/Italy. The gig was perfectly planned but we couldn’t predict the increasing pandemic situation. The border pass for Italians became too problematic, almost impossible and they canceled their trip two days before the concert.

We were lucky anyway and we had cool album promotion, because a week later, all the clubs had to reject concerts and all public activities.

We missed our concert in Niš/Serbia and our whole National BENDIDA – Spring – Tour planned to promote our new album “First of the Heroes”. Another drama was, we couldn’t even send CD and merch orders abroad to our foreign fans, because the post office refused to accept abroad-packages.

How the global coronavirus pandemic is directly impacting bands?
The whole department of music, arts, theater, opera, ballet etc. all these professions that usually give us food for the soul, they suddenly reached the bottom! What happens when a person gets locked at home, watching  horrible news, hearing stories about death all the time?!? Complete depression! In each moment we got some new rules, new low changing all the time. It was quite a depressive period, we weren’t able to see each other with the band-members for several months. Some of Bendida members who basically have their professions in the sphere of music and arts, they had to search for new jobs, trying to survive somehow.

How are you keeping your fans during this chaotic period?
We had only one way to comunicate with our precious Bendida fans and friends and this was the Internet space and social network. As a person responsible for the artwork in the band, I decided to use part of the home-isolation time to make beautiful visualization for each song from the new album. I even managed to produce two lyric videos and everybody is welcome to check them out in Official Bendida YouTube Channel. 

What will metal look like when we re-emerge from isolation?
I hope to see more enthusiast fans after the long term of isolation. I hope to see people hungry for great music and shows. Well I expected to get more interest and more intensive online orders during that period, but actually people were too scared and they have been focused mainly on their physical surviving. After the borders got closed for free traveling, I started to think this way…maybe now is the time for the local fans and local promoters to focus on local rock and metal bands and start to cherish them more and involve them more in Festivals and concerts. Will this happen? Unfortunately nothing like this happened so far! Every day we see news like: ” This and that festival got postponed for the year 2021″.  I guess it happens the same not only in Bulgaria but in the whole world too.

Who will suffer the most after all: musicians, organizers promoters…
Everybody suffers from the quarantine period. People who had lost their only source of getting money, those whose families will starve. There are lots of them in the sphere of music and music promotions. People who made huge cash investment and already payed for pre-orders in the music sphere for the near future, they are probably most suffering because right now the near future is totally covered in mist. Nobody knows when the “Corona horror movie” will end for sure and making of new plans could be risky.

What is your isolation soundtrack?
This quarantine videos became very popular during the period of isolation and of course Bendida also has two of them. We prefere to call it “Home-stage videos”. Here we have such a version for our song ” Desolated sea “. You can see all of Bendida band-members in their homes, sitting on the sofa, looking natural, showing another curious view of him/herself.  

Besides gigs, what/whom do you miss the most?
We miss the concerts, the exciting trips with the band, lovely meeting with the fans, we miss the Freedom. 

Do you have any rehearsals during quarantine? If yes, how do they look like?
We had just several rehearsals during the quarantine, because we are a band of eight people and it wasn’t allowed to gather with more than 2 people in one room.

In Bendida we are almost a small symphonic orchestra of:

Kremena Nikolova – lead, back vocals and choirs

Vinnie Atanasov – guitar, vocals, compositions, lyrics, arrangements

Velislav Kazakow – drums

Ralica Georgieva – keyboards, vocals

Alexander Panayotov – bass

Bisera Dimitrova – violin

Plamen dimitrov – french horn

Viara Grancharova – viola da gamba

Academic choir “Sveta Paraskeva” with leader Galina Lukanova

After the most restricted period went away we, decided to shoot an official video for one of the songs called “Civilization”. The song is one of the six parts from “History of the World”  We made this video in open space, in the yard of magical Bulgarian Fortress called “Peristera” and we are sharing with you a link showing the great result. 

The Video Promotion will be this week. The video-director is Mr Boyan Karamfilov and our precious friends from Academic choir Sveta Paraskeva are taking part in it, audio records, mix and master-Mr Vladimir Bochev, music, lyrics and arrangements – Mr Vinnie Atanasov, stylist – (me) Kremena Nikolova. We have chosen a beautiful pub with garden for the new video promo and a short acoustic set, so it won’t be Corona – dangerous to visit.

Thank you so much for your time. Stay safe!
Thank you for the interesting questions and band-support, best regards from all of us and be safe!

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