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Fanning The Flames: An Exclusive Interview With ANDREW DíCAGNA Of IRONFLAME

By George Dionne, Podcaster
Tuesday, June 7, 2022 @ 11:17 AM


ďPutting labels on bands always seems to do the bands a disserviceĒ

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Ohio-based Heavy Metal act IRONFLAME is set to release their fouth full-length album on July 1, 2022 entitled Where Madness Dwells. While IRONFLAME is primarily the brainchild of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Andrew DíCagna, he gets by with a little help from his friends when he takes the act on the road. DíCagna described this venture as ďthe music I want to hear as a Heavy Metal fan.Ē I had the chance to speak with DíCagna ahead of the albumís release.

KNAC.COM: If I knew absolutely nothing about IRONFLAME, how would you describe the bandís music to me?

DíCAGNA: I have noticed that we get labeled and lumped in with a movement referred to as NWOTHM (New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal). I donít necessarily dislike or disagree with this term, but putting labels on bands always seems to do the bands a disservice. I believe that IRONFLAME is a modern Heavy Metal band with traditional values. There seems to be a current trend of bands who really want to sound and look like their forefathers, which isnít necessarily a bad thing.

I just don't think we realistically fit into that category. We are indeed Heavy Metal, no doubt about that, but we arenít afraid to incorporate more modern elements to our music. Classic Metal is great and I adore it, but I also realize that it is currently 2022 and not 1983. Why limit yourself? I think thatís the main difference that sets us apart from other bands in the genre.

KNAC.COM: When did IRONFLAME form and how did the project come together?

DíCAGNA: The concept of IRONFLAME was conceived in October 2016 after the sudden passing of a good friend of mine. He was a great Metal vocalist himself. The event of his passing affected me greatly and put a lot of things into perspective for me. I realized I hadnít used my voice for Heavy Metal in many years and felt he would be disappointed in me for neglecting it. So I decided to write and record a Heavy Metal album in his honor, which became our debut album. I only intended it to be a one-time solo project album, but people listened and really seemed to like it. Eventually, enough of my friends encouraged me to take it to the next level and make it an active live band.

KNAC.COM: Was there something that inspired the bandís name?

DíCAGNA: The name was also chosen by friends. I remember narrowing my ideas down to three band names. I pitched the names to close friends and more people chose IRONFLAME than any other, so thatís what I went with. Please don't ask what the other names were because I honestly cannot remember! The name itself is symbolic: I wanted to carry the torch of Heavy Metal for my fallen friend.

KNAC.COM: IRONFLAMEís fourth studio album Where Madness Dwells will be released on July 1, 2022. This marks a shift in lyrical content and overall atmosphere for the band. What has changed and why?

DíCAGNA: This album is much less like the first album and Blood Red Victory, which are more uplifting/triumphant sounding albums that lyrically focus on epic fantasy themes. Where Madness Dwells is more atmospherically similar to Tales of Splendor and Sorrow which is a darker, more serious sounding album. What sets it apart from all the others is that I chose to write lyrics based more on realistic things going on around me and drench them in metaphor.

Musically, there is a notable shift in the song structures themselves. I purposefully strayed from my usual formula of relying on guitar harmonies as the main hook for each song, in favor of a more riff-based approach. There are noticeably less vocal harmonies present as well. I wanted a more stripped down, back-to-basics feel for this one and I feel I achieved that.

KNAC.COM: Even though IRONFLAME is a band in live form, you personally handle all of the instruments and vocals on Where Madness Dwells. Was this due to availability issues or something else?

DíCAGNA: Truth is, Iíve always done it this way, and the formula works, so why change it? As I stated before, it began as a solo project so I just kept using the same formula to write and record. A lot of bands work this way nowadays, like MIDNIGHT and HIGH SPIRITS for example. It was merely circumstantial, but I don't see myself doing things differently any time soon.

KNAC.COM: The first promotional single/video from the new album is ďKingdom of LiesĒ. Could you discuss the meaning behind the song?

DíCAGNA: ďKingdom of LiesĒ is a lyrical allegory for the political climate that surrounded me during the time I was making the album. It was an election year and the country was divided. Lots of propaganda and misinformation flying around. A lot of rhetoric and hyperbole. Everyone clung tenaciously to their respective sides and waved their flags fiercely. Iíve not seen such internal division in my lifetime. I am not a politically motivated person whatsoever but the situation had reached such a fevered pitch that it affected me enough to write about it.

KNAC.COM: What will be the next song advanced from the album and what is the meaning behind that?

DíCAGNA: The next single is entitled ďA Funeral WithinĒ. This one is definitely the most lyrically personal track on the album. It deals with the death of my best friend who lost his battle with cancer in early 2020. I have dealt with death many times and I am no stranger to the grieving process, but this one was different. We were so close, and he was such a powerful person in my life and our respective community, the sense of loss was immense. I used this song to help me process his passing and exorcise all of the personal demons that came with it. Definitely not a happy song, but it was necessary and cathartic for me. Of all the people who have heard the album already, a few have told me that this song is their favorite so far.

KNAC.COM: How did you get your record deal with High Roller Records?

DíCAGNA: I have wanted to work with High Roller for quite some time now. I actually reached out to them before the release of our previous album. They were kind enough to respond and let me know that their roster was full at the time. I decided to reach out again once Where Madness Dwells was completed and thankfully, the timing was right this time. We consider it an honor to work with such a highly respected label.

KNAC.COM: Youíd have to be deaf to not hear the IRON MAIDEN influence on this album. What was it about the band that drew you in as a fan?

DíCAGNA: IRON MAIDEN was the very first Heavy Metal band I ever heard, so I suppose their influence on me was inevitable. It was 1988 and their Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album had just been released. I acquired it on cassette from another kid in the neighborhood. From the first acoustic strum and the bard-like melody ďSeven deadly sins....Ē, I was hooked. When the full-on barrage of ďMoonchildĒ kicked in, there was no turning back. I was a fan for life. Itís still one of the best pieces of music I have ever heard.

KNAC.COM: Have you ever met anyone in the band?

DíCAGNA: Iíve not met a member of IRON MAIDEN, yet. I was however fortunate enough to catch one of Bruce Dickinsonís live spoken word performances earlier this year and it was very enjoyable. I had a very good seat and he was quite entertaining. I do have a connection to IRON MAIDEN via my friend and guitarist Quinn [Lukas], who was part of PAUL DIíANNOís touring band for a few years.

KNAC.COM: IRONFLAME has been playing select dates in the States and has some festivals on the horizon. Is there a particular show youíre looking forward to?

DíCAGNA: I have a blast at every show we play no matter what, though I must admit I am particularly looking forward to performing at Headbangers Open Air this summer. Itís a great festival Iíve been wanting to be a part of for years now. I am fortunate enough to be performing twice with two different bands this year. It has been planned since 2019 so we have waited a long time to make this happen.

KNAC.COM: Do you prefer festivals vs. solo dates or the other way around?

DíCAGNA: Iím sure every musician you ask this question to will give you a different answer. As far as I am concerned, festivals are cooler than solo dates but touring is cooler than playing a festival. Festivals are fun because the bill is always stacked with great bands and itís a great place to reunite with old friends. But to me, nothing compares to loading up the van and hitting the road for a week or two. Touring makes it feel like youíre living the dream, no matter how humble the circumstances may be. Itís also a long-lasting bonding experience for all the band members. I wouldnít trade tour memories for anything.

KNAC.COM: Have you had any SPINAL TAP moments on the road that you would care to share?

DíCAGNA: Haha! I mean, none of my bandmates take ourselves (or life) too seriously. We joke around constantly and act like clowns so we are kind of like SPINAL TAP from a comedic standpoint. Aside from that, I cannot say that we have ever found ourselves in a SPINAL TAP situation. We never get lost from the green room to the stage and none of our stage props ever turned out much tinier than expected.

KNAC.COM: Youíve been a member of BRIMSTONE COVEN since 2011. Your last album was 2020ís The Woes of Mortal Earth. Anything new on the horizon?

DíCAGNA: Yep! BRIMSTONE COVEN has been working hard on new material for well over a year now. We are almost ready to hit the studio and start tracking a new album. I predict we will begin the recording process by the beginning of 2023.

KNAC.COM: You joined ICARUS WITCH in 2017. Your last album was 2018ís Goodbye Cruel World. Will there be new material in the future?

DíCAGNA: Absolutely. ICARUS WITCH has also been hard at work demoing new material the past year or so. We currently have enough material to record a full-length album. IRONFLAMEís live drummer Noah [Skiba] has recently joined the ICARUS WITCH fold as our new fulltime drummer, which we are super excited about. The plan is to start recording the new album in the fall.

KNAC.COM: Any other music projects on the horizon for you?

DíCAGNA: I have been a member of the classically influenced Black Metal band NECHOCHWEN since 2010. I play bass and drums for NECHOCHWEN, as well as engineer all of the recordings. We just released a new album in May entitled Kanawha Black on Bindrune Recordings. NECHOCHWEN will be performing atFire in the Mountains Fest this July.

www.facebook.com/IronflameUSA


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