I recently had a chance to sit down with Zoë Federoff (vocals/songwriting) and Dave Ablaze (bass/backing vocals) from Melodic/Symphonic/Power Metal group INSATIA. I’ve known Zoë a long time and our schedules just never seemed to line up until now. This was a real treat for me, and I think the name INSATIA is gonna be a big one, especially when their upcoming sophomore album Phoenix Aflame comes out later this year. So, sit back and enjoy our crazy convo where we talk Power Metal, vigilante justice, and…SHARKNADO??
Amps: So, how’s things?
Dave: Things are interesting. It’s never bad, because even when things are a little bit bad you can still get something out of it.
Zoë: Wow, that was deep. That was way deeper than I was going with it (laughs).
Amps: What’s happening in INSATIA-land? When am I gonna get Phoenix Aflame in my greedy little hands?!? “Sacred” is an excellent track and I want more.
Zoë: Well, the band went on tour for the first time last year and that was a lot of fun. We did a six-city mini-tour and it was a huge learning experience. That was when Dave joined us as a guest on bass and then I asked him to join permanently.
The album will be out in the spring, and we now have a booking agent and manger, Milton Mendonca from Infinity Concerts. He is now managing us and handling all of our booking which we’re very excited about. We have a couple of record label offers on the table that we’re weighing out, but the record WILL be out in spring, and we’re really stoked about that. We’re also finally allowed to talk about some album guests. We have Apollo Papathanasio (ex-FIREWIND), we have Christopher Amott from ARMAGEDDON. He did an amazing solo on one of the tracks, we have Erica James who did the violin work on “Sacred” and we have Cris Hermsdörfer from SERENITY playing all the guitars on the record. It’s a really well-rounded guest list, so we’re excited!
Amps: Dave, what do you think of all that’s happening?
Dave: When Zoë first sent me tracks to practice for the mini-tour I got really scaled-down versions with no orchestration or anything. And I was like, “Yeah, this is cool. I can play this for a couple of days.” And then I started to get really into the swing of it, and the live essence on tour, and as I started getting the more finished versions I got more and more excited. Now hearing what it’s going to sound like for the next live shows, it’s gonna be great, and stand toe-to-toe with a lot of peers in the genre. I can’t wait to get in the ring with ’em, so to speak.
Amps: What are you looking forward to most this year? Getting the record out, touring, or both?
Zoë: Wow, for me I am so excited to finally get this album out because it’s been a long time coming. It’s gonna feel great. I’m also excited about getting back on the road becasue I’m at the point where the road is more home to me than the place I was born (laughs). Milton is taking great care of us, holy cow!
Dave: I’m excited about hitting the road and meeting new people. I’ve been lucky enough to cross the U.S. and Canada and all the amazing people I’ve met on tour made it such a wonderful experience. So the prospect of going and doing it again and meeting a whole new group of people and having those new experiences with INSATIA is really exciting. The possibilities of bands we could be able to tour with and new places we could go are the promise of a new adventure.
Amps: Was everything already tracked by the time tapes got to Dave, or did you do any writing together?
Zoë: Dave didn’t get to write on this one. He came on when we were finishing up the mix. But on the next record I’m sure we will. Live he’s definitely playing the material with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Dave has a lot of presence onstage and that’s not something you can fabricate. It’s very impressive for sure.
Amps: What are you listening to right now?
Zoë: Well Dave knows one of my favorite bands is POETS OF THE FALL, from Finland, and I listen to them every day. They’re some of the most interesting writers, especially lyrically, that I’ve ever encountered. A lot of ARCH ENEMY and CARACH ANGREN as well. The harsher vocal bands have been high up on my list lately.
Dave: For me it’s recently been an unhealthy amount of CHILDREN OF BODOM. They’re my favorite metal band and the ones that inspired me to take my playing to the next level. I’m primarily a guitar player and I try to take what I can from Alexi Laiho’s style.
Amps: Waitaminnit, Zoë…did anyone call KAMELOT and let them know you’re cheating on them??
Zoë: (Laughing) I love KAMELOT and I listen to them all the time. They are definitely my favorite power metal band, but you have to appreciate the artistry in every single genre.
Amps: What were your Albums of the Year for 2015?
Zoë: Man, it’s close for me but I have to say Haven from KAMELOT. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Dave: I will actually second that.
Amps: Looking ahead, what’s next for INSATIA? What is the vision?
Zoë: Well, through Milton, we have gotten the opportunity to work with some bands we are very excited to play with and tour with. We can’t name drop at this point, but, to put it bluntly, we’re getting to work with our heroes. That’s an incredible gift, and we plan to be the most proactive American band in the genre. We want to be the most active, busy, American band in Power Metal, and we’ll see how that goes. This is more than a job, it’s a lifestyle choice for us.
Dave: It’s gonna be great to work with our heroes, see a million faces and rock ’em all, so to speak. If we’re able to really deliver our music live the way it feels on CD to the people then I feel good things can come of this. I’m very excited to see where things go.
Amps: Zoë, last summer you never RSVP’d to my SHARKNADO 3 party, something I’m still smarting over. Have you finally learned to embrace the SHARKNADOS for how awesome they are? We can marathon 1-4 this year if you like…
Zoë: (Laughing) I don’t think I’ve had enough wine today to answer that in a courteous manner!!
Amps: Who would be your dream band to share the stage with that you haven’t yet?
Dave: That’s a HUGE list for me. AMARANTHE would be one for me, I love them.
Zoë: KAMELOT, of course. And also EPICA and AMARANTHE.
Amps: If you weren’t musicians what do you think you’d be doing?
Dave: Right now I’m a skilled tradesman. I’m a carpenter, so building or fixing something is really how I like spending my time. Even if in the best case scenario INSATIA blows up when I come off the road I’ll still be like, “Who needs their house fixed? Who needs a floor laid down?”, you know? It’s something I can’t see myself ever stopping.
Zoë: I’d be doing vigilante justice, probably with an icepick. I am very fascinated by the process of killing in the name of justice. And maybe substitute teaching as well. Teacher by day, vigilante killer by night?
Amps: Zoë, you’ve been through a lot for this band. To see everything falling into place now has to feel pretty good, no?
Zoë: This whole thing has taught me that I really do believe in miracles, and I believe in things happening for a reason. I believe the pendulum swings the same distance in both directions. And that for all the struggles and challenges, the rewards have completely blown my mind. And if this was the price we had to pay to have what we have now, it was well-paid for sure.
Amps: What would you like to say to all the INSATIA fans out there worldwide?
Zoë: thank you so much for your faith in this American band. Thank you for supporting us over the last couple of years. We’ve gotten to meet a lot of you and hear from so many of you, and we’re glad that this music has spoken to you in the way we intended it to. Thank you so, so much for listening, and we can’t wait to meet more of you on the road.
Dave: I second that. Also, your patience will be rewarded because we’re gonna come at you with a bunch of fuckin’ killer tracks and rock your faces off.
I said it before and I’ll say it again. INSATIA…remember that name, people. 2016 promises to bring some big things their way, and I encourage each and every one of you to check out the band’s music, past and forthcoming. All hail INSATIA!!