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Interview: IGNITE - Auckland Headline Show

Interview: IGNITE - Auckland Headline Show

Chris Cudby / Thursday 22nd February, 2024 10:47AM

After more than three decades of active duty, Orange County, California punk veterans IGNITE will play their debut Aotearoa headline show this coming Tuesday at Tāmaki Makaurau's Neck Of The Woods. Touring their 2022 self-titled album featuring new lead vocalist Eli Santana (of Holy Grail), IGNITE generously squeezed in the time to answer our rapid-fire questions before their momentous arrival — brought to you by The Syndicate Touring and Sticky Fingaz Tour Management...

Ignite (USA)
with The MurderChord, Synthesis of Self
Tuesday 27th February - Neck Of The Woods, Auckland

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Naming your new album IGNITE after three decades of releases is a powerful statement. Do you feel IGNITE has entered a new era, with the introduction of new recruit Eli Santana as singer on your latest record?

Yes, we definitely wanted this to be our self-titled album. Many bands' first albums are self-titled and this just felt like it was the right time for IGNITE to have a self titled album. It definitely signified a new chapter for the band and a re-birth.

How has IGNITE's latest evolution been received by fans?

You never really know how the fans are going to react to your newest songs. When we were finished with the recording of the album we were very happy and proud of what we had created, but the true test is the fans reaction and response to your music. We have been blown away by the response! It has been so cool to see how open-minded people are regarding Eli singing for IGNITE. I was hoping that the response would be good but it has definitely surpassed all of our expectations!

As a politically engaged group, what issues are currently the forefront for IGNITE?

Eli wrote the lyrics to the song 'This Day' on our latest album and this is what he had to say about it. 'This Day' is an expression of angst and distrust in our leadership and enforcement of its self serving and systemically racist behaviour in our communities. It’s litany of injuries and injustices they have been visited on us and the most vulnerable of our numbers. It’s pissed off, high energy and fills every second of its duration with an urgent message. The oppression and the injustice ends. This day.

What keeps the flames of inspiration burning for IGNITE to keep making new music, for a group that's already achieved so much?

IGNITE started in 1993 as just a fun way for a few guys to get together and write and play music that they liked. There were no expectations of having success, or putting out an album or even touring at that point. We just had the mentality that if you work hard, opportunities will come from that hard work. We were lucky enough to have the chance to go to Europe in 1994 with the band Slapshot and that really opened doors for us, and opened our eyes to what the possibilities were with IGNITE. We also always have believed that the songs you write will create what the legacy of the band is. Luckily we still having fun doing what we all love and as long as that joy is still there we will continue to create new music and tour.

What would you regard as being a pivotal moment in IGNITE's career to date?

There have been a few. 1994, the first European Tour was groundbreaking for us. 2006, Our Darkest Days release was a massive success for us. 2020, our new chapter with Eli began. Those three things were probably the biggest things that have happened for IGNITE.

What was the live scene like in Orange County when IGNITE first emerged there in the early '90s?

Really fun and cool. The '90s were an amazing time to start IGNITE because the whole music scene, not just Orange County, was shifting to a more hard rock based mainstream. In 1991-92 Metallica busted into the mainstream with their Black Album, the entire Seattle scene exploded onto the radio, metal and punk bands like Social Distortion and Pantera were signed to major labels and their songs were being played on MTV and commercial radio. Then in 1993 Tool releases Undertow, Smashing Pumpkins are all over the radio and then Green Day and The Offspring release a couple of the biggest punk albums of all time… that catapulted the punk scene and labels like Epitaph, Fat Wreck, Victory, Vagrant, Roadrunner etc to become powerhouse indie labels. Rock festivals all over the world starting wanting punk / metal and hardcore bands to play their stages. Mainstream magazines started giving these bands notice as well. It was the perfect time to start a hardcore band.

The industry itself has changed dramatically with the advances in technology. I love the fact that people all over the world can stream your music. We see all the different countries around the world where our songs are being listened to and its awesome. We have only played concerts in 50 countries and on Spotify alone there are 130 countries where people are listening to IGNITE.

Any younger groups you're currently digging at the moment, or fresh discoveries?

Drain, Berthold City, Bent Blue, Knife Hands.

What can fans look forward to from IGNITE at your debut New Zealand show in Auckland next week?

Hopefully an amazing time! We don’t care if we play to 10,000 people or 50… we play the same songs with passion no matter the crowd size, it should be a blast!!!


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Ignite (USA)
Tue 27th Feb 7:30pm
Neck of the Woods, Auckland