Originally a one-man project by Slovenian musician Matic Blagonič, Hei’An has now evolved into a veritable collective of keen artists striving to bring Slovenian metal into our heads and hearts – successfully so! The band, who likes to think of their output as Post-Progressive-Metal, impressively manages to balance out both heavy sounds and tender emotions blossoming across a field of arcane post-metal-esque landscapes. Through the inspiration of names such as Alcest, Leprous or Together To The Stars, especially listeners of dreamy and deep metal songs will highly appreciate the upcoming album imago. The first single “inferno“ summarizes the band’s energy and approaches the topic just perfectly. We had a chat with the bandleader and songwriter, Matic Blagonič.
The band actually started out as a one-man project, I have started it, hence my stage name, Hei’An (which is also simultaneously the name of the band as a whole). I write music all the time, always have, and when the first COVID-19 lockdown came and I suddenly had a bunch of extra time on my hands, I decided to turn my ideas into a full album, I came up with the concept for it, the name, the name Hei’An, etc., polished the arrangements a bit and began recording a couple of songs on my own, in my bedroom, with the plan at the time being that it would be a bedroom production kind of album.
I quickly involved Gaj, our drummer, into the whole thing, to help me mix these early songs (I didn’t know that much about mixing at the time). He also recorded some drums then.
I posted two of these songs on YouTube and got more views than I expected, which led both me and Gaj to decide that we need to do this properly – find a full band, book a proper recording studio, and get a professional to mix it, etc.
We decided the album was worth it and deserved it in a way. The first person we got into the band was Matevž, our guitarist, and then we got a bass player and a keyboard player, but they both left pretty quickly due to their busy schedules. Peter, our bassist, soon stepped in and the four of us together instantly clicked, we get along extremely well, musically as a band, and privately as friends, so we knew right away that this lineup would work perfectly for us (as far as the synths go, we decided to create and use backing tracks). And to answer where we’ve met – me, Gaj, and Matevž all used to attend the Conservatory of Music in Ljubljana, so we met there, and Peter started teaching there as well, despite his really young age, so we met him there as well. And the rest is history. (smiles)
Behind the name:
The idea for the name was suggested to me by a person that’s very dear to me, probably the most important person in my life, who speaks Chinese, and the name Hei’An comes from the Chinese language. So, the name is made from two syllables, one means “darkness” and one means “sleeping”, “ominous” even, so Hei’An basically means “ominous darkness”. The spelling is not 100% accurate, I think it should be Hei an, but stylistically, I really liked the ‘ sign and the upper-case A. So, since the suggestion came from that specific person, I like the meaning and I like the sound of it, I decided to go with it. (smiles)
As far as what inspires us, maybe it’s a generic answer, but it’s true, so I’ll say it anyway – everything inspires us. The people we love, the people we love a little less (just in different ways), every moment we go through, good or bad, everything that we see, hear, touch, and feel… In terms of bands, we actually listen to a lot of different music, from metal to jazz, rock, electronic music, fusion, etno, hip hop, so a lot of different stuff… But the bands that inspire Hei’An the most would probably be post-metal/post-rock bands like Alcest, Together To The Stars, There’s A Light, Deafheaven, etc., progressive metal bands like TesseracT, Leprous, Intervals, Sólstafir, and metalcore bands like Architects, Northlane… Stuff like that.
I get musical ideas all the time – little fragments of lyrics, melodies, chord progressions, riffs that I either write down or quickly record on my phone and then eventually put them together in my DAW, and build songs around them. Where exactly these little ideas come from, who knows.
I found it surprisingly hard to try and describe our music in 5 words, haha, but if I try really hard, this is what I think of: emotional, melodic, melancholic, sad, yet hopeful. Like going through a dark tunnel but clearly seeing (and approaching) the light at the end of it.Describe your music in five words!
As far as our creative process goes, I write all the songs (the lyrics, melodies, chord progressions, and riffs), then I come up with the basic ideas for beats, basslines, and other arrangement stuff, but we finish the arrangements together, I, of course, allow (and encourage!) for everyone to have their own creative input, to add their own personal touch, because I feel like the songs breathe more that way, and the sum of all of our ideas always elevate the songs to a whole new level. With “imago”, our debut, Matej (our producer) also had some great ideas for the arrangements that were really small but added a lot to the songs, and of course, Randy Slaugh added his touch with the orchestrations and additional programming, and everyone else involved (the backing vocalist, the percussions, the featuring artists) added their own touch. And that’s pretty much it. (smiles)
I’d just like to add that we are immensely thankful and humbled for each and every person who has listened and/or will listen to our first single “inferno”, and for everyone that liked it! Feel free to check out our social media pages (all links on our website) to stay up to date with everything!