Superna - Beats, Breasts and Balls
The Latin origin of the word Superna means "other worldly" or "not from this earth" or "from out of this world." It's also the perfect translation for "hard rockin' guitar music, fronted by a lady."
Their music is not soft. But neither does it punish the guitars and rhythm to the point of using them as crutches. Thought-provoking, stylish like smoking, and mesmerizing when they kick on the amps.
Superna (www.superna.org) is
Melanie Brink - voice
Nick Midulla - guitars
Steve Sharfa - bass
DJ Spinobi - turntables, beats, keys
Rey Garcia - percussion, guitar
Rico Garcia - drums
"...the element of a sex difference plays in our favor to make our music stronger, more diverse and hopefully appealing to more people."
In 1998 they began. Success followed quickly by winning the 1999 Virginia Slims 'dueling divas' competition where they clutched the $5000 grand prize. That same year they performed on the Budweiser sponsored stage at the first Texaco Grand Prix in Houston. From there they played in Japan and started racking up more awards, and began their recording career that has resulted in enough airplay to keep a major label band happy.
Asked about the difficulties of being a male band with a sexy girl lead singer, guitarist Nick Midulla said, "We are into being really original and true to ourselves. Melanie and I write all the music and you could say we have an interesting relationship of mass respect, understanding and loyalty to each other in our music. She is the only musician or singer I have ever played with that actually makes me better and I think she is my biggest fan. There is nothing I can throw at her musically that she won't get or be inspired by.
"I know Melanie - not many people do - she is very complex and smart but she is also a girl too and that can be difficult sometimes. We have been through many band members and things that seemingly would have ended the band, but it has only made us stronger, more unbreakable and more determined. So the element of a sex difference plays in our favor to make our music stronger, more diverse and hopefully appealing to more people."
It's that element of sexual push and pull that might be helping Superna's latest creation, The Ending, become the 14 track success that it is. The music is ponderous, both textural and lyrical, and skates a boundary between hope and hopelessness. There is that slacker element here, riding the harsher musical scope from people who are clutched in the part-time fear of invisible war. Not that the stories in the songs have anything to do with terrorism. But there is a feeling in the pensive quality of the words and the way they clash up against the electric guitars that we are not in control, and we'd better deal with it. There's no better example than 'Damned':
We are all damned.
I scream aloud.
Who can stop or who can save me now?
Life, destiny calls, when did I fall?
Nick: "Musically, it's a heavier album in general than Reflect. All 15 songs on The Ending are intense, chorus driven and have better overall vocal hooks with easier to understand and relatable subject matter. Reflect had some ambient pieces on it and a remix techno version of one of our songs, it's a tad more experimental than The Ending. The songs on this one are a little more streamlined and rocking. We also were commissioned to write songs for a upcoming animated movie which gave me inspiration as well. I produced both albums but The Ending was not as rushed as Reflect, I had more time to get things right with the mixes and make adjustments.
"We strive for a great live show based on a professional and cool attitude toward other bands and the venue. We understand the promotion, business and marketing that needs to happen for our success. We are very energetic live."
"Overall, The Ending is punchier and louder and has better sound quality than the first album. I am recording and producing and engineering all the time here at my studio and I am booked solid, mainly based on the quality of Reflect. Bands want me to make them sound as good as us. Reflect is a great album but The Ending is better because there are 5 more songs on it for the same price!... ha ha... Seriously, we feel The Ending is very poignant and timely with what's happening in the world today."
But what are they trying to say with their music? "Modern music that moves you, Mind and Body! We're not too heavy, but some songs are heavy enough for the metal- heads, some you can relax and take a bath to. We are diverse, you won't be bogged down by the same sound style or style of vocals in every song. There is contrast within our songwriting and within each song. Not just riffs, not just power chords, not just strumming. We have a lot of color in our music.
"Melanie is so versatile she can sing pretty, little girl, low and growly, totally aggressive, rap and hip-hop, soul, jazzy, she can even do opera and chant. Elements of Classical guitar, Jazz guitar, Flamenco, fingerstyle, shred, rock, metal, pop, electronic music and samples as well as acoustic guitar that yield both simple songs and complex songs. Also, percussion and a DJ, keyboards too. The drums are really diverse and at times very complicated. The bass guitar style is not one-dimensional either, fingers, popping, bass chords, even pick playing sometimes. Interesting beats and odd-time that does not seem so odd.
"Like, for instance, our title track to our new CD, you would not know that was a rolling 7/4 time signature. That song is our single and it has a bit of everything we do. Great vocals and hooks, acoustic and heavy guitars, electronica, percussion, tight drums and guitar leads all in an odd-time format that feels and grooves at the same time. This answer sounds overwhelming but overall, we keep everything grounded on good songwriting and hooks with interesting and musical changes."
So they don't have to cover. The band's catalog is extensive and varied enough to get people into the clubs and bars just on the fact that they can get pissed to this original sound. "Some of our stuff is really well produced and we practice hard to pull it off live. We strive for a great live show based on a professional and cool attitude toward other bands and the venue. We understand the promotion, business and marketing that needs to happen for our success. We are very energetic live. Melanie is simply incredible and her sex appeal and stage presence is captivating. There are not as much back up vocals live.
"I have over 15 effects that I control with my feet as well as a foot controlled sampler so everything will sound like the record. It's very complicated to pull it all off and we have been rehearsing quite a lot for our return to the stage this August 9th. I attack the guitar like no other, doing things very unconventional and fresh, our DJ has style and we have lots of interesting and talented players to look at with a lot going on, and we are always a hit with the ladies, including and especially Mel."
In their genre, Superna is going only up. "Right now are plans are simple. Sell CD's and to get back on the road and make up for lost time, all we need is to be seen and everything else will hopefully fall into place."
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