Superna ‘ROCKS’ ~ Fireworks Magazine UK Exclusive Interview
by Nicky Balderain for Fireworks Magazine UK
From Houston, Texas, we find female fronted prog rock artists Superna, who have a astounding new sixteen track CD out now called ‘The Ancient Future’ that is well worth exploring and full of charisma. The album runs in at just over an hour long and is the band’s fourth release. The band are Nick Midulla - guitars, bass, drums and Melanie Brink - vocals, keyboards, and their live band features Steve Sharfa- bass, Rey Garcia - rhythm guitar and Rico Garcia on drums. The talent Superna show is second to none, they have put together a superbly crafted album with a top notch production that crosses modern rock, melodic rock and progressive rock genres, and it is wonderfully diverse. Nick Midulla is a seasoned guitarist, and singer Melanie Brink works the song with passion and flare. She has a fabulous range and covers a whole range of styles throughout the album.
Singer Melanie Brink has always found music to be massive part of her life and she started performing on stage at two years of age, and playing piano at five.“It always just seemed like something I was supposed to be doing. When I entered college in the early 90’s I felt a loss my sense of direction, and I really didn’t know what I wanted my future to look like,” explains Melanie. She went to a local venue one night, and a cover band was playing and they were destroying one of her favourite tunes, and since no one was at the club, she felt it was ok to walk up to the singer and loudly sing the correct words to him so he would immediately stop butchering the lyrics. “He finally just handed me the mic, and so I grabbed it and subsequently opened Pandora’s Box,” she smiles. They hired Melanie that night to sing the female fronted songs with them, and it wasn’t long before she felt the need to front her own project. “I eventually did that and played covers for a few years, until I met Nick. I was auditioning guitar players because my current one couldn’t commit to a full time band, and Nick was the first guitar player I tried out. I never wanted to hear anyone else after I heard Nick play, I knew instantly he was the one... and we have been non-stop rocking full time since that day,” she adds.
Guitarist/producer Nick Midulla has drawn inspiration from all types of music his whole life and he has always been drawn to music that had interesting and creative guitar lines and sounds. Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Pink Floyd and Yes to name a few were always inspiring for Nick because of their diverse styles using heavy guitars and acoustic guitars throughout their music. “I bring that mindset to our music and that is reflected on ‘The Ancient Future’. I wanted the album to ebb and ow from song to song with each song being its own creation and not just a bunch of similar sounding songs,” Nick explains to me. On sixteen songs he used over twenty different guitars, acoustic, classical, Les Pauls, Strats and Teles, hollow body’s and fretted and fretless bass to allow him to incorporate different musical styles within the songs. “For me it’s like painting with many colours and being free to create a complete album with no limitations,” he tells me.
Music encompasses Melanie’s entire life and she has an overwhelming sense of disconnection when her life’s background track is not playing. “I also love and appreciate each moment I can spend with my family. I have two very creative sons that keep the daily routine fun and they are always inspiring me. Other than my insatiable, fierce hunger to learn anything new, I’m just a regular girl. I love physics, metaphysics, philosophy, history, space, art, consciousness ... honestly, any original creative idea can easily grab my full attention and I am constantly adjusting my life to go with that flow,” she says. Superna is truly different in many ways. The band has a unique and talented front lady who commands the stage with confidence and sings with power and attitude. “Mel’s lyrics are also deep and thought provoking, never spoon feeding cheesy topics down your throat,” enthuses Nick “I believe our use of Latin, jazz, hard rock and metal music styles in non cookie cutter song structures give our music an air of unpredictability and intrigue which also sets us apart,” Superna thrive on diversity in their music and in the band which consists of heritages of Cajun, Italian, Mexican and a Middle Eastern, all of which helps to bring in different cultural in uences to their music, and with this they have created a wonderful album that crosses musical paths with progressive rock, melodic hard rock whilst remaining current and full of fire.
Their newest album is ‘The Ancient Future’ features sixteen songs that the band has finally been able to produce up to their extremely particular standards. “We’ve had so many experiences where we weren’t in full control of the process, and have always had the idea in the back of our minds that we would have the chance to get them produced correctly one day.,” Melanie explains to me. That day came about three years ago when Nick built his own studio to his exact music nerd specifications. “We approached it with the idea that we were just going to start recording the songs like we wanted them to sound, and see what happens. Some new songs were written, and we mixed in some reboots of some of our older material, and when we finally decided to compile what we had done into a complete project, we had 16 incredible masterpieces to introduce to the world. Nick did such an amazing job on this production, that it has fuelled our desire to continue creating, and to push ourselves even further progressively to see what we can manifest,” she says.
The album was recorded and produced by Nick at his professional studio that he built below his home. “I live in Hollywood California and Mel lives two hours away in the mountains. We took our time on this record, it took three years roughly,” explains Nick. Sixteen songs takes an enormous amount of work and at times he found that it was overwhelming, Nick would get the music ready and Mel would come down to sing on tracks on weekends. “The biggest challenge was finishing a song and being 100% satisfied with every aspect of it. Sometimes a song would require twenty to thirty mixes, re recording parts, tweaking lyrics and pouring over all the details. The entire process was a labour of love and we are so proud of how ‘The Ancient Future’ came out,” he says with satisfaction.
The band’s plans for the future have always been: ‘To rock and to kick ass’. “It is a light-hearted way of describing our philosophy, but we do have an intensely serious outlook on everything we create,” says Melanie. “So much time, effort, and energy goes into manifesting something out of an idea...and we take it very seriously. We plan on moving forward, relaxing into the momentum, going with the ow... we say yes to every opportunity that feels positive, and we follow every lead to more clearly illuminate our path. We have no idea where the path leads, but we are excited and grateful for the adventure. Wherever we end up, I know we will be so appreciative of this grand musical adventure. I’ve always felt that this journey is our destination, and as long as we can be grateful for our experience we will ride gracefully downstream towards exciting and unimaginable possibilities that we are more than eager to explore,” she concludes.
"This is music with spirit, a true soul and a desire to reach the pure rock heart that is within us all. It touches the soul on so many levels and is quite difficult to clearly define due to the multiple levels it works on. Complex without being “widdly”, this band are reaching out to a Prog audience who are open minded enough to understand where the genre is going. C’mon guys, check out the dictionary definition of “Progressive” – I believe the concept of “forward thinking” comes into it somewhere, a willingness to push the boundaries and explore new ideas and concepts – On that basis, Superna deliver on many levels." .... (cont.)