Regna, the progressive rock band from Barcelona, has recently made waves with their debut full-length album, “Cinema.” This musical journey reflects the band’s evolution from their conceptual EP “Meridian,” showcasing an honest and concise exploration of their distinctive DNA.
The album, though not strictly conceptual, delves into common themes such as fear, loneliness, and the pursuit of emotional shelter, ultimately culminating in its collapse. Drawing inspiration from a spectrum of influences, including American prog’s powerhouse approach, the refined melodies of the seventies, and the melancholic atmospheres of Scandinavian folk, Regna has forged a sound that exudes genuine and forceful style with nostalgic undertones.
Keyboardist and songwriter Miquel Gonzalez Sanchez speaks for Prog Sphere following the band’s inclusion on the “Progstravaganza: Harmony in Complexity” compilation.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your musical journey. How did you get started in the world of progressive rock?
I’ve listened to progressive rock my whole life, so it was natural that, when I started writing ideas, they had a progressive rock type of arrangement. That’s also the case with Alex and Xavi, Regna’s guitar players.
But talking about the band featured here, Regna: the rest of the guys started playing together in highschool, but soon after I joined them. Marc, our singer, came into the picture very quickly and we’ve been a weird case throughout our life as a band: we played here and there, but songwriting has been the driving force of the project.
Let’s dive into the featured track on the compilation. Can you share the inspiration or story behind “Tangent”?
We were trying to have an intro as powerful as “In Darkest Dreams”, by the band The Tangent, and through the writing process that’s what was called: Tangent. Eventually, the name stuck, but Xavi, our lyricist, found a way to use that concept in the song.
It has very few musical motifs, but they are constantly spinning on themselves and twisting around, and that gave us the image of a stubborn idea converging itself into an obsession in someone’s mind. To me, it feels a lot like Kansas, Spock’s Beard and that sort of US symphonic prog writing style. It’s a very unique piece in our repertoire.
Walk us through your creative process. How do you typically approach writing and composing music? What was your creative process like for your recent album “Cinema” in comparison to your previous efforts?
We usually write the same way: Alex, Xavi and myself throw a bunch of ideas around and come up with a good sequencing which feels like a complete idea. Then, we work that sequence with Eric and Arturo, the rhythm section, and at that point we see what ideas work better in a band setting. Then, we work with Marc the vocal arrangements first, and the lyrics second. At every point of the process the whole group shares their opinion, and we aren’t afraid to go back to square one in favor of having everyone 100% on board. It’s a long process, but it’s an easy and natural one as well.
Who or what are your major influences in progressive rock? How do they impact your own musical style?
Genesis has been my favorite band since pre-school, so I would say they are my biggest influence in life! [laughs] But, as a band, I would say we are influenced by Camel or Spock’s Beard as much as by Kansas or Änglagård. Every member brings his influences to the melting pot, and we feel much richer by that.
What challenges have you faced as an artist in the scene, and how have you overcome them?
As I said earlier, we’re a weird species. To us, the songwriting has been always the driving force, and that has kept us a little bit away of the scene. That could be a negative statement, but we like to walk at our own speed.
How do you see the scene evolving, and what role do you believe your music plays in that evolution?
It’s weird, because nowadays, we’re back to a more passive way of listening to music. Nowadays, the big 3-hour playlist/compilation/radio program seems to be the preferred way to listen to music, mainly because we’re focused on so many things that we can’t think of looking for stuff. That’s why TikTok and Twitch are winning over YouTube or Twitter.
Share with us some of the most memorable moments in your musical journey so far.
The first days of recording Cinema were like living a dream. We enjoyed the process so much after spending that much time working on those songs and seeing how they come alive…
Do you have a personal favorite among your own compositions? If so, which one and why?
It’s funny, because each member of the band has a different favorite song among the Regna catalog. Since I’m the one answering this interview, I would say “Spyglass,” the other single from Cinema, is my proudest moment on the album… but it was outvoted in the inclusion of this compilation. Maybe it could appear on the next sampler?
Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
Right now we’re totally focused on bringing Cinema to as many stages as possible. We’re working on a detailed live show and I hope we could reach a city near all of you.
That being said, we’re already working on new tunes and ideas. The creative juices aren’t drying anytime soon!
What does it mean to you to be a part of our compilation? How has the experience been for you?
It’s great to be featured around such a diverse and eclectic collection of musicians, bands and projects. I’m sure it will benefit all of us!
Is there a message you’d like to convey to your fans who will be discovering your music through this compilation?
Hi! Thanks for listening to “Tangent”! We hope you liked our style of songwriting and that you get curious enough to look for the rest of the album. And, if that’s not the case, feel free to skip us!
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would it be?
Honestly? I would love to record some keyboards for Arjen A. Lucassen.
If you had to pick one instrument (besides your primary one) to master, what would it be?
Well, as a keyboard player, I’ll die as a frustrated drummer, so that one!
What’s your all-time favorite progressive rock album, and why? One album that you always return to.
To me, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is the apex of what progressive rock music was all about: excess, density, darkness and, in a sense, failure. It’s not a perfect album, but that makes it even more perfect. I’ll die on that hill!
Are there non-musical influences that find their way into your music? (e.g., literature, art, science)
I have to say that the approach of Fumito Ueda to his medium has been a bigger influence that what I was anticipating.
Any final thoughts or reflections you’d like to share with our audience?
This has been a wild period for us, seeing how our album is being received, and we couldn’t be happier. We hope you join us for the rest of the ride, because we have plenty of steam!
Where can our audience find more about you and your music?