Sergio Medina and Donovan Melero have worked diligently throughout their careers to earn reputations as hard rock innovators. Medina’s next level guitar work and intricate arrangements in Stolas were integral to the band’s status as a beloved cult favorite and pivotal to the expansion of progressive rock. Melero has led Hail The Sun to a revered position at the forefront of the scene built on musical dynamism and a knack for raw, emotional connectivity. When the longtime friends came together as members of the experimental rock supergroup, Sianvar, a partnership was forged that pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the genre. As they launch Nova Charisma, the artistic limitations they’ve always bucked against are little more than specks in their rearview.
With such a strong chemistry already established, it’s no surprise that Medina and Melero were on a plane to London to begin work on Nova Charisma just four days after Sianvar disbanded in early 2019. By leaving the familiarity of their California homes, they were able to clear their minds and start the writing process from a place far outside their comfort zone. By the time they left London’s Shoreditch neighborhood a little over two weeks later, they had laid the groundwork for the foundation of a sound unlike anything they’d ever written.
While Nova Charisma is definitively Medina and Melero, they had some familiar collaborators for the launch of the project. For pre-production, the duo worked with Hail The Sun’s touring drummer, Allen Casillas, and Medina’ bandmate in Stolas, Carlos Marquez, was also pivotal in establishing the sound of the band throughout the writing and recording processes. Once the songs were ready to be tracked, the two headed to Baltimore to work with producer Brian McTernan (Circa Survive, Thrice) on what would become their three song debut, Exposition I. The resulting composition serves as a perfect introduction to a project that is sure to generate massive excitement over what Medina and Melero are capable of as writing partners.
For Medina, Nova Charisma offers the chance to challenge himself as a writer outside of the technical proficiency of his signature style as he aimed to craft songs built around simpler instrumentation and arrangements. Melero also found new challenges with Nova Charisma as it offered him a clean slate on which to write. He was able to create a new persona for the project that explored a different side of his own personality, both lyrically and melodically.
When experienced together, Exposition I serves as an in-depth analysis of character. “Lies Animals Tell” explores the need to be cautious about the relationships you place value on over an ethereal soundscape and layers of soaring vocal melodies and meandering guitars. “Boomerang” is a reminder that owning up to your past wrongdoings is the only way to truly achieve closure. It’s the most upbeat track on Exposition I, offering some of the biggest moments of excitement on the collection. “Misleading The Story” explores the jarring mental state that develops when you stack lies and the negativity you invite into your life if you choose to ignore those feelings.
At its core, Melero and Medina’s friendship is built on an unwavering pursuit of artistic exploration. They both found strength in writing with another artist that shared their commitment to being “in this for life”, which in turn allowed them to explore new territories without fear. When Nova Charisma partners with Equal Vision Records to release Exposition I on August 22nd, the world will see just how powerful that bond is and how lucky we are as listeners to get to experience the music that was born of their commitment.