By Tiny Diapana
Photos: Ernest Diño
AS BEAUTIFUL and as fresh as its name allows it, KRNA has become one of the most prominent acts from Cagayan De Oro. This dream pop band might be relatively new, but the empyreal air and the fuzzy haze of its music coupled by its sinewy vocals certainly has the power to draw listeners in.
Described by The Flying Lugaw as an eclectic but nonetheless fitting mix between the songwriting of Cynthia Alexander, the instrumentation of Angel Olsen, and the production of the Cocteau Twins, KRNA comes off as a band worth following.
Now, with its debut EP “River Gold” out on release, this band formed together by KC Salazar (vocals, guitars), Rotsajani Mojica (bass), Marc Janro Abian (drums), and Francis Ramos (keyboards) has been touring across the country to send fans adrift in its music.
Speaking with SunStar Weekend after a successful night during the Cebu leg of its EP Tour, KRNA talks about its journey to the “River Gold” itself.
First of all congratulations on the successful Cebu City leg of the “River Gold” EP tour! How does it feel to have your debut EP out on release? What’s it like for KRNA to play in Cebu for the very first time at Mac Rock n Roll & Blues Restobar last Saturday on October 6?
Thank you so much! It feels great and a bit surreal to have our work heard not only in our hometown but everywhere basically. Also having random people tell us how our music connected with them has been something else. It also feels like we are representing our City with our music sometimes so want to present it well.
Playing for Cebu was especially amazing because aside from the nonexistent language barrier, we feel like CDO’s Music Scene has always had a strong connection with Cebu’s. And basing from the crowd’s support that night the connection is still quite strong. It’s our favorite stop on the tour to date. Haha!
We learned that KRNA’s a relatively new band, forming back in 2016. How did the band come together? Why the name Kireina? Tell us your story.
We have already known each other for years growing up together in the Music Scene. We had other bands aside from KRNA, KC had Arthur/Maudlin/Paperthck, Rotsanjani has Mouthy/Kaapin, Francis had the Superflirts/Maria My Star and Janro had Nuncyspungen/Gasulina/Peachfuzz.
When KC invited everyone for a new band it became relatively easy for all of us to come together and form this group. Our musical preferences also meshed well with KC’s old songs. While we were fooling around with suggestions for our band name, we came accross a Japanese word “Kireina,” which means beautiful/clean/pretty. We were just drawn to it I guess hehe.
We made it to an abbreviation because it looked really good on print. The name of our EP “The River Gold” is also inspired by a prominent sight in the Golden city of CDO, the Cagayan River. Basta mag muni muni ka about you experiences didto ang River imong makita haha!
Most of the bands in Cagayan De Oro play metal or punk. What made KRNA decide to take on dream pop? What’s the dream pop scene like in CDO? Almost non-existent actually haha! We don’t even think it was intentional for our sound to be so close to dream pop. But lately (three to four yearrs) there have been a lot of amazing experimental artists in CDO and our music scene burgeoning again as well so that’s exciting for us. I guess it’s because of the communion of our musical influences/preferences. What we had were the skeletal form of KC’s old songs, and we wanted to make it to something that would send the message of the songs better.
KRNA’s songs usually speak of the tremors of the heart. How do you write your music? What’s your artistic process? What inspires the band?
For most of the earlier songs, KC already had the lyrics and melody. These are mostly her old songs from old and new experiences. Some songs just like Grey Lullaby, which she started about seven years ago, only got finished because of the contributions of her bandmates. That way there is a sort of “fresh perspective” infused to the songs, and sometimes even the original message becomes different. Now we are trying different ways to create songs that we try to develop. Hopefully it works out well.
How long did it take to work on the “River Gold” EP?
It took two years. This was because we started performing as a band. We already had the songs since 2016 but they are much way different before as they are now. It really paid off that we took our time to develop the songs. We started recording late last year, and by May 2018 all the songs were already ready.
KRNA’s only been around for two years, but the band’s gained so much traction, gathering around 1.7 thousand followers on social media. Can you give us an anecdote or story of some of the best experiences you’ve had while on tour?
One of the best things we experienced while on tour are those times when people would be quite surprised that we are from a small city in Mindanao. We’re very proud of our city so it’s very important for us to represent it well. It’s also feels good when people seeing us live for the first time are able to easily connect with our songs sometimes even become quite emotional. It’s a surreal experience. Since most of our following came from the release of our music video of “Wide Eyes” It also doesn’t hurt that some musicians we respect comment that we can pull off our live set pretty well or as well as our recorded material.
Where can we get a copy of “River Gold” and what does Kireina have planned following the release of its debut EP? Any future projects for fans to look forward to?
Everyone can get a copy of The River Gold EP on our Label Melt Record’s Site, or you can also message our page and we’ll do our best to direct you to the nearest Sales Outlet. We have more confirmed cities to visit and a few more on the works. We still have a lot of songs to work on and maybe a new music video to plan for so hopefully everyone will stick around with us.