-- Ciconia gets shredded! --

Stijn Daneels
Recently I was contacted by Nataliya Morgynets, owner of the FMA Booking & Management agency. She introduced me to one of her clients, the Spanish instrumental progressive rock band Ciconia and told me the band would be doing a major European tour this September and that they would be doing no less than 4 gigs here in Belgium! Although I was unavailable to meet the Ciconia in person, Nataliya introduced me to Ciconia’s guitarist Daniel Dean and together we arranged to talk with each other over Skype, which we eventually did September 2, 2019.

Daniel and I talked about Ciconia’s European tour and their follow-up endeavors, the production of their new album” Meraki,” the core philosophy behind the band’s sound and Daniel offers some motivational advice for all aspiring musicians out there!

BMS: Hello Daniel, let’s start off this shred by you telling the readers something about your band.
Daniel: Sure thing! We are Ciconia, an instrumental progressive rock band from the city of Valladolid, located in the northwestern part of Spain and known for its large wine agriculture. Our sound is influenced by the likes of Opeth, Long Distance Calling, Porcupine Tree, Liquid Tension Experiment and more. Recently we’ve released our third album called “Meraki” and we’re on the verge of a month-long European tour.
BMS: Very interesting! Now, where does the name Ciconia come from?
Daniel: Our band is named after the Latin name for the stork bird. Lots of those birds live in our home region (wherein we call them “cigüeña”) and we felt that the similar sounding Latin counterpart “Ciconia” sounded pretty sweet for a band name.
BMS: Yes, it actually is. It’s short, easy to remember and it has a slight mysterious flair to it. Just like your music, in fact! I’ve listened to the “Meraki” album and what I liked the most of it was the meditative space rock atmosphere you evoked, with excellent guitar work and long but engaging songs. It reminded me of bands from my own country like Celestial Wolves, Atomic Vulture and Vermillion. All similar bands that share the same philosophy: beautiful stories told with nothing but riffs and beats, without a single spoken word.
Daniel: Indeed! We want to give our listeners the chance to dive deep into our music and let their imagination flow.
BMS: Have you ever thought of adding vocals to your work?
Daniel: From day one we decided to let the music as a whole do the talking. Now, should we one day add lyrics then those vocals would have to be fully integrated within the usual Ciconia style, the same rule applies if we would be including instruments like piano or saxophone. The core philosophy of Ciconia’s sound is to maintain a delicate balance between all the instruments featured on any given song. We don’t want to have one single instrument take center stage but rather have all instruments, drums, bass, guitars and anything else share an equal amount of attention and power.
BMS: That’s a great mentality! Now, tell me about the production of the “Meraki” album.
Daniel: Before we entered the studio we did a ton of pre-production. First we composed the main guitar riffs at our homes and frequently sat together to discuss it. Then we did the same with the rhythm parts and finally we home-recorded demos of all the songs we wanted to put on Meraki. That way we managed to save a ton of studio time and money and it also made the studio engineer very happy because that way he didn’t have to do a lot of tinkering to make the music sound good. Eventually we went into the studio with the fully written and approved material and spent two weeks recording and using everything the studio had to offer. All in all, we’re extremely satisfied with the end result!
BMS: And it certainly is a result worth being proud of! Now, let’s talk about your upcoming September tour. You’ll be doing gigs in Germany, France, Poland, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and no less than 4 consecutive gigs here in Belgium!
Daniel: Oh yeah! Back when we were scouting for venues for the tour we received much positive response from your tiny tricolored country and so we took the opportunity to play 4 straight gigs here. We believe that Belgium’s a great place for our type of music, am I right?
BMS: Yeah, you sure are! In fact, near my hometown there’s the yearly Dunk!Festival which is dedicated to the post, instrumental and experimental rock and metal subgenres (check it out: https://www.dunkfestival.be/). You should definitely contact them!
Daniel: Yeah, we will! And your country also has great beer, beautiful nature and very friendly crowds and venue crews. In any case, we take every opportunity to play a gig, no matter where it is. Every single show helps to expand our fanbase.
BMS: That’s correct! So, what are Ciconia’s plans after the upcoming European tour?
Daniel: We’re already making preparations for a next European tour and then we want to visit other European countries like the UK, Italy and our own home country in order to further promote the “Meraki” album. And at the same time we’ll be working on new material for another new album afterwards. That’s basically our work schedule: album, tour, album, tour and so on.
BMS: Well, that’s a very demanding work ethic but it does help in keeping your band relevant to the public and of course it keeps your audience engaged and ever-growing. But how do you cope with all that hard touring?
Daniel: Touring is indeed a grueling experience, but we try getting as much high quality sleep as we can while on the road as well as eating lots of healthy food and moderating our alcohol consumptions. Since our music style is technically highly demanding none of us will ever get on stage intoxicated. After every gig we spend time talking to the people who’ve come over to see us, have a few beers with them and then pack in and move on to the next venue. No outrageous rockstar antics, but like I’ve said earlier we let our music provide the spectacle.
BMS: Now, what else do you guys do in life aside of Ciconia?
Daniel: Both Aleix and I are music teachers. Aleix gives drum lessons and I do guitar classes. Me and the other members have already done guest work for other bands but other than that, Ciconia is our lives’ work!
BMS: True dedication, I love it! Tell me, what kind of advice could you give to aspiring musicians to become a full-time musician like you?
Daniel: You need to have genuine love and passion for your band and the music your band represents and you’ve got to keep that love going during the countless hours you’ll be spending on tour, practicing, playing and perfecting your craft and all the preparations needed to arrange a tour or to produce and release an album. Sure, things won’t always go your way and some gigs will be less successful than others, but always remain motivated and enjoy all aspects of being in a band, both on stage and behind the scenes.
BMS: Thanks for the awesome shred! It was great talking to you over Skype and good luck with your upcoming tour!
Daniel: We will, thanks for shredding us!