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Blending an updated yet classic rock en español sound with faith-inspired songwriting, Costa Mesa-based, Latin alternative band Signa inspire. Humberto "Beto" Gudiño (guitar/vocals), Abel Muñoz (lead guitar), Franc Melara (keyboard/guitar), Ray Cota (drums) and David Barrera (bass) round out the lineup, just recently renovated, ready to build on their successes. The band recorded their debut EP, Cuando se Ponga el Sol, in 2009 and have since had the local welcome mat rolled out for them from similar acts such as Babasónicos, Ximena Sariñana and Hello Seahorse! Setting their sights on the new year, Signa plan to record a follow-up EP, tentatively titled The Lux, as well as attend the OC Music Awards, having snagged a Best Latin Band nomination for the second year in a row.
OC Weekly: What does your band name, Signa, mean?
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Beto Gudiño: It comes from a book. It represents an angel that battles over the souls of people. We think our music is kind of like that: It touches the heart, the inner part of humanity. That's what we're trying to do with our music, to reach out to the hearts of people.
How do you approach writing songs from that standpoint?
Gudiño: I think ever since I came to the United States, a lot of the lyrics have been about my personal life. A lot of the lyrical messages have been about being an immigrant. I think the guys in the band can understand me because we're all immigrants. So the songs are kind of a mixture of immigrant stuff with my personal beliefs.
Abel, you've switched from bass to lead guitar, and Signa have had other lineup changes. How has that changed the sound as the band ready new recordings?
Abel Muñoz: Even when I was playing the bass, Beto gave us some room to put in what we were influenced by. Now, with the new guys, we have a different sound, too. It's just like a melting pot: We're all throwing all these different sounds in there. The vision for the new recordings is going toward more rock, whereas before, it was kind of contemporary. It's going to be heavier on the rock side for sure.
The band are writing new songs in English, too, right?
Gudiño: We are still looking to be more of a Spanish type of band. We want to throw in some English songs just because some of our audience don't understand what we're singing. We came up with some songs in English, and we just want to throw them out, and whoever likes them, likes them. We're not changing who we are, though. We want to keep it en español!
What was it like opening for big name acts such as Hello Seahorse! and Ximena Sariñana?
Muñoz: We've been really privileged and honored to even share the stage with those names. We've been thankful for those opportunities. They have been really, really fun. We enjoy it every time we open for any one of those bands. Their audiences have accepted us really well, too. Sometimes, we wish we weren't the first band onstage, so we can play for more people, but even if there's 20 people that show up early, they all come up to us at the end of the gig to tell us they enjoyed the music.
Congratulations on your Best Latin nomination at the OC Music Awards!
Gudiño: It's been an honor just to be considered. We are creating some recognition, getting our music out there, and that means a lot to us in the band. It means a lot to me just being a guy from another country, having this dream of music. It's an honor to be considered one of the best Latin bands in OC. We're glad we're there. Hopefully, we have some great things ahead of us.
This column appeared in print as "Signa of the Times."