Interview With 'Underwing'
Firstly, introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about the band and how you came to be?
Underwing was formed at the beginning of 2016 on the southern coast of Norway. Our drummer Joachim and I had just disbanded with our previous band and decided to continue making music together because hey, we really jammed out man.. I had some ideas and a vision, so a few songs were written. Along came Thomas and Magnus, our guitarists. We released our debut effort, “Kaela Upsweep”, on our own indie label ‘Pinecone Records’ on May 20, 2017, which quickly garnered critical acclaim both nationally and internationally, it was a blast. The music featured on this debut has been compared to legendary acts such as Alice in Chains, Black Sabbath and Tool. It’s flattering, we know. We then started playing live.. alot! Releasing several singles as well. Finetuning our social media and stage presence. I also gave Jesper my bass, so there’s that. Only vocals for me now. Major changes in this period.
What were you all up too prior to the band, was this always the chosen path or did you have other dreams and aspirations?
Enyeto: I've always been into arts and crafts, poetry and music. So I guess I've intuitively known that my future would house those aspects. A diverse collection of past projects kinda led me where I am today. They've all had a distinct collective role to play looking back at my journey.
Magnus: I’ve always wanted to perform, and during the early stages of my childhood you could often find me in front of a TV, watching Elvis’ “Jailhouse Rock” (the movie) - trying to copy his moves and even hair at some point. I was being bullied a lot for that in school, but he’s still the king of rock n roll to me. Watch out, though! *smirkface* I wanted to be a football player at some point, actually. I remember wanting to play for Liverpool FC, but then I picked up the guitar.
Merf: I've always looked up to my Dad and his main instrument has always been bass. His bass and guitar were the coolest things in the world in my eyes, and I knew I had to play them. The bass was much more interesting to me than the guitar, even though I couldn't reach the first fret, and I've always known this is what I would do.
Joachim: First I wanted to be like Super Mario, then I wanted to be like luke skywalker, then I turned 14 and picked up my first pair of drumsticks.
Tell us about your latest EP/Album and why our readers should check it out.
Magnus; Spirals is a very “progged-up” record that showcases a heavier side of Underwing compared to our debut-EP “Kaela Upsweep”. We’re blending in a lot of our influences from bands like Tool, Alice in Chains etc. which I think is awesome. Lyrically speaking, I think Enyeto should answer.
Joachim: Spirals has many different styles to it, it sounds a little oldschool and the coverart is great. Always judge a book (or album) by its cover.
Enyeto: I really wanted this EP to show four different aspects of the same naturally occuring phenomenon, the spiral, and the thoughts and emotions I've personally felt while spiralling out. The consciousness of nature beginning from its center expanding outwardly to where we can observe how it affects us, making us return to where we've been, forcing us to learn from our past experiences.
Who would you say is the bands main song writer or is it a group effort and where do you draw your inspiration lyrically and musically from?
Magnus: Enyeto is definitely the main songwriter, his occult quirkiness and genius of mind came up with the groundwork for our debut-EP and the whole “concept” of Underwing is his idea. But one idea limited to one mind can be well..limiting in the long run, so the final result you’re hearing on our songs is the transmutation of all our individual (and common) influences merged into one. Musically, I am inspired by everything that makes me feel something. Whether that be rock n roll, metal, hip-hop or funk. I think that’s what makes Underwing what it is, the combination of what we all like merged into one.
Enyeto: As a songwriter I've always been inspired by nature itself. From the hidden mechanics governing our psyche to the tender tunes of a Kauaʻi ʻōʻō bird. I'm also a sucker for metaphors, but I try to make it relateable at some levels, without losing my personal touch. While I might be the main contributer of songs in the band, the finished product is absolutely 88-100% a joint effort.
As a band what do you believe is your greatest achievement to date and why?
Magnus: I don’t really rate our achievements, but I was pretty stoked when we were booked to Canal Street (an annual festival arranged in the heart of our hometown Arendal) - That was great, and also we played a show in support of Munkehaugen Kultursenter (which is the place we rehearse) because the municipality of Arendal wanted to tear it down for some (financial) reasons, and the whole crowd sang along to our track “Kaela”. I literally cried, that was beautiful.
Joachim and Enyeto: We agree, the whole crowd singing ''Kaela'' is way up there, man.
Have you ever come face to face with someone within the music scene who has left you awestruck and why?
Magnus: I don’t really get “starstruck” or whatever, because we’re all just human beings - I can definitely feel a sense of recognition when I meet people who have achieved something that I want to achieve myself, but I don’t get “struck” by some overwhelming emotion because of that said person’s presence.
One encounter kind of stuck with me though, and that was meeting Tony Mills (Shy, TNT etc.) - He was the only one in the band who treated us (my former band Valerie, opening for TNT) like people despite his fame and “rock star”-status. He was being a real sweetheart and asked us sincere questions about our goals and stuff - and you could feel his genuine interest in the matter. Sadly, he passed away just a few days ago from cancer - May his soul rest in peace <3
Merf: I remember running into former Kvelertak singer Erlend Hjelvik on a ferry, as one does, and this was after they'd been touring with Converge, and probably a little while before they went out with Metallica. We got talking about music, and when I mentioned the name of my band at the time and he went “Oh yeah, that 70's/stoner band, you guys rock!” I may have exaggerated this slightly in my mind, but he'd definitely heard of us.
What do you enjoy most about touring?
Merf: Recently I've enjoyed not being the driver! No, but there is something about the preparations, the journey, the venue, it almost takes on a ceremonial vibe. At the same time it's really great seeing that all the work we put into this band bear fruit, you know? There's so much work people don't see, and when people come to our shows already wearing our shirts and singing along, that's easily the biggest pay-off for all the work.
Magnus: The feeling of being “on adventure” with my best friends. Watching people having an experience, taking their time off (because essentially, they COULD be doing everything else but watch five guys sweating onstage) to cheer us forward and supporting us in our cause! Also there is something serene about riding home from a show, listening to music and “wind down” just soaking in all the impressions and memories we’ve just created together.
Joachim: The sofa after a gig, with a cold free beer!
If we were to head out to one of your live shows what can ourselves and others expect?
Joachim: In short: If Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains had a lovechild that was adopted by Tool, who coincidentally lived next door to Soundgarden and Motorpsycho, the result would be Underwing.
Magnus: A wide range of emotions packed into a box of high-octane progressive grunge, and a live show that’ll leave your neck sore for days!!
Enyeto: For starters, you can expect to actually do something meaningful a Friday night, instead of sitting home watching TV, eating junk and dwelling in your existential anxiety wondering how you ended up here even though you promised yourself change a few years ago. So yeah, come to our show!
If you had one artist/band that you could go on tour with tomorrow who would it be and why?
Magnus: Definitely Tool at the moment, but since I am such a vulgar little metalhead that also happens to be listening to other genres - I wouldn’t mind go touring with artists like Machine Gun Kelly, Falling in Reverse or ALT-J either.
Joachim: Meshuggah.. Because Lemmy from Motörhead is dead!
Enyeto: Oh Tool, Mastodon, Gojira, Clutch just to mention a few! You can spend an hour with a musical icon living or dead, who would you pick, why and what would you speak about?
Enyeto: I'd love to meet Ozzy Osbourne, man. I idolized him growing up. Sabbath is still my number one, no doubt. I guess I'd tell him what he meant to me, show him my music and hopefully be recognized as a worthy musician so I can die peacefully with his autograph carved into my forehead.
Magnus: I think Jerry Garcia from Grateful Dead would be interesting. Go figure, we’d probably have very deep and profound conversations based on what we’ve seen, I guess.
Joachim: Mikkey Dee from Motörhead! I would talk about drum stuff for sure!
Merf: It's hard to just pick one, but I think I'd have to go for John Entwistle, former bassplayer for The Who. He was the first person to make me see how much you could actually do with that instrument, and I'd just love to pick his brain about that.
And finally and most importantly is Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
Magnus: I don’t think it is, it’s narrative is just coincidentally set during the holiday season. Is the tale about the birth of Jesus Christ a sci-fi novel?
I think it’s a matter of perspective!
Merf: No it's not. The question you should be asking is whether Nightmare Before Christmas is a Christmas film or Halloween film. To this day I can't say for sure.
Enyeto: The only thing that matters is that Die Hard was released 18. November 1988..
We just want to say thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!
Magnus: Thanks for having us, don’t forget to follow us on social media for frequent updates about our past, present and future endeavours!
Facebook - www.facebook.com/underwingmusic
Instagram - www.instagram.com/underwingband