Kaela Upsweep is an upcoming EP release by Norwegian hard rock quartet Underwing. The full band sat down to answer our questions about the record, touring, inspiration, and more.
Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?
Thomas: Life is good and I have never felt so musically fulfilled before. It’s great to be in a band with three terrific guys that are also talented musicians. On the other hand, I’m simultaneously trying to write my Master’s thesis, which is a bit difficult when your heart and soul is firmly planted in Underwing country. But I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Magnus: I’m doing all right, it’s always ups and downs – It’s getting cold outside here in Norway and it’s almost Halloween, this year I’m going to dress up like Raoul Duke from my all-time favorite movie “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”. Good times.
Joachim: Life is great! Been listening to a lot of music, messing around in studio, practicing drums and watching TV!
Enyeto: Bipolar in the cosmic sense of renewing the consciousness, and remembering lost information about who and what we are. As we enter the age of aquarius, I guess it’s only a natural part of the cycle. I am also indulging myself in the mystery schools and alchemical goodness of ancient Egypt these days. So yeah, life is interesting.
Speaking of new music, you are about to release an EP. What can people expect from Kaela Upsweep?
Magnus: That is such a hard question, really! I myself really try not to have expectations when it comes to music, because I then find myself biased, but to nudge your curiosity a little I’d say it’s a mix between 70’s / 80’s rock with progressive elements put into a blender with grunge from the 90’s and a little dash of funk, haha! Lyrically it’s about our own struggles in life and tools that helps us cope. That’s really what this EP is, at least I find it very therapeutic.
Enyeto: I agree as above so below. I hope people expect nothing less than what I expect when it comes to this release; something memorable, iconically structured and originally beautiful!
Thomas: I think it’s fair to say that people can expect something that is both original and familiar. As Magnus pointed out, we’re paying no attention to the rules set by genre conventions. We found this choice to be the most fruitful in regard to creating a soundscape that genuinely reflects our lyrical and musical message.
Joachim: A lot of badass drumming!
What was it like working on the EP?
Enyeto: As a songwriter it has been an introspective journey towards a larger truth within myself. Resulting in me being more able to work with the band in a healthy way, giving them room to add themselves in the mix, as they see fit. I’ve grown as a vocalist as well, pushing myself to new heights each song; progressive evolution I guess. It’s not all flowers and fun though, as we spend countless hours fine-tuning our art for this release.
Magnus: It feels like it’s been a really long process, but we’re clocking in on 5 months this month. We’ve got two more songs left to record, but we always take our sweet time with it and record it a bunch of times so that we can listen to it and get new ideas along the way – Then we record it one final time with all our individual influences added into the mix. It’s been a good ride so far, it’s become a very emotional thing for me because these songs kind of reflect situations and experiences from my past year, which has been quite the struggle.
Thomas: It’s been a lot of work, but overall I feel that I’ve learned a lot as a musician throughout the process. Joachim has been a tremendous asset in the studio, and his strict (but fair) demeanor in regards to recording us has resulted in an EP that has far exceeded the expectations we had five months ago. We have worked meticulously on some parts of the EP, but not to such a degree that it has negated the organic feel that characterizes our music.
Joachim: It was a difficult and time consuming process, but also very interesting for me. Since we do not have the money to record in a proper studio, we had to do it in my home studio, with me acting as a producer. This was a very informative process. Since it was my first serious production, I had to learn techniques simultaneously while the recording process moved along. With all the new technology that is on the market, it is possible to do something like this with great results.
Are there any touring plans in support to Kaela Upsweep?
Magnus: Most likely! We don’t have anything planned at the moment, but we are very eager to get out there – So my fellas at different venues, if you read this don’t hesitate to book us!
We’ll probably do some touring here in Norway first, but our goal is to set sail for the EU as soon as possible – and everywhere in between, actually.
While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?
Joachim: I really don’t have any favorite country that I would like to tour, but if I have to answer it would be Poland, because of cheap beer, or the US for their awesome burgers! I’ve also heard that Belgium has some amazing chocolate.
Magnus: Big or small – I love them all. No, but really – I’d just like to get out as much as possible and play for everyone. If I’d have to name a few, it would probably be the US, Australia and I’ve always wanted to visit France.
Enyeto: I need a map and a marker. Because when I’m done playing music in this life, waiting for the next cycle of reincarnation, that map better be marked the hell out of.
Thomas: All of them! But if I would have to be specific, I would say the US and the Netherlands. Both countries have a lot to offer culturally, and they have a lot of famed stages and venues that would be great fun to play!
Who and what inspires you the most?
Magnus: Life in general, nature, past traumas and ex-lovers.
I also find a huge inspiration in my fellow band-mates, as I think we all inspire each other to do better all the time and all have a mutual goal with what we want in life. Something else that inspires me is when people say I can’t do things – I get this “watch me” attitude which has helped me great in the past.
Thomas: I would say that the person that inspires me most musically is my brother, André, who has been an inspiration ever since I started playing, as well as the reason that I started playing. Without him giving me advice and encouragement, I would not be the guitar player that I am today. In addition to this, life experiences have been a constant inspiration in my songwriting. When facing intense emotions, either of loss, depression, joy or apathy, there is, in my opinion, no better companion than a musical instrument of which you can use to express these emotions in a way that words can’t.
Joachim: The raw, loud and powerful sound of Motörhead!
Enyeto: The forgotten knowledge we so eagerly keep neglecting in today’s society. The unseen realms within, as well as day to day mysticism. The Fibonacci-spiral of creativity keeps it all in check, merging what I’ve heard years and years ago, with the whispering suchness from a bird. I love that.
What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?
Enyeto: I’ve always had Black Sabbath as a number uno, so classic rock and what derived thereafter is golden. As I grew, so did my musical taste and soon I found myself genre-less, only listening to select songs and albums from musicians in all genres, all over the world. Eastern music has grown eagerly on me though, guess I’ll move to India…
Magnus: Oh I listen to pretty much everything, I don’t really care about the genre as long as it catches my ear. One of my all-time favorite bands is Alt-J – I just love their soft touch and weird-ass lyrics, it creates quite the atmosphere for the listener – and also room to interpret it the way you want to, which is something I hope we achieve with this EP as well. I have also grown quite fond of instrumental music, bands such as Explosions in the Sky, Plini, Polyphia and “And so I watch you from Afar” etc. There is so much more I could mention here, but this is what has caught my attention lately.
Thomas: I love most genres, and I think you can find great music in pretty much every genre conceived, it’s just a matter of finding the right band that resonates with you personally. Lately I’ve been particularly fond of progressive rock, grunge and funky pop. Artists like Steven Wilson, and bands like Alice in Chains and Maroon 5 have really influenced my playing and broadened my musical horizons.
Joachim: My genre reach, if I can put it like that, goes from 50’s rock, such as Little Richard, to Djent metal, like Meshuggah. The genre that has had the most influential impact on me is 80’s rock, because of the big contrast between the soft ballads and the still hard-hitting drum playing and powerful vocals within them.
I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?
Magnus: I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview with us! Thank you! And I also want to thank everyone who is listening to our music for your continuous love and support – I can’t wait to show you “Kaela Upsweep” when it’s ready!
Be sure to follow us on Facebook for all the latest updates, and be sure to spread the word to your friends!
Thomas: As Magnus said, be sure to follow us on Facebook, we’ve got a lot of exciting things in the pipeline that will be announced shortly!
Enyeto: Keep on keeping on. The human condition is a bitch. The mind-body problem can be solved. Breathe. Meditate. Eat right and drink plenty of water. Peace, I love you all.
Joachim: Watch out for pinecones!