What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today? Magnus: I’ve always loved music, since the day I left the womb. But I didn’t start playing guitar before I mastered all the songs on Guitar Hero 3 on expert mode. I remember thinking “what’s next? I want to play these songs on the real thing, not a plastic controller” - So I guess that’s where it started. But I always danced around to Elvis or whatever records my uncle was playing at the time. A lot of Dire Straits, Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath came from my dad. It’s a whole journey, man – But that’s the jist of it. Enyeto: At first it was poems, then I got a guitar from my mother. I started learning chords, melodies, and rhythmic patterns. Blending poetry and music, writing songs. Forming bands. Evolving, failing, yearning, drugs, failing some more, success. And suddenly I’m here writing interviews. Strange world, eh? Guess I would’ve been balls deep in some crazy shit by now if it wasn’t for the tunes man. Not that I’m not balls deep now, but you get the picture. Thomas: What got me into music was basically being in a family that was passionate about music. My dad had a great taste in music and my brother has shown me a lot of cool music over the years that have influenced me greatly as a musician. What really got me hooked on music is that special, almost indescribable feeling that playing music gives you. I’m currently working as an elementary school teacher in addition to being in this band. So I guess if I had not gotten into music I would be working as a salesman. Perhaps in a clothing store that would sell specialized shoes or some weird shit like that. What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity? Magnus: I’m a big fan of reading, so I read a lot. I’m also the marketing/promo/band manager guy in the band so I’m trying to educate myself on the music business, connecting with other musicians online, etc. I also paint when I’m in the mood for it, though I’m not very skilled (yet!). Other than that I like to work out and spend time with my girlfriend, family & friends. Listening to a lot of varied music directly influences my creativity, I write a lot of weird stuff man..sometimes I rap, sometimes I’m that Eddie Vedder singer/songwriter kind of guy and sometimes I just make theatrical music with a lot of weird elements in GarageBand. Enyeto: Writing music takes up a lot of time, sometimes. So does everything that needs designing and editing. But I mostly dwell home with my beautiful woman, drinking tea and pouring ancient wisdom down our throats. How long has your band been around? Magnus: Underwing has officially been around since the spring/summer of 2016. Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music? Magnus: As a band, we’re definitely from Arendal which is a small seaport town on the south coast of Norway. Me personally though, is born and raised in the neighbor-town which is called Grimstad. It’s basically a smaller, more quiet version of Arendal. We love to take pride in the fact that we housed famous poets like Knut Hamsun and Henrik Ibsen. I don’t know how it directly influences our music, but we’re lyricists too you know – so maybe there’s a connection somewhere? In the music video for our track “I Am The Sun”, we tried to capture a typical summer on the south coast of Norway – You can check that out here:
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you. Enyeto: The name Underwing comes from the Pink underwing moth. When a caterpillar, it has a mask-like pattern that it reveals to frighten predators. The metaphor being us humans using masks to defend ourselves as well. The name Underwing for me directly corresponds with our own subconsciousness, making it a fitting name for our lyrical content. The masks and its colors also provided us with plenty of artwork, and that’s a huge part of our band's image. Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played. Magnus: I rarely categorize in these terms. I think it’s all part of the bigger picture. Like, even the smallest gigs where there may be very few people – They add up to something eventually, you know? I can’t really say that we’ve had a bad gig, not that I can remember. I’d like to point out that when we played a festival in our hometown called “Canal Street” last year in front of an ocean of people was a special moment though. I remember it was REALLY hot – and when we started to play the aforementioned track “I Am The Sun”, the sun popped out from behind a cloud and it turned even hotter. That was cool. Thomas: I agree with Magnus. Can’t say that we’ve really had a bad gig, just a lot of really weird ones. But they were still fun as hell, though. Never a dull moment with us. Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already? Magnus: I haven’t really thought about my favorite venue, but to name one I’d say Barrique in Arendal. It’s our usual “second home” where we hang out a lot, both when we’re playing and when we’re just out and about. Our bassist, Jesper also works there so that’s also a contributing factor. I want to play at Madison Square Garden. And the Download Festival. Thomas: We played at a place called John Dee in Oslo some months ago. It would be really cool to play at that venue's bigger brother, Rockefeller, someday. If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket? Magnus: TOOL, Rage Against The Machine, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Machine Gun Kelly, Plini, Extreme, Gojira, Falling in Reverse, Tom MacDonald, The Struts, Greta Van Fleet.....the list could go on forever, but these artists are key. What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band? Magnus: That depends on the level of ambition. If you want to be in a band just to play music, then the most important thing is to have fun. If you’re REALLY ambitious and want to make a living off your craft: Focus more on marketing, assign roles to the other band members that go beyond the “playing an instrument”-part. Don’t buy Facebook likes just to “look good” - You don’t. We’re not in the 80s anymore, so don’t expect those labels, etc. Are you gonna just “pick you up” because you make good music. Run it like a business. Celebrate victories, big and small. Be proud of yourself and stick with your goals! And don’t give a fuck about people rolling their eyes when you tell them that you wanna be a rock star ;-) Enyeto: Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true. Be consistent with your creativity. Remember that you’ll never make a perfect product, ever. Learn to love and love to learn what you are doing and will be doing. Hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. If you got both talent and hard work combined you will make it, guaranteed. If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be? Magnus: You can’t please everyone. Don’t take drugs to escape life’s issues because they will hit you ten times harder, eventually. Be genuine, and don’t take shit from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Learn to distinguish between what kind of criticism you can use to build yourself up, and what is just bullshit based on the other person’s insecurity. Enyeto: Culture is not your friend, so don’t mingle with it. Trust your intuition, it’s often right. Work hard and impress by doing not saying. Life is fragile, you are not invincible after all. Don’t do all the drugs, but some are fine. Oh, and clean your room, will you? Of your songs which one means the most to you and why? Magnus: I’d have to say “Kaela”. I was going through a really rough time when this song was brought to the table. I hadn’t left my house for about 8 months due to crippling anxiety after a drug-induced panic attack. This song made me dedicate my life to music once again after I thought I had given up and was unable to function. Fast forward two years and people sang along the whole intro (our singer Enyeto didn’t even have to sing it) while playing a show here in Arendal. That was so powerful, and I literally cry and get super emotional every time we play this song live. There’s just something about it. People have come up to us after shows telling us that this song inspires them to quit drinking, we got a message over at Instagram where a woman told us that she had given birth to her firstborn child with this song playing in the back of her mind. A guy in Oslo just tattooed his face, inspired by this song. It’s mighty stuff man, and it’s so cool that people feel the energy in the song without knowing how much it means to us individually within the band. Thomas: For me, it would have to be “Where Gods Conspire”. We released it in November of 2018 and it was the first new song we’d released in over a year. It was a song that we worked a lot on in order to get it to work, and when it finally clicked in the rehearsal room, after months of work, it was a wonderful feeling. I always get goosebumps when listening to the vocals on this one, as well. Enyeto really sings his heart out in this one. Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most? Magnus: My favorite song to play live varies a lot. I like playing them all. But safe to say, people go nuts when we start playing Kaela. Thomas: It’s really hard to pick a favorite song to play. I really love the energy we get on-stage when we play “Sunless Seed”, but one of the most fun songs to play live is We Lie Awake. What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music? Magnus: I think I’m speaking for all of us when I say that we get inspired by everything. To demonstrate this, here’s an example: I sat on my couch one day and heard the dishwasher making strange sounds in a REALLY fucked up time signature – then I started to add riffs to the beat in my head, and voila a new song idea was born. It can start with a riff, then maybe some of the other guys in the band have a riff in their “song bank” that compliments THAT riff etc. Most of the structure and ideas for the music we’ve released so far has been written by our singer Enyeto. He is a musical genius. Then we all add elements based on our individual influences – and that’s how an Underwing song gets written. It’s a long process from idea to final product, and sometimes a lot of arguing to get there, but it makes sense in the end. What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music? Enyeto: Everyone is on the same specter of feelings, so if I write honest lyrics depicting my own struggle and insecurities, I bet someone will find themselves in my writings. I like to not be too forward, therefore several interpretations will always arise, making my work even more cryptic while maintaining the emotional link that connects to the feminine side of understanding music, rather than an analytic masculine way of hearing music. Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them? Magnus: We disagree a LOT on a daily basis. Sometimes, depending on mood and other human aspects, we fight. And it can get nasty sometimes. But we’re all good friends, more like a family, really. It all just comes from a burning passion for what we do, and wanting it to be the best – So we usually forgive each other rather quickly. Part of the process is getting over these obstacles, and we’re very aware of that. What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up? Magnus: We have a new single coming up on the 5th of November (which also happens to be my 25th birthday!). The song is another version of the title track from our latest EP “Spirals” - A more upbeat, funky version..to say the least... Here is a teaser: https://bit.ly/32lUMDF Thanks for having us.