Interview with Comprehending
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
When I was little my dad always used to have different kinds of music playing at home and he introduced me to The Beatles early on. I guess that the constant exposure to music is what made it stick with me. I also had a really great music teacher and got my first guitar around age 8. Well, I’m currently working as an arborist and I figured out early that I wanted to work with nature in some way, so I think I would do the same thing even if I didn’t have the music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I really enjoy just being in nature which is one of my main sources of inspiration when I’m writing music. There is so much to experience out there and I feel the same way about music. Comprehending is a place for me to explore different aspects of music, like my song “Spring” was the first ever song that I used a synth which was a big step for me.
How long has your band been around?
I started writing Comprehending’s first song “Spring” back in 2019, but it didn’t materialize into a real project until 2020. It wasn’t actually my idea to start the band. When I had written “Spring” I wanted a good recording of it just for myself, so I contacted my friend Richard Stöök who helped me with recording and mixing. After that he told me I should make it a real project and release my music, so I did!
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based out of Uppsala, Sweden but I have moved around a lot in my days, so I haven’t really been in one spot long enough to be influenced by one citys music scene. I’ve on the other hand mostly been hanging out with people from the metalcore/post-hardcore/emo scene and I that is how I got into the music I’m writing now, even though it’s pretty chill music.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I’ve always liked one word band names, so that was my main focus when choosing a name. The name Comprehending came to mind after listening to the song Shinrin-yoku by Enter Shikari where I noticed them singing the word. I liked how it sounded and started to think about what this project was about. And it really is a way for me to try to comprehend different aspects of music. So I stuck with it.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I haven’t played that many shows yet, but I did play one last month which was great! It was at a local pub here in Uppsala with the band Look, Orion. The crowd, the venue and the people involved were really nice so I enjoyed it a lot! It was my first gig with a sound engineer setting up the sound and man does it make a difference haha.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Any venue that will have me haha I’m not that picky, just grateful to be able to perform my music in front of other people! I would really like to play Arctangent festival sometime though. Their line up is always sick!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Again, I would say Arctangent. That’s a really tough one… Via Luna would be amazing to play with and is a band that’s kind of like my music. Then I would have to say Enter Shikari who is my all time favorite band, and let’s throw in some other great bands like Delta Sleep and The Devil Wears Prada. That’s a pretty sick, although unconventional line up, if you ask me!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Play for your own satisfaction and don’t rush stuff. A lot of people just try to do everything so fast and expect things to go exactly your way immediately when in fact some stuff will take time. Like don’t try to force that hit song you’re trying to write and don’t become discouraged if just a few people listens to your song. Your fanbase will grow with time as long as you keep going and the music will often come to you in times when you least expect it.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Practice more instruments haha. Being in a one person band I really would have liked it if my younger self had taken time to learn more that the guitar. I’m kind of grateful that I didn’t though, because I’m learning so much new stuff doing this project and it’s so much fun!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
I’d have to say “Spring” just because it’s the song that started it all, but it’s also the only song I’ve made that has some vocals. I also really like “Polarity”. I wrote that song with the Italian artist Naoise Méabh who I really admire, and it was my first collaboration with another artist, so it means a lot to me.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite to play is probably Unity, a song that’s exclusive to my Bandcamp. Most of my songs are kind of complicated to play with a lot of tricky parts and time signature changes but Unity is completely in 4/4 and really straight forward. It’s also my most lively song so it’s the perfect song for me to rock out on stage! I can’t tell you that much about requests, I’ll have to experience that first haha.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
When writing music for Comprehending I get a lot of inspiration from nature. That's why all the song names are either names of flowers or other things associated to nature. Nature aside, I also get a lot of inspiration from listening to other bands, such as TTNG, Delta sleep and Via Luna. Usually, I come up with a guitar or synth riff that I start to build from. On a good day I can finish a song, start to finish in one go, but other times it takes like half a year from when I write the first riff to when I finish it.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Just to be chill really. Take some time off, let yourself take a breather from everyday life, and be kind to nature. But that’s also the beauty of instrumental music, everyone gets to interpret it exactly how they choose. There’s no lyrics that lead the way, just let your emotions do the work.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Haha not really. That’s definitely one of the perks of being a one person band. It comes with some other challenges though, like having to find musicians to play the other instruments when planning a gig. That can be really hard to find sometimes.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
My plans for 2023 is to record more music and to plan some more gigs by the end of the year if not sooner. Right now, I’m excited for my next release “Try” that’s being released on March 18th on all major platforms. It’s a really fun song with catchy riffs and an upbeat feel. The concept of the song was to take a catchy riff and then bend it as far as I can without ruining its integrity, so heads up on some really funky time signatures in this one!