Catch up with folk singer-songwriter Comrad and listen to his latest single, "I Might Be Fine", off his debut EP, 10 Feet Away, to be released in August.
What first got you interested in music?
I remember learning to play guitar in high school. I think the first song I learned was "Free Falling" by Tom Petty and then maybe "Dust In the Wind" by Kansas. Then at some point I heard Joe Pass and Django Reinhardt and was obsessed with learning to play like them. I'll let you know when that happens. The first album I bought, Graceland, solidified things for me. No one writes better lyrics than Paul Simon, as far as I’m concerned. The line, “The poor boy changes clothes and puts on aftershave, To compensate for his ordinary shoes” blew my mind. That whole album is amazing.
Do you remember the first song you wrote?
I remember the lyrics really well. I was in the basement of my parents house with Pete Weiss and Mike Russell and we wrote a song about a couple that gets older and eventually she passes away and he shortly after because he couldn't live without her. I think the last line was something like, "he wanted things to be like when she was alive, so he went up to heaven to be by her side". For a couple fifteen year olds, it was a pretty solid song, I wish I could remember how to actually play it.
Which musicians would you say you've been influenced by?
The two I mentioned earlier. Lots of singer songwriters like Paul Simon, Ani Difranco. Jazz musicians like Bill Evans, Errol Garner, Thelonious Monk. Also, not for their music, although coincidentally they do both play music, Steve Martin and Woody Allen. I love their movies! The general feel they create and the dialogue is awesome.
What were your inspirations behind your single, "I Might Be Fine"?
I wanted this song to be a sarcastic inner monologue of a guy who's trying to convince himself he's totally fine on his own. He's trying to eat healthy by himself, shop for furniture by himself, and make love by himself. It's one of the first songs I wrote on ukulele. The reason I bought a ukulele is because of the scene in The Jerk where Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters sing a duet of "You Belong to Me".
Is that track indicative of what we can expect to hear on your upcoming EP and could you tell us more about 10 Feet Away?
I think it is a good representation of the EP. In the song, “My Date with Jesus”, I talk about loving someone more than being alone. I mean it as a negative, for sure. That song is probably my favorite lyrically because of the play between being religious and dating someone for the sake of not being lonely. In “Full of Texas”, that song is about being rejected for qualities completely out of your control. In “80 Proof Waltz” I’m looking for drinking partners to hang out with for the night. They all come at loneliness from a slightly different perspective. Hopefully an interesting one.
How would you sum up that EP in one sentence?
Being lonely isn’t so bad if you’re working on it.
What do you hope your listeners are able to take away from your music?
In other songs on the EP like “80 proof waltz”, there are lyrics about falling in love with a toilet. In “Date with Jesus” there's a line about kneeling by the bed which has a couple meanings. Lots of other lyrics that stand out to me when I listen to these songs. I hope those lyrics come through to the people listening.