Compunction releases post-hardcore, pop-infused single, "Smoke," part of their debut upcoming EP.
Since the first single, "Dont Forget Me" back in 2020, Compunction has changed and grown over the years. Always maintaining the atmosphere of an emotional confessional throughout each release, Compunction serves as a progressive vehicle for those going through a rough and trying time. Vociferous and always emotionally candid, Compunction is impassioned and aggressively spontaneous with their latest single, "Smoke."
"Smoke" deals with the burden of empathy when those closest to you are going through difficult times, and as much as you try to be there for them and provide them with the necessary support, it also takes a toll on you. This song is just me equally urging anyone struggling to seek professional help and not rely solely on the emotional support of loved ones, as well as me honestly admitting that sometimes being that supportive figure can feel exhausting to the point where you feel exhausted." - Alex Pigin
While the track took a journey in itself to create, what evolved from that process changed Alex, the band, and the soundscapes of Compunction moving forward. One of the pop-infused tracks Compunction has done up to this point, "Smoke" combines a healthy dose of hardcore and pop vitality while taking on the solemn theme of the burdens of empathy when those closest to you are going through difficult times. While the band is still in its fresh beginnings of debuting their EP and live as a full line-up, "smoke" is a clear sign of positive things to come for the band.
It has been a while since Alex! Thanks for coming back. Compunction has been doing a lot since we last spoke.
Alex Pigin: Thanks for having me back on! It’s always a pleasure and something I’ve been hoping to do ever since our first interview, so it feels very good to be back.
What are the influences musically surrounding this new single, "Smoke?"
Alex Pigin: There isn’t one influence that is stronger than the others, but I’d say that throughout the writing process, me and Bailey [Crego] pulled from a bunch of different places. My love for Linkin Park hasn’t gone anywhere and I think it is still on display on this one in terms of the vocal dynamics I utilize throughout the song, as well as my general tendency to write about personal experiences in a confessional manner. COMPUNCTON remains a vitally important emotional outlet for me, and expressing myself lyrically plays a massive part in keeping my head on straight. Every time I finish writing a song, it’s like a weight off my shoulders.
This process allows me to find the right words for my thoughts and feelings that I often struggle to communicate in a regular conversation. During writing, I also referenced NF, especially his song "Time", and Bailey even used some pop/country influences when developing the instrumental based on the notes and ideas I’ve given him to work with. For the breakdown, I really wanted the song to have a change of tone and tried to steer it towards a sound that would remind me of a hardcore song or something like that.
How is "Smoke" different from anything else you have done in the past? What was that creative process like for you?
Alex Pigin: This song took a good while to come together. The chorus was written sometime around 2018 or 2019 when COMPUNCTION itself was still in development. For a long time after that, the other parts just weren’t coming to me. It was only after, well, some more life happened, that those new thoughts and feelings found a perfect match with the chorus I had had on the shelf the whole time. It felt great to put the puzzle together.
I shared the full-length acoustic demo with Bailey in Jan/Feb 2021 and we wrote the final instrumental about a year later in early 2022. This song was a real journey in that sense, but I’m glad I gave it enough time to come into its own. On a superficial level, I guess you could say it’s different in terms of having arguably the poppiest verses and choruses of all the songs so far while also featuring the heaviest section of all of the five singles.
Lyrically, what is "Smoke" diving into?
Alex Pigin: "Smoke" deals with the burden of empathy when those closest to you are going through difficult times, and as much as you try to be there for them and provide them with the necessary support, it also takes a toll on you. This song is just me equally urging anyone struggling to seek professional help and not rely solely on the emotional support of loved ones, as well as me honestly admitting that sometimes being that supportive figure can feel exhausting to the point where you feel exhausted. You try to do your best, but there’s only so much you can do and only for so long before you reach the point of feeling mentally and emotionally drained, which does no good to anyone.
How has this made you evolve as an artist? I know this is different from the past few singles you released last year.
Alex Pigin: It just felt like the natural progression and growth of the sound that had been developed up to that point. It felt right. I was excited to show a lot of vocal styles and deliveries, go into some screams and work on a song that is, in some ways, COMPUNCTION at its most accessible.
What do you want people to take from this single that was not available to them previously in other releases?
Alex Pigin: Maybe to have a bit more of a fun time listening to this one! It still deals with very real-life stuff but is definitely more upbeat musically, which I hope is a good change of pace. What I try to do with my songs is to process the dark times, not just wallow in them, so I need to make sure that COMPUNCTION, on the whole, doesn’t just feel like a downer of a listening experience.
In terms of the message, I just hope it can be productive, albeit a small drop in someone’s bucket of reasons to go talk to a mental health professional, if that’s something they feel or know they should’ve done for some time, regardless of how many caring or supporting family members or friends they may have in their life. Even the best of intentions can never serve as a replacement or substitute for professional help.
What is next for you after this?
Alex Pigin: More of everything! We’re in the late stages of working on/finalizing the debut EP, which will feature all five previously released singles partially rerecorded and remixed to give them the best treatment in terms of production value that we can provide, as well as a couple of brand new tracks which I couldn’t be more excited about.
I hope the EP can serve as the ultimate listening experience for this first phase of COMPUNCTION. We’re also working behind the scenes on hopefully debuting live in the full line-up before the end of the year. This is something I had marked as a milestone to work towards from the very beginning, so I can’t wait to be on stage singing these songs.
Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read our chat!