Interview: Moddi

You define yourself as a storyteller from the north. You tell about so many different stories with your songs. So, how did this iea come up to your mind?

Moddi: I started to make music because I felt that there were no music groups or artists that were able to have two thoughts in their head at one time: music and storytelling really can go hand in hand, if you just cultivate them both. There are so many musicians without a story, and so many good stories that never get told. I found myself in the middle of those two empty spaces, and still do.

You learnt about playing instruments when you were a kid… Maybe you learnt about it just for a hobby. And you also come from a musical family. Did you influenced from this environment? Or you already know that you will be a musician even though when you were a kid?

Moddi: Well, even though there’s always been music in my life, I don’t really play any instrument very well. I’m self-taught, and learning slowly. In a way, I am not really a musician but rather an artist. Most of the time, my fingers are having a hard time following the mouth.

Your first EP “Random Skywriting” was pretty amateur work than your other works. At first, you did not even want to release it. But you were the one who was selected of Artist of the week in NRK Urørt list. How did you feel about that?

Moddi: I’m still a little surprised, to be honest. I still don’t understand how anyone could enjoy it as much as they did. But the songs got played on the radio, travelled further than I had ever done, and earned me concerts in Poland and Denmark before I had even played concerts in my home village. That was, to say the least, strange. I am still a little puzzled that people enjoy listening to the things I make.

In 2012, you gave a break to your career. Inevitable, you gave concerts that more than 250. When you were having rest, how did you spend your days? Did you really stay away from the music at those time?

Moddi: I stayed away for exactly 11 days. On the first few days, I started swimming and jogging. On the sixth day I wrote my first new song in more than two years. On the ninth, I recorded it, and on the 11th I performed it live for the first time on an open microphone night. I was never really good at keeping my mouth shut.

The most beloved and the most popular song of you is Smoke from Floriography, for sure. Everyone knows about that song. But it was your first serious work (album)… How did you feel when you got that success? What if, your album wasn’t being listened a lot, what would you do?

Moddi: That is a very funny question, because back here in Norway (and in most European countries), Smoke is not really a very well-known song. It has never been played on the radio, has never been released as a single, and we usually don’t play it on concerts either. Frankly, I wasn’t even sure if it would fit that well onto an album like Floriography. It is only in Turkey, along with the Arab and the Slavic countries, that Smoke has become a huge hit. I promise to play it, though.

Could you tell about “Silhoutte”s story? Did you add it just for memory of the enjoyable and also busy&beautiful days?

Moddi: Enjoyable? Busy? Beautiful? None of the above! Silhouette is (in my ears) one of my saddest, most tragic little songs. I wrote it for a friend of mine, who was sent to an asylum – a mental hospital – because he wanted to take his own life. We have recorded many versions of it, but it never really felt right for me to release it. When we were recording Set the House on Fire, the rest of the band made a version of it while I was asleep. They recorded it, and more or less forced me to put it on the album. I am very glad they did.

You have Spelleman of Folk Album of the Year prize. Did you trust to “Kæm va du?” that much? Did you have an intention that like “Yeah, I might get the Spellemann this year.”? Could you tell about Kæm va du?

Moddi: I don’t really care much about prizes. They look nice, but inevitably make you look backwards rather than forwards. If I ever win a prize that big again, I shall try to forget it as soon as I can, and try to dig out new stories and songs. That’s what makes me really happy.

You utilized from North Norwegian poets like Ola Bremnes, Helge Stagnes for Kæm va du. With this album your purpose was like a creating social consciousness, telling about North Norway…? Either you only liked the lyrics thus you composed the lines?

Moddi: To be honest, I could never have written the lyrics for Kæm va du? myself. I wanted to make an album about my home island, Senja, which has changed a lot the last century. I’m only 27 years old, and Ola, Helge and Arvid could all have been my grandfathers. They have seen the place change, and written beautifully about it. Their words resonate perfectly in me when I read them, it was almost impossible not to make the album. But as I said, i could never have done it alone.

When some people are working they want to be in a peaceful environment. What about you? What kind of environment you want to be in when you are working on your album and songs? Also, in some days couldn’t you sleep well because of you are working on a serious thing. How do you mostly feel when you are working on new things? Can you tell about that procress?

Moddi: I work slowly, and little by little every day. As long as I have a daily rhythm, I am able to create. Touring makes life too unpredictable to write anything, so I write best at home. But if I just stay home, there’s little inspiration to find. There always has to be a balance, and I never write songs just to write songs. It always starts with an idea, and luckily I have no control whatsoever about where or how those ideas pop up. But when they do, I do my best to have pen, paper and recorder ready.

Finally, do you have an idol or a role model that you are appreciated? If you have, who is she/he and why?

Moddi: Every human should find his or her own ways. If you try to live the lives of others, you will always fall short.

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