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Hanne making sounds

A Conversation with Hanne Hukkelberg (continued)

PM: I really love the song "A Cheaters Armory." Can you talk about how that particular song was written?

HH: Yeah. [laughs] I'm glad you asked about that one, because that was the song that took us the longest time to make.

PM: It's so amazing.

HH: [laughs] We sat for too many days and weeks and I think maybe months--we had so many plans for that song, because it wasn't really right, and we took so long to express our heads and wondering what we were going to do. It became really nice, but it was a huge job. It was a really difficult song to make. And I was sitting for a very long time with the lyrics, and I wanted something really special for this lyric. So this was a very hard song to make.

PM: Yes.

HH: But I'm very satisfied.

PM: When you're composing the melody for that song, say, do you use keyboards, or do you just sing it to yourself and you pull the melody out of the air?

HH: Well, in general I don't have one thing I do when I compose. I don't want to make one faucet? No? In other words, I don't want--

PM: [laughs] One faucet!

HH: Is that the wrong word?

PM: No. It's very poetic.

HH: That's good. I don't want just one way of doing it or making a song every time. It's better for me to just grab the way of making a song when a new song is coming to me. So with this song I don't really remember, but I think maybe it was both, just with this song I was singing a bit, I was playing a bit piano--no, no, no. I was playing the guitar. It was on the guitar. And first of all, I actually used my computer program, Protools, pretty much. I was just playing some piano, some guitar, some sounds, and just recorded it all in my studio. And together it was just a bit of everything.

PM: That's a very amazing video to that song, by Andreas Paleologos. That's a fantastic video, right?

HH: Yeah.

PM: How did that happen? Are you friends, or are you acquainted?

HH: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. He's a friend of mine. He has his studio right next to my studio. So we are kind of neighbors.

PM: Wow, he, like you, is a genius. [discover more about him here]

HH: He's really great. And I love his figures, the people that he's making.

PM: Oh, yeah.

HH: And yeah, it's really great, because I'm not really the kind of singer that would want my own face in the video. I don't want to be sitting in a car, driving a car--

PM: Right. So boring.

HH: I'm not that sort of artist. So I wanted something animated. And he's such a great animator. I went around to his shop, and said, "Do you want to make a video for me?" And he just said, "Yeah, of course."


HH: It was a very easy thing for me to do, but a very good choice, I have to say.

PM: Wow! And I see that he's a fantastic animator. What kind of a person is he?

HH: He's a very calm person. He's not much of a talker. He paints a lot. If you know him very well you would know by the way he's moving his hands or the look on his face what picture he's thinking about. That's really funny.

PM: Fantastic.

HH: He's a really nice guy.

PM: I thought that the way that that English company Space.nk used your beautiful song "Searching" was a very fine marriage of a fine song and a beautiful video, which I saw on your site. Did you like how that turned out?

HH: Yeah, it was nice. [laughs]  It was very nice.

PM: How did that happen? What's the story about that how that happened? How did they hear your song?

HH: I really don't know. I don't know how she heard it. They must have found it themselves.

PM: I see. So you never met anybody from Space.nk?

HH: No. I think the boss of Space.nk, she was really into my music, and she was like, "I want this song." She had really decided--actually, my first answer was no, because I thought it was--I didn't really know the company at all.

PM: But it looks like a nice company.

HH: Yeah. I found that out. And I thought, wow, this is actually a good company. I checked out all the things I wanted to check out. They were really good. They don't test their products on animals, for example. So I decided that, yes, I want to support the collaboration. It also was a really good video--the images were really good.

PM: Yeah, very beautiful. So it was what we'd call a good marriage.

HH: Yeah, a good marriage, exactly.

PM: And I'll mention to our readers at this part of the interview that the bonus track on Rykestrasse 68 is a very good live version of this song we're talking about, "Searching."

I was surprised and very glad to see Gillian Welch and Jose Gonzalez listed as friends on your myspace page. Do you like their music?

HH: Yeah, I really like their music. And I'm a personal friend of both of them. I met Jose Gonzalez at the festival in Amsterdam a couple years ago. And we were picked up at the same airport, and my band, we are six persons, and he was just one person. And we were laughing and making a little noise in the back seat. [laughs] And he was sitting a bit shy in the front. And I was like, oh, who's he? Oh, well, we're having fun. And when we came to his concert and listened to what he really played, I was a bit ashamed over how much noise we made because I should have asked him much more about, wow, his music, it was amazing!

PM: Very, very interesting music, yeah.

HH: Yeah, it was really amazing. And I love his music. I listen a lot to it.

PM: And what about Gillian Welch? Do you know her music well?

HH: Yeah. I love her Time (The Revelator).

PM: Oh, that's a fantastic record, the best one.

HH: And I know only that one.

PM: That's my favorite one.

HH: And I actually listened a lot to that record in Berlin when I lived there.

PM: Wow. Speaking of that, Hanne, I was actually first turned onto your music in an interview I did with a singer named Aoife O'Donovan, who has a great band called Crooked Still. Have you ever heard of them?

HH: I've never heard of them.

PM: They do kind of traditional American music, but in a very progressive way. They're really unbelievable. I wonder if I could send you an mp3 of theirs--

HH: Yeah.

PM: I asked her, "Well, who do you really like that we need to know about?" She said, "Oh, you need to know about Hanne Hukkelberg."



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