Her sophomore Rykestrasse 68 (2006) is a different album: “larger music” says Hanne, “longer stories, but it belongs to the world delineated by Little Things. That world represents my basic conception of music; what I discovered and constituted during the long process of making my debut.”
MIC spoke to Hanne between vacation in Argentina and the first gig of her now ongoing Norwegian tour. The concert at Finsejazz, a festival, took place in a remote mountain lodge.
From Argentina to Finse
“It’s quite a transition to go from Argentina to Norwegian winter mountains”, says Hanne, “but I actually like the snow and the cold, and besides; a confined, tucked-in kind of environment really suits my music. Many of the places we’ll perform have a special atmosphere; not least the one in Drammen, which will be a really strange experience since it’s a venue I know so well from my former bands, playing metal and music really different from what I’m up to now.”
Since the mountain gig she has visited Tromsø, Bodø, Drammen, Oslo, Stavanger and Haugesund. She has also had time to win the Norwegian Grammy award in the prestigious open category. This coming weekend’s two gigs at by:Larm in Trondheim will round off the Norwegian tour. It has been three years since the last time she played by:Larm, which was in Bergen in 2004:
“That was a fantastic experience; a truly special evening. We actually played two gigs -one of them was outdoors, which is not right for my music at all- but the other one was magical. It was in a place where people were watching from two floors, and everyone seemed enchanted, like they were really tuning in.”
The concert proved to be really important to Hanne; a lot of foreign journalists and industry people were present and the unique atmosphere of her music became one of the “discoveries” of that year’s event. After three years Hanne now comes back to by:Larm as a well established and internationally acclaimed artist. Her reappearance also underlines the evolution of the festival, which is incorporating more established and international names.
“I’m very happy to play at this festival again” says Hanne; I like the idea of reappearing at the same event with so much having happened in the meantime and the whole thing taking place in a different city. It’s a dynamic that exposes development, regarding both the festival and the artists who come back. I’m so pleased it’s Trondheim this year, because I have a lot of respect for the music scene here and playing here is always nice; Blæst is one of my favourite venues.
Hailed as a superb sophomore in Norway, winning her a Norwegian Grammy and affirming Hanne as a unique musical voice of the new millennium, Rykestrasse 68 will be released internationally on April 2nd.
The title refers to her address in Berlin where she lived for half a year writing the album.
“I started on the project before relocating, but all the actual work was done in Berlin: I developed all the songs into final sketches and worked a lot with sound, samples and instrumentation.”
Some of Berlin’s actual sounds feature on the record and it bears the name of one of its streets; still the record is not about Berlin. “I like to think of it as an indirect homage to Berlin,” says Hanne, “especially regarding the lyrics, but it is not about Berlin. In terms of the music Berlin was just where I had chosen to be, physically, when I made it, and since I do everything myself, my dwelling place obviously has an impact, but it’s more apparent in the lyrics.
Hanne shared and apartment with a few others for six months, confined mostly to her room and her Mac; tinkering with sounds and details and the little subtle things that have come to signify her expression.
“The sound was largely in place beforehand”, she continues“, because I had opened up the kind of world I wanted with Little Things. So with this album I was able to enter more fully into the music and let each song become larger, like bigger and more independent stories. What is important to me is that I work within a musical sphere that I have very consciously and laboriously developed, a sphere which corresponds to what I want to express. It’s like a constitution; a foundation that has nothing to do with genre or style, but rather works as an identity that allows me to go in any direction without losing grip of the inner nature of what I want to express in my music. “
Hanne displays a rare level of reflection regarding the essence of her music and regarding the deeper issues of being an artist in general. Not many young people in the sphere of pop can talk unstrained about abstract and constitutional aspects like she does.
“I find it hugely valuable and liberating to have gone through such a fundamental exploration from the start, because onwards from now my artistic metaphysics are in place, so to speak. By this I mean that fundamental aspects are operative -those that determine my artistic ground view- in such a way as to be almost unconscious. Thus I have a confidence in the personal truthfulness of what I’m doing, regardless of divergences and external factors.”
Maybe one may infer that the kind of originality Hanne displays -the incomparability of her expression- is something that takes more than just talent; it also takes a depth of reflection; a clear and undisturbed mind. In a reality brimming with references and comparisons and “given” musical ingredients -the reality that is pop music- true idiosyncrasy is a priceless value in itself.
The musical world of Hanne Hukkelberg is one not to be missed, certainly not when it unfolds live near you.
-Musically active since the age of three
-Involved in numerous projects since then, from metal to jazz
-“Little things” from 2004/2005 was internationally acclaimed as a rare musical gem
-Hukkelberg and her style labelled unique by a plethora of international connoisseur media
-Sophomore “Rykestrasse 68” confirms this status domestically, international release in April
-First by:Larm appearance in 2004
-Released by Propeller Recordings/Nettwerk records
Friday 02.09, 01.00, Dokkhuset
Saturday 02.10, 00.00, Skrækken