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Moddi (photo Vicki King).jpg
Moddi (photo by Vicki King)
Background information
Origin Senja, Troms, Norway
Genres folk
Years active 2005 –
Labels Propeller Recordings (Norway)
Associated acts Einar Stray, Farao
Members Katrine Schiøtt - cello

Erik Normann Aanonsen - bass
Jørgen Nordby - percussion
Einar Stray - piano
Truls Olsen - sound

Pål Moddi Knutsen (born February 18, 1987) is a Norwegian musician from the island Senja. Moddi is self-taught, counting accordion and acoustic guitar as his main instruments. His music has been described as a blend of folk music, pop and post-rock.

Early years[edit]

Moddi made his debut on the local radio station at the age of 5. Raised in a musical family (his father playing drums and his mother the accordion) he was tought piano and trumpet at young age. 18 years old he recorded his first demo in a friend's bedroom studio. The demo, printed in only 19 copies and kept secret for almost a year, eventually made its way onto national radio was listed on the national radio station NRK P3 for many months.

His debut EP Rubato was released on Playground Music in August 2008. The EP, printed in a limited edition of 500, was a split vinyl with the artist Einar Stray. Moddi and Stray have since been featuring regularly in each other's bands. The same year, Moddi received praise from the internet magazine Pitchfork for his concert at Øyafestivalen.[1]


One of the 20 demos was sent to Iceland producer Valgeir Sigurðsson, who invited Moddi to record his debut album in Greenhouse Studio in Reykjavík. On the 8th of February 2010, Floriography was released and immedeately hit the Norwegian album top 10. Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten rated the album 5 out 6.[2] Floriography was nominated for two Norwegian Grammies (Spellemannsprisen) for best male artist and newcomer of the year.

In January 2010 Moddi turned down a nomination for a 800,000 NOK grant from By:Larm. The oil and gas company StatoilHydro was the sponsor of the stipend, which was incompatible with the artists' climate engagement.[3] Later that year Moddi received a grant from A-ha before their farewell Ending on a High Note Tour. The stipend was 1 million NOK.

Pursuing an international career, Moddi released Floriography for the international audience in February 2011, earning 9 out of 10 stars at The 405.[4] He toured as support for the Australian folk duo Angus and Julia Stone. After more than 250 concerts in one year, performing at Reeperbahn Festival, Green Man Festival, Haldernpop, Iceland Airwaves and End of the Road Festival, Moddi announced an indefinite hiatus.

Set the House on Fire[edit]

After a year in hiatus, on 3 January 2013, Moddi announced that the new album called Set The House On Fire was ready for release and presented the first single from the album, House By The Sea.[5] Many of the songs on Set the House on Fire were written in an abandoned communal shower in a student dormitory in Telemark, where Moddi had spent his time in hiding.

'Set the House on Fire' was released worldwide on 8 March 2013, accompanied by a social media contest to win the release concert.[6] The campaign spread worldwide, earning Moddi both attention for the album and a nomination to 'innovator of the year' by Spotify.

Set the House on Fire was nominated for two Spellemann awards, in the 'pop artist of the year' and 'best composition' categories.

Kæm va du?[edit]

While touring with Set the House on Fire, Moddi recorded another album to be called Kæm va du?. The new album was released on October 11, only half a year after Set the House on Fire. Kæm va du? (meaning 'who were you?') differs from the previous albums in being sung entirely in Norwegian, and with lyrics borrowed from poets like Arvid Hanssen, Helge Stangnes and Ole Bremnes. The songs on Kæm va du? aimed to question the identity of Norway's costal areas, which have undergone large changes in the last decades.

Kæm va du? has been released in a LP version containing English explanations, translations and stories behind the songs.

Set the House on Fire and Kæm va du? were nominated for altogether 4 Spellemann awards in 2013, making Moddi the first artist in history to be nominated for two albums in two categories each. Kæm va du? won the award for 'folk album of the year'.

In January 2014 Moddi announced that he would cancel his scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, thereby joining his voice to the boycott, divestment and santions (BDS) movement against the occupation of the West Bank.[7]



Year Album Chart
2010 Floriography 9
2013 Set the House on Fire 10
2013 Kæm va du? 5


  • 2009 — Live at Parkteatret
  • 2008 — Rubato EP
  • 2006 — Random Skywriting EP


  • 2010 — Nominated for Spellemann 'best newcomer' and 'best male artist' for Floriography.
  • 2010 — The A-ha grant.
  • 2013 — Nominated for the Gaffa music prize for both Set the House on Fire and Kæm va du?.
  • 2013 — Nominated for Spellemann 'best pop artist' and 'composition' for Set the House on Fire. Nominated for 'composition' for Kæm va du?. Won 'folk album of the year'.


  1. ^ "Pitchfork review of Øyafestival". 12 August 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "Aftenposten review of Floriography". 9 October 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "NRK Lydverket » Kråkesølv takker nei til oljepenger". Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "The 405 review of Floriography". 14 April 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "House by the Sea by moddimusik". Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Moddi talks about the living room concerts". Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "I am cancelling my concert in Tel Aviv". Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Moddi discography. Retrieved March 23, 2013.

External links[edit]