|Origin||Senja, Troms, Norway|
|Years active||2005 –|
|Associated acts||Einar Stray Orchestra, Farao, Angus and Julia Stone, A-ha, Pussy Riot|
Pål Moddi Knutsen is a Norwegian musician. His music has been described as a blend of folk music and pop. Moddi refers to himself as a singer and storyteller, and is also widely recognised as a political and social activist.
Although also a songwriter himself, Moddi is known for his reinterpretations and translations of other artists, such as Vashti Bunyan, Pussy Riot and Kate Bush, as well as Norwegian poets and songwriters such as Trygve Hoff, Helge Stanges and Ola Bremnes.
Pål Knutsen was born 18 February 1987 and grew up on the island Senja in Northern Norway. He debuted 5 years old on the local radio station Draugen, singing a traditional sea shanty. During his early youth, the young Knutsen played classical piano, the cornet in the school's marching band, bass guitar in various rock bands and performed as a rapper.
At 18, he adopted the old family name Moddi and started writing his own songs under that name. After finishing school, the 20 years old Moddi decided try a year off and "travel, play concerts and have fun until I had spent all my money".
Moddi is part of the community around the culture centre Kråkeslottet in Senja, where he is booking the annual Kråkeslottfestivalen. He is currently writing a master's thesis at Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo.
Moddi's debut release, Random Skywriting EP, was recorded in the bedroom studio of a friend and distributed in only 20 home-made copies. NRK Urørt, a Norwegian emerging artists radio show, picked up the EP and put it in heavy rotation on Norwegian radio channel P3. The following year, Moddi did some of his first concerts on festivals like by:Larm and Øyafestivalen, where he received good reviews from among others online magazine Pitchfork.
Moddi recorded his debut album Floriography with producer Valgeir Sigurðsson in Iceland. Upon release, it immediately hit the Norwegian album top 10. Q magazine described the album as "irrevocably heart-warming and beautifully constructed piece of melancholic folk-pop". Later that year, Moddi received the A-ha Grant of €120000 and toured as support for Angus and Julia Stone.
3 January 2013 Moddi presented the single House By The Sea. The album Set the House on Fire was released worldwide on 8 March, accompanied by a social media contest to win the release concert, which was eventually held in the mining village of Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia. Set the House on Fire was nominated for two Norwegian Spellemannprisen.
The same year, 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 the North Norwegian poets Arvid Hanssen, Helge Stangnes and Ola Bremnes. On the album was also the single Togsang, a reinterpretation of British folk singer Vashti Bunyans popular Train Song. Bunyan later commented that Moddi's was her favourite cover version of any of her songs. Kæm va du? won the award for "Folk Album of the Year".
In 2016, Moddi releases his fourth studio album, Unsongs, consisting of 12 banned songs from 12 different countries. The album is scheduled for release on 16 September.
In 2010 Moddi refused nomination for the €100 000 Statoil grant on environmental grounds, commenting that "I don't want Statoil for a friend. Who on earth accepts a friendship just because you get a million for it?". Moddi has participated on several albums, protests and rallies against the entrance of oil companies into Northern Norway and the Arctic.
In 2014 Moddi announced that he would be cancelling his scheduled concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, on the grounds that he would not be taken to support the Israeli expansion of settlements in the West Bank. He did not officially endorse any organised appeal, stating that "the debate is already way too black and white". Following the cancellation, he released the single Eli Geva, a song about the Israeli officer who refused to lead his forces into battle in 1982.
Later the same year, Moddi organised The Train Tour through Europe in collaboration with InterRail, a three-week tour entirely on rails. The tour went through France, Germany and the Czech Republic.
In 2015 Moddi contributed to the album "Fabler om en åpen kirke" in support of the liberal forces within the Norwegian Church. He participated with the song "Vær hilset, fru Bjerkås!", a tribute to Ingrid Bjerkås, the first female priest in service in Norway.
Albums / EPs
- 2007 — Random Skywriting EP (self released)
- 2008 — Rubato EP – split LP with Einar Stray (Playground / Spoon Train Audio)
- 2009 — Live Parkteateret – live EP (self released)
- 2010 — Floriography (Impeller)
- 2011 — Rubbles EP (Propeller)
- 2013 — Set the House on Fire (Propeller)
- 2013 — Kæm va du? (Propeller)
- 2014 — Live at Jakob Church of Culture EP (Propeller)
- 2015 — Music for Frankenstein EP (Nordland teater)
- 2016 — Unsongs (Propeller, scheduled for release in September 2016)
- 2009 — Nordnorsk julesalme (single)
- 2010 — Hjertestups withTogsang (Tyrili)
- 2010 — Samleplate for oljefritt Lofoten, Vesterålen og Senja with the song Krokstav-emne
- 2011 — Vi tenner våre lykter with the song Nordnorsk julesalme
- 2012 — Norge, mitt Norge..? with the songs Det stig av hav eit oljeland and Deilig er Norden
- 2014 — Sola (single)
- 2014 — Eli Geva (single)
- 2015 — Fabler om en åpen folkekirke with the song Vær hilset, fru Bjerkås!
- 2016 — Punk Prayer reinterpretation of the song by Pussy Riot, from Unsongs
- 2016 — Army Dreamers reinterpretation of the song by Kate Bush, from Unsongs
Also appears on
- 2009 — Kråkesølv - Trådnøsting (accordion)
- 2011 — Einar Stray - Chiaroscuro (vocals)
- 2011 — Synne Sanden - When Nobody's Around (vocals)
- 2011 — Thomas Dybdahl - Før morgengry (accordion)
- "Moddi twitter bio". 11 February 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- "Moddi homepage biography". Retrieved 7 June 2014.
- "Gaffa interview". Gaffa. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Moddi twitter bio". Twitter. 16 February 2015.
- "NRK Urørt".
- "Pitchfork review of Øyafestival". 12 August 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
- "Q Magazine". 18 April 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "House by the Sea by moddimusik". Retrieved 3 January 2013.
- "Moddi talks about the living room concerts". Retrieved 9 January 2014.
- "Moddi home page bio". www.moddi.no. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "Vashti elsker Moddi". Adresseavisa. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
- "Spellemannsprisen web site". Spellemannsprisen 2014. 15 January 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- "Millionens forbannelse". NRK Ytring. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "I am cancelling my concert in Tel Aviv". Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "Moddi på togturné". Gaffa. 8 April 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2015.