The 23-year old poetic songwriter, Pâl ‘Moddi’ Knutsen, hails from the furthest reaches of the picturesque northern Norwegian coastline, on the island of Senja.
His first songs came to life, as he says, in the school dormitory's showers, “the only place I could hide away after everyone else had gone to sleep”. At the age of 18, he dusted off his mother’s dormant and forgotten accordion, stole a Russian Mandolin and performed his first ever gig. By 2006 he was invited to record a demo at a friends home studio; this first recording was limited to a 20 copy run, but managed to attract a lot of local attention, ending up on the radio and courting invitations to play live at the by:Larm festival in Oslo.
In 2008 a split 12” vinyl record with fellow compatriot Einar Stray was released, and Moddi moved to the capital, Oslo, to begin work on an album. After spending most of the following year on writing songs for his debut LP, the Icelandic producer Valgeir Sigurdsson (Björk, CocoRosie, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy), invited him to his Reykjavik Greenhouse studios to record, what would be, the critically acclaimed ‘Floriography’ – this album is set to be officially released in the UK, sometime in the Spring of next year.
Up until recently, Moddi has remained confined to his native shores – one of Norway’s best-kept secrets. But with the recent applauded ‘Rubbles’ EP, his first release outside Scandinavia, it looks like his cover is about to be blown. I caught up with the modest and unassuming bard in the middle of his European and British tour.