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A few weeks after the show, I was still determined to find out more about this ridiculously underappreciated artist, so I called Hukkelberg in Norway (nine-hour time difference from Phoenix), where she's living alone for six months in a village of 200 people to compose music for her third album. I was most interested to find out how she seamlessly weaves everyday sounds — such as the city noises of Berlin (where Hukkelberg lived for six months to compose music for Rykestraße 68), rhythmic typewriter, and a purring cat — into the already stunning songs that she writes.
"I've always been interested in sounds. My brother is a sound engineer and my parents are musicians, so we've always been talking about sound and music. When I met my producer [Kåre Christoffer Vestrheim], we just experimented with sounds," Hukkelberg tells me from her temporary home in Skaland, which is located in the always-cold Troms region of Berg, where mammoth mountains dip directly into the sea. "Often, finding sounds was a coincidence. I maybe brought a glass of water while recording in the studio and it made a noise on the glass and he would say, 'Oh, wow, that's cool. Let's use it.' It happened with more things, and we did it with more purpose. After a while, we used all of the sounds in our way."
Hukkelberg grew up listening to classical music, sang in a doom-metal band called Funeral during high school, and studied jazz at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. Despite this diverse background and eclectic approach to making music, the songwriting magic doesn't happen just anywhere, according to Hukkelberg. "When I compose, I need to get away from my regular life because I really need to dig into myself and to hear my inner voice a bit clearer. It's difficult to hear what I really want to express when I have the everyday life around me," says Hukkelberg, who also contributed a gorgeous piano/vocal ballad to The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian soundtrack. "I often go somewhere else to compose music because other thoughts come to me. It's not always very comfortable, but it makes me write better music, I think."
However Hukkelberg crafts her wondrous music, I can't wait to hear more. And I'd drive or fly just about anywhere to see her perform again.