Feature: The Ingredients of 'How We Made It' with Frøkedal

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Oslo-based singer-songwriter Frøkedal shared her new LP How We Made It late last month via Propeller Recordings, and the project is full of heartfelt lyricism, stunning arrangements and her captivating vocals. She recently gave us an insight into the elements that make the album special.

My old workspace:
This is where I would go most days for more than ten years, playing piano and guitar, fixing my gear, trying to get along with the recording software on my computer.  Familien (my band) would come up here and we’d all squeeze into the small, overloaded room and play no louder than the sound of an acoustic violin, as there was no sound system. When I was alone I spent a lot of time staring out at the old factory buildings outside the window. The songs on How We Made It mostly came out of this place. It was surprisingly sad when I was forced to move out half a year ago – I’d stayed there longer than I’ve lived in any house or apartment.

Photo by Vidar Landa

Collected stories of Carson McCullers:
Carson McCullers’ short stories gave me one of the best reading experiences in years. Her texts are poetic and beautifully written, and the way she describes her broad spectre of characters – outsiders, children, artists – is filled with empathy and care. She writes about people in her stories the way I want to do in my songs. Check out “The Member of The Wedding”, “The Ballad Of The Sad Café” and “Who Has Seen The Wind”.

Familien is the band that play on both my records as well as live. In the beginning they were an unlikely ensemble: Two violin players from the traditional music scene, Olav Christer Rossebø and Ingeleiv Berstad (Lady Hardanger), alongside pop artist Thea Glenton Raknes (Thea & The Wild) on drums for the first time – and finally my bandmate through many years in Harrys Gym, Erlend Ringseth on keys. I’ve loved arranging the songs with them, and at one point Familien even influenced my songwriting: 'Spinners' is an instrumental track I wrote to give the violins some space of their own.

Photo by Julia Naglestad

John Cale - Paris 1919:
I never seem to get over John Cale, some of the music he’s made keeps sounding perfect to my ears. I have a soft spot for string instruments, of course, but I also love the way he keeps naming places and people, and how that feels very significant each time. We’ve been covering the song 'Hanky Panky Nohow' as an encore sometimes and I will always ask the audience to tell me if they know whose song it is. If anyone knows, I’ll buy them a beer.

Royal sourdough bread:
When I’m working with music I need food to keep me going and that food has to be very easily available. Once I go out to ea, it will take at least an hour and I’ll lose focus. In Norway, it is quite common to bring your own lunch, a “matpakke” to work (or school), but to do that without losing my appetite, really tasty bread is of great importance. I bake it myself. The sourdough starter comes from our violin player’s parents on the West Coast of Norway. And they say the bacteria culture in this particular sourdough originates all the way back to the royal Swedish court.

Photo by Vibeke Heide

You can check out Frøkedal's album How We Made It below:

(Header image by Julia Naglestad)