Nora Mihle (26), a multiinstrumentalist, composer, and songwriter from Norway, holds a degree in music and live electronics. The Trondheim-born musician loves finding solutions to tricky questions and learning new things. The body of her work combines fierce vocals, electronics, and transformed flute sounds. Right now she is focusing on her own solo project ”Mihle”. Only recently, Beehype, listed Mihle’s song “fear” as one of Norway’s best songs in 2015, and you lucky Berliners get the chance to see her live in Berlin at Mme Claude in a couple of weeks!
When writing music, what is the most important aspect you are focusing on?
I’m all about lyrics, I can write and rewrite lyrics for ages before I’m content. I always begin there, then the melody needs to be just right. I’m a sucker for good hooklines! The rest is decoration.
It is rather seldom that musicians combine flutes with electronics and pop music. At least nowadays, it is rare. What fascinates you about this mixture?
That may be because it takes a shitload of time and patience to learn! Sadly, I don’t really use it live with Mihle, as I also sing there. But acoustic instruments are a way to compliment the electronics, to soften the sound of machines. It’s something so physical about flute, actually breathing music, and with all its imperfections it works lovely with electronics.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. Books and poetry, a situation or a new observation. My own relationships with other people are a constant source. The difficult part is preserving it, finding a way to hold on to those little sparks of something bigger. I always carry a notebook and recorder.
What kind of music gets you excited?
Music that gives me something new; it may be a shift of gravity, a new timbre or another way to phrase an emotion. It can be music I’ve listened to a hundred times, and suddenly I discover something different because I’ve changed.
Has living in Berlin influenced your songwriting in any way?
Definitely. I came here completely alone, I didn’t have anywhere to live and knew absolutely no one. Building up a new life from scratch has made me vulnerable, sharpened my senses in a way. I’ve lived here a year and a half now, and I still sort of feel like I’m traveling. It’s hard to separate what I learn as a human being and songwriter. To sum it up: I may not be better, but I’ve definitely grown to be bigger since I’ve moved here.
How would you compare being a musician in Berlin to being one in Trondheim?
I love my hometown, I love so much about the music scene, but at the same time I just had to leave, get some space. Some things are easier for me to get done there, as I have a good network and access to great musicians. I do miss the intensity of it, playing with others all the time, in their weird and diverse projects. On the other hand, I have a bigger audience here. I have access to a level of the music industry that just doesn’t exist in Trondheim. I’m a much smaller fish in the pond, but I have more headspace.
Berlin is big enough to find new people if you tire of the old ones, and there’s a freedom in that.
Any must listens?
Jenny Hval’s debut album “To sing you apple trees”, released under the alias Rockettothesky.
Interview: Victoria Trunova