Growing up in Sweden to a Norwegian mother and a German father, Menke was first taught to play the lyre at the age of six. This ancient Greek instrument would become the tool that would transform Menke’s life. From there, she was onto to learning piano, guitar, banjo, and cello. As an experimental artist, she has more recently taken up a fascination with playing wine glasses and saws.The variation of instruments and sounds has always been important to her while creating music, and her belief is that music is meant to be felt rather than theorized.
MiLLENNiAL caught up with Menke before her performance in New York City to learn more about her new album and stylistic approach to music.
You have soft folky lyrical sound. Where do you draw your inspiration and how has that influenced your music?
For me inspiration is a state of mind that can be triggered by all sorts of things. It could be art, architecture, poetry or philosophy. I’m very intuitive when making music. I can’t force it or make it on command.
With “Moln” for example I read the poem and was immediately struck by the words and somehow started playing to it.
Some of my musical inspirations are Sigur Ros and Joanna Newsom.
How did you get your start as a singer/songwriter?
I started my music career being more of a musician than a singer. It took me a while to find the singing. I’ve always improvised a lot while playing piano but it was first in high school I started writing music of my own. I found the thrill of sitting up all night; writing and recording music while everybody else were asleep. It became my secret hideaway.
What has been a defining moment in your career?
It’s difficult to choose one defining moment. It’s all been more like a stairway, taking one step by another. But the most important step was probably the first step. The step you take before you even know who you are or where you stand. One such defining step for me was moving to Berlin with my friend and duo partner at the time. Playing in all those smokey bars formed me to be the musical person I am today.
Tell us about your debut single Moln. What themes or messages does it convey?
The word ´Moln´ means clouds and the poem is a picture of these clouds. For me it’s all a symbolic picture. It’s about someone to look up to, someone brave, someone experienced, someone fearless but also fragile. It’s about the changes and rhythm of life.
Who does your music typically attract and what is your hope for expanding that audience?
I think that all kinds of people can be attracted and touched by this music. I guess it’s more about how receptive you are at the time your listening to it rather than who you are. I hope to be able to make people feel something. The expanding part is not that important to me, what´s important for me is to reach through and be able to touch people.