Martin Høybye

How do you write about 'the end of the world'?

Martin Hoybye is an artist whose recording career spans nearly two decades during which he has released a number of albums as well as having contributed to those of other artists.

His songwriting tends to revolve around social and existential issues, and recurring themes are time, love and identity.

He also has a background in journalism and in critical heritage studies, working within the field of Heritage and the Anthropocene.

Since 2007 Martin Hoybye has co-directed the label ‘Songcrafter Music,’ which releases Nordic songwriting talent.

It is a company based on a socially and culturally sustainable philosophy of reinvesting all profits in supporting new and emerging artists whose art is assessed purely on the quality of the craft.


The singer/songwriter is now also undertaking a PhD study investigating ‘Life at Ground Zeros of Climate Change’ with a particular focus on water as heritage.

‘In March of 2018 I witnessed effects of climate change in Cape Town, South Africa, after years of drought leading to the current water crisis. I believe it offered a glimpse into what the future might look like in other places of the world,’ he says.

The study will add to the conversation of how we across cultures, disciplines and borders can come up with creative responses to the repercussions that rapid climate change brings.

‘I feel compelled to do this work, to go out there and listen. Just as I will continue to write songs about this the fiercest challenge of our time’ he says.


Time and (other) finite resources

One of the points Martin constantly works to make come across is that many of our perceived infinite resources are, in fact, finite.

‘We treat natural resources like water and air as carelessly as we tend to treat each other. In a sense, our lives are too short. We are not geared to understand the repercussions of our actions centuries or even just decades down the line.’

On the upcoming album release (launching in January of 2019) ‘The Hour Glass Sessions’ time is a trope running through all of the songwriting.

In the seemingly daunting and scary circumstances that climate change and the advent of the Anthropocene brings, Martin wanted to try to write about what mattered most to him. But rather than turning out topical songs the project quickly took a more personal direction.

‘How do you write about the idea of the end of the world? What does that even mean? I realized that to me that meant something very personal yet universal. And in turn the bulk of these songs are about life and living, about family and what I would like to pass on,” he says.

While writing he kept an imaginary tree of life in the back of his mind, the family being present through the entire writing process – both the living and the dead.

It’s a crazy kind of process, really. An exercise in only writing about what you know, and what is real. But I’m in love with this quirky life. And in that sense all the songs are love songs,’ says Martin Hoybye.