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Kory Kruckenberg Wins Grammy, Shouts out Pickwick

Last Sunday, Kory Kruckenburg won a Grammy in the category of “Best Engineered Album, Classical" for his work on Eliesha Nelson’s album Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works. On Monday, Kruckenberg was in his Toyota station wagon, heading north on Highway 1, solo roadtripping back to his Seattle home.

By day, Kruckenberg is a freelance engineer, recording film scores, video game soundtracks, and classical recordings inside a former seminary chapel at Kenmore's Bastyr University. By night, he plays bass in local country rock band Pablo Trucker and vibraphone in acoustic-soul outfit Pickwick ("I don’t actually play vibraphone," he says. "I hold mallets and play notes.") In his spare time produces records by his favorite Seattle bands, including the Maldives and J. Tillman. He spoke with City Arts during a pit stop in San Francisco.

CA: What's it feel like to be at the Grammys?

KK: It's all a different world to me, someplace I never expected to be. My sister flew out from England, and we went to the pre-telecast ceremony, where most of the awards are given. Sitting there and seeing all these awards given out was a little surreal. The award I was nominated for was halfway through the ceremony and I hadn't prepared a speech. I was getting really nervous. I wasn’t expecting to win because that seems like such a weird thing to have happen. It was a tie between one of the other nominated records and the record I worked on. So it was a little confusing at first because I was like, Am I supposed to go up there? Did they just call my name? I was double- and triple-taking the screen to make sure my name was up there and I wasn't making a fool of myself in front of all these people. My knees were shaking and I got short of breath. While I was standing up there I thought I was gonna fall over I was so nervous.

You gave a sharp little speech though.

That's what everyone's saying, but even after, I walked off the stage and thought, I have no idea what I just said. I hope I wasn't complete idiot.

So you were surprised to win. 

The record that won was recorded two and a half years ago, so... I never really thought that anything I've done would be nominated for a Grammy, let alone win one. It's not something you think about when you're working on a project.

Nice touch shouting out Pablo Trucker and Pickwick.

I do a lot of clasical engineering and film score engingeering, and I love doing that stuff and it's great work, but my heart is with the bands I work with and play in. Those guys are my best friends and my family in Seattle. They're always encouraging and supporting me, being flexible with me and my schedule, because it gets crazy sometimes. The Seattle music community in general is so amazing and supportive, everybody helping each other out and encouraging each other. It’s a really cool scene to be a part of, and to be able to say I'm friends with these people means so much to me. Whether it had anything to do with the award, that’s important to me as far as how I see my life and the work I do. It was important to me to express.

Did you do much hobnobbing in LA?

I'm not a very outgoing person. I saw a few people around here and there but I didn’t really talk to anybody. The road trip I'm on by myself is kind of telling. I like sitting back and watching people and not really being a part of whatever's happening.

What are you gonna do with the Grammy?

I don't actually have it. I guess it takes a couple months to get it because they have to make the nameplates. If they have them all sitting in the back, someone might see the names and the winners could get out or something. Maybe the ones they give out during the televised ceremony are real, I don't know. When we left the stage I was holding one that they gave our group and by the time we got off the stage, the escort showing us offstage asked for the Grammy back. And I was like, I guess that’s just a prop.