Interview: MØ

We’re sitting at the back of the balcony in Corona theater, feet propped up on this seats in front ofus, a few hours before her sold-out show is set to take place. It’s the same balcony she’ll later comeup to during the middle of her set, to party with the fans who didn’t get an up close view of her improvisational dancing on stage. It’s the second time she’s playing in Montreal this year and she’s excited to be back. Rocking a band tee, Calvin Klein leggings, a mock Thrasher hat, a leather jacket and some rad emerald loafers (which she informed me she had bought in Tokyo the second she spotted them), she’s got a certain cool demeanor that she carries with her. She’s basically just this raw, badass, talented girl from Denmark. And yet, she’s also an incredibly down-to-earth person, eager to learn and chat.

Karen Marie Ørsted was rocking the stage in a punk band with her best friend long before her stage name was ever created. And, while she’s certain she’ll always be a punk at heart, her sound has transformed and landed her features on tracks with Major Lazer, Iggy Azalea and Justin Bieber. Today, as one of Denmark’s biggest artists, her owncatchy tracks (which have garnered over 1B Spotify streams), girl power attitude, and incredible stage performance has kept her audience and fanbase growing strong. Now, on the final stretch of her tour before heading back to the studio to record her second album, we sat down with MØ to discuss her music, her inspiration and what’s to come next.

: Thanks for sitting down with Confront today! We’re so glad to be here with you. You recently released your music vide for Drums – congratulations. What your take was on the video, how do you feel it plays into the song and how do you think the response has been on it?

: Thanks! Yeah, I think the response has been great. We didn’t have much time, so it was all like “Wow let’s do this like this,” brain-storming, “ding ding ding let’s go for it” you know? And there has actually been the biggest numbers of views on it in the shortest amount of time for a video of mine. So, that was a big thing for me and the whole idea. The song is pretty simple; it’s about a happy breakup. You know, just “hey man, we’re in the time of our lives where we need to go and experience different things and just take, you know, a different path. We love each other, respect each other. I love you, but I have to just go on this journey on my own for a while.”

April: Do you feel like that’s sort of the direction that your music is taking as well or do you feel that’s more of a hypothetical situation with a person?

: I think, I mean, I always love relating everything in my life into different metaphors. I love metaphors. When we wrote the song, it was mainly about this whole thing about letting each other breathe and daring to say “fuck it, no I’m going to do this now.” But yeah, I do see it also in terms of creativity or even like with friends sometimes. You need to be like “hey man, see you in a couple of years, I’ve got to do something.” So, yeah, you can definitely see it as a metaphor

April: Speaking of underlying meanings, I was reading that your stage name is your initials and it’s also a Danish word for ‘virgin’ or ‘maiden.’ Do you feel like that is something your music is still portraying? Do you think it’s changing? Or how do you feel that plays a role for where you are right now in your career?

: I think I’ve always been a little bit childish in my brain. I mean, I’m twenty-eight years old now, so I’m not a child anymore, but I still feel that ‘maiden’, what it means to me, is that whole thing about purity and maintaining the child inside of you. I still feel like that’s like being a bit naïve. I still feel that inside of me and also in my music. So yes, I’m still in that. But of course, two and half years have passed since my first album and so of course, I have changed, the music has changed, everything around me has changed. The politics have changed, everything changes. So, of course, the music has a different meaning. But there still this essence which is the same.

April: One of the things that really drew me towards your music and I’m sure a lot of people can agree, is this sense of girl power in your music. So, when I was reading some other interviews you’ve done, I wasn’t surprised to see you were really into the Spice Girls, Karen O. and Kim Gordon, because they are all really strong female figures, even though they are so different musically.

: So different, yeah. But, the funny thing is I got introduced to girl power through the Spice Girls, but then when I became teenager, I got into punk and punk rock and that whole DIY movement on the West Coast. That was in the 90’s with grunge music and bikini kill and all that, like the real girl powers. So both things have influenced me. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve just been really drawn to that strong female voices you know?

April: Yeah, for sure. So you mentioned you were into punk music and now you’ve transitioned a bit to pop music?

: – Yes, but I still have the same attitude towards my music. I think that’s its super important that in the music you do, you keep it authentic to who you are as a person and as an artist, by giving it personality and not following the stream in terms of what a female icon is supposed to be like. There is so much pop music out there and there is so much of “this is a pretty girl, this is a nice girl, this is a cool girl.” Fuck all of that. Just be yourself. That’s much more interesting, I think.

April: That’s awesome – I like that.

: But I love pop music and I can’t run from that. I love pop music, it’s my favorite thing.

April: And pop music doesn’t have to be this cookie cutter thing either.

: No exactly, that’s what I’m saying. You can make pop music interesting. Number one on the billboards right now is “Black Beatles” from Rae Sremmurd. That’s hard core. Pop music can be really exciting.

April: I couldn’t agree more. So, last summer, you played at Oshega and now you’re playing a venue…

: Osheaga! The catering was so amazing.

April: Wasn’t it! Other than the catering, is there other things that you prefer for festivals or for venue shows? Do you like one more than the other?

: No, I love both. With festivals, people are on holiday and there to just get drunk, let go and be free. There’s such great vibes at festivals. At the same time, people go in and out to the shows, which is great as well, but you know it’s like that’s festivals. At venues, people are not on holiday; they go to see the show and then they go home.

April: They want to see you, they know your music.

:  Exactly, and that’s super nice too, but the vibe is different. But, I really love club shows because you can really go deep and you can really get dark if you want to. Festivals are more open. I love both things for what they both have.

April: They’re definitely both unique. So, you have about a week left in your North American tour and then you’re heading back to the studio. You have an upcoming album – what can we expect?

: Yeah finally, finally starting to happen! It’s so hard to describe the kind of things I think I would say. What I am really happy about right now, is that I feel like it’s being authentic again to who I feel I am. It’s going to be a political album and it has messages, it’s not just about love. I think that’s nice and it has the mellow quality side, which I’m very much about, but I’m also very much about the party and outgoing side of life. I feel like it has both and it has something new, but also has something old. It’s still not one-hundred percent done, but I visualize it now and I’m happy about it and I hope it’s going to be great.

April: It sounds like a very cool project. What else can we expect from you in 2017?

: I’ll have a couple of songs coming out before the album. I would think, maybe some collaborations, but I can’t really talk too much about that just yet.

April: Well, we looking forward to it regardless!

: We’ll see yeah, we’ll see. Then tour, I guess. I want to get a little more politically involved since its difficult times for living. I love new projects, so I hope this is going to be a fun, awesome, and exciting year with a lot of traveling.

April: Sounds like a lot of exciting things to come! Thanks for sitting down with us today.

: Yeah, thank you!

Want to see more picture from her show?

This interview was originally conducted for and published on Confront Magazine, which closed it’s digital doors on January 1st 2017.

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