Interview MØ: ‘No-One Can Be Perfect’

This is her møment: MØ’s now ready to show her major label debut to the world, a pop triumph about ‘being angry on society’.

Karen Marie Ørsted doesn’t fit the customary punk typecast, be it an 80s era pink mohawk or a modern day leather jacket / pack of smokes figurine. Still, that doesn’t stop her debut ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ being a brave, zero apologies first work, one that defies its major label billing and doesn’t compromise for one second.

On the eve of its release, Karen’s back home at her parents’ house just outside of Copenhagen. She’s still writing (“You always feel there’s this song you have to catch. You strive for it”) but she’s also tackling exhaustion, something that’s caught up on her after a whirlwind 2013. The Class of 2014 graduate admits that sometimes things get tough, with endless touring and releases never reaching an actual endpoint. “I feel exhausted all the time,” she admits. “But then I go ‘‘Karen, you know you want this, you know you need to do this.’”

Every time she appears to hit a wall, the Dane reminds herself, “‘Karen, you’re so fucking lucky. This is what you’ve dreamed about all your life. So fucking get up and do this stuff.’”

After getting this far, it wouldn’t be in MØ’s nature to give up at the final hurdle. ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ packs together all of last year’s punchy, no-prisoners singles - the swooning ‘Never Wanna Know’, the Diplo collaboration ‘XXX 88’ - and compresses them into a brash pop assault. Closer ‘Glass’ doesn’t leave a second’s pause. There’s no breathing space, here. It’s an abrupt, effective conclusion.

‘Glass’ wasn’t initially meant to be the closing track. “There was a lot of people against [it],” says Karen. “But I thought it was a good one, because it’s saying there is no solution, it is frustrating being young, we are all going to die - but let’s get on with it,” she concludes on a slightly morbid note.

‘No Mythologies To Follow’ definitely isn’t a squeaky clean, get-up-and-go, ultra YOLO party anthem of a record. Its dark side is showcased like a dirty habit that’s worth celebrating. The album concerns itself with the grim realities of “modern society”, where “social media preaches about the perfect life, how you have to look good and young and fresh.

“We glorify eternal youth, but you also have to be intelligent, a good family person,” Karen professes. “You have to be perfect at so many levels. And we create these profiles around ourselves. [The album’s] very much about wanting to try to find your own path through all this. No-one can be perfect. I think the most beautiful thing about people is when they admit they have flaws.”

MØ’s debut is a summation of these flaws. It’s not perfect, even if it’s expected to break into the charts. Intimate moments line the seams, with vocals being recorded in single takes. Alongside producer Ronni Vindahl (a collaborator that’s been there from the very beginning), this debut brings together the project’s beginnings (“crunk rap, trashy beats”) and ups the anti on attitude and a sinister punk mentality.

Everything began when MØ took time aside from other bands she was involved in (she used to be in a duo called Mor - they released a song in 2009 called ‘Fisse I Dit Fjase (Pussy in your Face)’ - to focus on something solo, true to herself. “I went to an art school and my teacher told me to find myself,” she recalls. “That was when I started the project.

“I remember at that time, I was thinking an album should be like reading a story. Everything had to be connected; the music, the lyrics, the visual output. The albums in my life I’ve been most obsessed with, they all felt like a story. I’d feel like I was wiser when it was over. It’s a little piece of art where everything’s connected. It’s very important that an album has something on its mind.”

Karen sums up the record as being a collection of songs written and recorded during one constant feeling of “of being young and confused and restless and lost.” She sums it up as “very much how I’ve felt in this past one and a half years,” but already she’s thinking ahead to a new phase, album number two. “There’s always a song there,” she says. “It’s my platform for expression.” This debut album looks like being the platform that’ll properly launch MØ into the stratosphere.

MØ’s ‘No Mythologies To Follow’ is out now on RCA.

Taken from the March 2014 issue of DIY, available now. For more details click here.

Tags: , Features

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

February 2024

Featuring The Last Dinner Party, IDLES, Yard Act, Crawlers, Remi Wolf and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY