Global babe magnet Diplo: “MØ makes really interesting leftfield pop music with lots of attitude and elements of R&B, hip hop and afrobeat. She’s got this incredible duality to her that I find cool. Her songs are banging as well as having a dreamy and narrative depth to them.”
“Everything I do is a contrast,” says Scandi-pop star-in-training MØ. “I like the solitary nature of being on my own but then I really like working in the studio with people too.” The girl formerly known as Karen Marie Orsted is Skyping us from her childhood bedroom in Copenhagen, where she’s also recording the vocals for her debut album. A soundproof booth has been constructed by taping bedsheets up against the ceiling, teepee-style. It’s a fitting environment for the 25-year-old’s icy tales of adolescence, heartache, love and self-identity to crystallise within.
The fragmented, glitchy audio of her singles “Pilgrim” and “Waste of Time” gives her fragile and precious songs a defiant toughness. “With ‘Waste of Time’ I heard the beat and remember thinking it was this combination of aggressive and energetic, then something cold and silent,” she explains. “Like two poles or two forces, so I wanted the vocals to be the same. Very soft, but very aggressive.”
The song’s video splices a series of images together, linked by an ominous theme: a chainsaw ripping through wood, a chair bursting into flames, a snake rearing its head, ready to strike.
I like the solitary nature of being on my own
but then I really like working in the studio with people too.
The dream world also plays a pivotal role in her song-writing process. “I just wrote a song that’s about a break-up, and there’s a house. Inside the house is all the chaos, and outside, in the garden, lies the calmness.” She pauses, catching her breath. “Then things get mixed up, and the chaos comes outside, infecting the calmness. And that reflects the relationship between the two people inside.”
MO’s debut album will be released later in the year. She promises it will be a snapshot of love and the journey to become and find oneself. “As a teenager, you’re as close to being a psychopath as you’ll ever be. Focused on yourself, your own emotions. Even when you get older you’re always searching for something more. We’re made that way. Always looking for validation for what we’re feeling.”