MØ: tornadoes, love and restlessness

Vasilis Panagiotopoulos

MØ’s reputation has seen a meteoric rise in the last few months. With the likes of Pitchfork and The Guardian coining her as the next big thing, Karen Marie Ørsted seems to be having a busy year ahead of her. We caught up with her and asked a few questions, among others on her upcoming SPOT performance.

How did you come up with the name ΜØ? What does it mean?
MØ is the old Danish word for ”virgin” but to me the name has got two different meanings: When I started MØ in 2009 the music was quite different from what it is today –  it was a trashy crunk-rap electro thing with a lot of poor sloppy dirty-mouth rap on top of weird and heavy-bass beats. And since I made a big deal out of having dirty and provocative lyrics in every single song, I thought of the name MØ as being ironic. I still think it fits my music though, because to me a ‘virgin’ also means to be a virgin in life i.e. young and naive – which is a theme a lot of my songs circle around. Also the artist name MØ has got a more personal side to it, as it is the initials of my grandfather Mogens Ørsted, an artist who always signed his paintings with “MØ”. Since my name is Karen Marie Ørsted – I thought it would make sense to call my first solo project MØ.

Describe your sound to someone who’s never heard of you before?
I would say it is a mix of electro indie-pop, soul with street vibe.

How did you start out making music?
I got my first CD when I turned 8. It was Spice Girls ‘Spice’. I wanted to be able to make songs like them, and started a band with my girlfriends . It has been my vision ever since to make music that has an impact on the people who listen to it.

What inspires your music?
Moods, people, noise and silence. Nature and city life, Sonic Youth, old dusty blues, 90s, trash, tornadoes, love, restlessness, astray people, empty towns, party time fun, the ocean, death and infinity, day dreams, leaving everything behind, Life in general… Being young and unaware.

What process do you go through in creating a track?
I need to have a strong feeling of something, and sometimes also a melody in my head (which I quite often have). Then I finalise the melody over chords on the piano, I write the lyrics and record lead vocals. Subsequently I add all the harmonies and choirs. When everything is recorded, I send all the stems to Ronni Vindahl who does the production.

Which artists influence your work?
Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and Karen O have always been my biggest idols, so I guess that I’m influenced by them. I also fell in love with Major Lazer’s ‘Get Free’ last year. But it’s hard to say who I’m influenced by. I guess it’s the essence of all things I know that become my music.

What should people expect from your SPOT performance?
Energy and intensity is what I expect from my SPOT performance – so I hope I’ll be able to live up to that.

What are your future ambitions?
To follow my heart and soul.

What are your upcoming plans?
To finish my debut album and to travel the world.

More info about MØ can be found here.