By Esmée Colbourne
MØ is what fairytales are made of. A binary of candy pop and ear catching soft punk, MØ aka Karen Marie A Orsted, is a Danish singer and songwriter, who many may know from being featured on Diplo tracks like Get It Right or Major Lazer’s smash hit Lean On. With deep roots in electro-pop, Orsted’s seductive danceable synth rhythms are what enables her to get a crowd of two hundred or two thousand moving to her beats. This emotive award winning artist is currently touring on her 2018 release Forever Neverland, which reimagines LA as a dreamy West Hollywood street. Orsted has some cool friends, many of whom have been featured on this record, from Charlie XCX to Foster the People. This album is longer and more mature than Orsted’s last EP, When I Was Young, and falls in line with her numerous other singles that bring her quirky pop music into the world view.
BeatRoute caught up with Orsted to chat about her new album, collaborations and her favourite Spice Girl.
Forever Neverland was made over a couple of years – did you expect it to take this long?
No, I did not expect for it to take so long. Making and creating music has always come quite natural to me, so for this 2nd album to drag out forever really opened my eyes. The tough 2nd they call it and I certainly agree with that.
Do you see how you have changed as a musician through the songs?
I think I needed to experiment a lot with this one. I came from a more “left” pop debut album and then into a massive mainstream hit with Major Lazer’s Lean On, and I felt the urge to somehow try and combine those two worlds while still keeping my voice and sound original. And that took a time, and a lot of spit and tears to do in a way where I felt like it was honest to who I am but also relevant for the world around me.
Which song was the most fun to create?
I really loved creating Way Down. It was all so intuitive and fun and the song was written in just a couple of hours. I love when that happens cuz that means the inspiration is full power.
What are the themes of the album?
It’s centered around my own fear of growing up / wish to escape, but in that also my realisation of the fact that it’s ridiculous AND impossible to escape the unavoidable and that denial is self destructive. I’ve always felt like I could identify with the restlessness and shiftiness of youth and I tend to hide myself in the “ignorance of youth”- bubble if I don’t know how to handle a situation but I’m starting to learn that 24-hour escapism will only postpone and probably make whatever problems you have worse.
What’s the story with your collaboration with STINT?
I had been working on a ton of songs over the past 4 years. All songs in many different directions cuz I had been working with a lot of different people and also been experimenting with different sounds and genres. So basically, I desperately needed someone great who could help me narrow down and unify all this. I cut my own vocals and I know what I like but I’m not a super technical producer myself – I wouldn’t know how to say, produce drums for instance (I suck at that), and STINT is good at everything surrounding song writing, production and flow. I really needed someone who I could have a ping-pong with on a daily basics and who could and would involve themselves in the process and help me make this album be a real thing so I was really, really happy that STINT came along.
Is it challenging to keep your voice as an artist while working with other great producers?
Actually, I find it easier to keep my voice and find my identity when I’m collaborating with great producers/artists, cuz it challenges me to REALLY define who I am and what I wanna say. I need to stand out and give them “me”. It can actually be harder sometimes when I’m working on my own stuff, cuz I’ll have so many ideas that it sometimes becomes a bit hard for me to navigate and see things clear, but when working with others you’re forced to make a statement so that you won’t disappear in their shadow.
What does writer’s block feel like to you?
Writers block sucks, but you know what – I think it’s something most artists has to go through once or a couple of times in their lives – and this was my first time and it definitely sucked ass, but believe it or not I feel blessed for the experience cuz now maybe next time it happens (if it happens again) I will hopefully be MØre prepared, and might even know how to avoid it. It definitely taught me something.
Which Spice Girl do you identify most with?
Sporty Spice. Cuz she is a strong sporty, hot tomboy. I always wear tracksuits as a kid, and still do now. Yes, Melanie C was the one who inspired me to do that. Also inspired my favourite poses for pictures and to embrace. I can relate to her way of femininity, always could and that gave me a confidence as a child – that there are different ways of being a girl/woman in this world and you can choose whatever way that seems fit to you freely.
See MØ live January 30th 2019 at the Commodore Ballroom