MØ’s New Album Helped Her Escape A ‘Toxic Loop’

31 January 2022 | 12:24 pm | Michael Prebeg

"The stress was hard on my mind and body."

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After eight years of constantly working, Danish pop superstar MØ hit a wall. She felt defeated and knew it was time to stop and take a break to step away from everything. This hiatus eventually gave her the energy she needed to return to music, taking control of her life by starting a new chapter with her third studio album, Motordrome.

“When I stopped and took a break it was like almost going from one completely different reality and into a new one, or back to my old life in a way,” MØ begins.

“Suddenly, I went from a crazy kind of popstar world to just being myself again back in Copenhagen with my friends and my family. The stress was hard on my mind and body,” she reveals.

Goosebumps was the first song she wrote for the new album. It’s an emotional ballad that was penned right after she decided to take a break when she realised something needed to change. It gave her the motivation to pull herself up and it also set the tone for the album.

MØ describes the concept of Motordrome like a reference to capitalism in a way. “It’s like when you’re in the machine and the wheels turning and it's going fast,” she says, “for many years, I was scared of taking a break because I was so scared of losing what I had. It’s that feeling when you're on top of something and it's pushing you and you're scared that if you stop then you'll lose it or you won’t be able to keep up. 

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“These are all the things that we tell ourselves and then we don't dare to actually take a step away. It was a toxic loop that I was stuck in and not daring to take that little break and stop. When you keep going for so long, it will eventually have some kind of consequence.”

Single Live To Survive came about a bit further into the writing process and it continues to explore the concept of finding yourself again and exploring personal growth. The film clip tells a bit of this background story in a fantastical kind of way, complete with motorcycle stunts and explosions: “It shows this biker woman who’s worn out and she connects with her natural superpowers.” 

MØ continues to channel this energy into her latest single, New Moon, as she sets new intentions and lets go of the past on the upbeat electro-pop track that’s one of the stand-out hits on the album. 

A song titled Brad Pitt is a little bit of a cheeky flashback to the ‘90s as MØ reflects on her teenage crush at the time when the movie star dated Juliette Lewis. “I was so obsessed, and I thought they were the hottest couple,” she confesses. The video clip sees MØ become Brad Pitt in honor of her crush. “It was Halloween night and I got to dress up with my friends, it was a lot of fun to make.” All fun aside, she explains it’s really about how you don't need to be a superstar to be happy.

Motordrome explores more personal themes, so it was natural for her to perform all vocals by herself, despite her love for collaborating with other vocalists. MØ was stuck in Copenhagen during the album’s production so it made sense to work with a few local producers, but she also enlisted LA-based Ariel Rechtshaid (Vampire Weekend, Haim). 

“I've wanted to work with him for so many years,” she explains. “It's funny that the first time I get to work with him was actually all on FaceTime. I have done this process before, and I used to very often send things back and forth to producers because I've always been traveling so much. But this time around I spent so much time in the same place. It was a special experience.”

As MØ rediscovered herself during the making of this record, at the same time she also went back to her roots, exploring a darker kind of sound inspired by her teenage punk scene days of activism. “Since Lean On, a lot of my singles and collaborations have definitely been more on the lighthearted side of things. But I think I needed to explore this darker sound a little bit because I think for me, darkness can be super beautiful. In a way it creates an energy that that is super important as well,” she explains.

MØ hopes to return to Australia very soon to promote the new album. “I remember touring Australia in April 2019 before I took my break, it was seriously such an amazing tour,” she tells. “I’ve just been dreaming about coming back ever since. I want to bring the Motordrome show out into the world. I’ve had a lot of time to dive deep into the whole stage design to create a universe of a gloomy, ‘80s glam, punk pop sort of atmosphere with a motorcycle sculpture and industrial lights.”

Motordrome is out now.