Coachella 2018: MØ Opens Up About Her Epic Set & New Project
Since making her Coachella debut as a relative unknown in 2015, MØ has established herself as one of the most creative forces in pop music. Whether she’s featuring on chart-conquering bangers (Major Lazer’s “Lean On” and “Cold Water”) or dropping her own immaculate bops, the Danish diva always takes a fresh and innovative approach. That willingness to experiment is particularly apparent on 2017 EP, When I Was Young, and recent single “Nostalgia” — the first taste of a larger, still-mysterious project.
The 29-year-old returned to the Indio desert on Saturday (April 14) and wowed fans with a high-energy show on the prestigious Coachella Stage. We caught up with MØ before her electric set, which featured cameos from Charli XCX and Diplo, to talk about her festival memories and pre-performance nerves. She also clarified those “Nights With You” lyrics and give away a couple of hints about her long-awaited sophomore LP. Get to know the Scandinavian hitmaker a little better in our casual Q&A below.
Is this heat a shock to the system?
Yep. Totally. I’ve been in cold weather for like fifteen… no, not fifteen months. Five months! We came here and it’s like, this is summer now! Fuck.
Have you caught any shows yet?
I actually had vocal rest all day, I didn’t say a word. I was just completely chilling, because like I mean… I’m really so nervous and so excited about today. Yesterday was complete rest. I really wanted to see Daniel Caesar though, but it’s going to be next week!
What kind of sticks in your mind from your first Coachella in 2015?
You know Coachella is maybe the most legendary festival in the world. And you know again, coming from Denmark I was just so honored and humbled that I was going to play this festival. And I was very nervous of course. And I just remember that it was like walking into paradise. But also, I was really, really nervous for the show. But we had so much fun and like driving around with the top down.
I remember driving from parties and singing in the car and just being like, “Yay!” And just having so much fun, like a desert vacation, but at the same time hard work because there are a lot of things at stake, playing Coachella. I also remember my friend Elliphant was here to do “One More” with me.
Where is Elliphant? She’s so dope.
I think there’s going to be some new stuff soon. I don’t know for sure but I think so. She’s amazing. I love her.
Speaking of special guests, I need to tell you how much I love the video you did with Diplo.
Oh right! The “Get It Right” one. It might of been the most fun shoot I’ve ever been on, just because it was so nice that, you know, sometimes when you do videos it’s all about posing and looking into the camera. Lip-syncing, all this stuff and I love that this was like a dance challenge and doing it with someone I admire and like, who’s a friend of mine and who have done a lot of music videos. It was just such a fun experience.
And it was awesome because I remember he, like a couple of months before the shoot, he shared his idea about the whole thing — it being filmed in… I actually don’t know the English word.
Yeah, exactly! And I was just like, “This is a fucking sick idea, sure let’s totally do it!” And even though I’m a terrible dancer I wasn’t even worried about the choreography because I was just like, “Of course we have to do that.” It’s like the best idea.
You have such a rich creative history with Diplo. How do you still find ways of challenging each other?
I think one of the biggest things I’ve learnt from collaborating with Wes [his real name] is constantly moving and evolving and bringing in new people and new sounds and changing your stuff up. And I think if you keep evolving and the people around me keep evolving then you will keep doing new stuff that’s exciting, you know. That’s just such an important lesson just to, keep pushing.
You can be like, “Oh this worked out for me, so I’m just going to keep doing that because it was successful. Even though, it’s tempting to sometimes to just go, “I know this works, I know I’m good at this,” but you have to keep pushing yourself.
“Nostalgia” is such a great song. Is it a part of another EP or an album?
Well, I mean obviously I want to tell you the whole plan, but it’s still a little bit of a secret though and I really want to tell you. But! The thing I can say is like, it’s like the beginning of a bigger rollout. And then you know, you can interpret that as you want. I have a lot more stuff coming out.
YESTERDAY!!! Coachella I am speechless, happy and humbled that I got the chance to play main stage warming up for legends like my idols @haimtheband and the queen of queens @beyonce !! 🔥😱😭😭😭❤️🔥I am so grateful I got to experience this and for everyone who came out sharing that moment with me!! MASSIVE thanks to @charli_xcx and @diplo for coming out for my show – it made it feel even more special to have two friends and colleagues there on stage with me! ❤️It’s gonna take me a couple of days to get back to reality after a kick on a scale of this. Thanks to everyone watching, my band my crew etc love u❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ (so many hearts in this post I can't control myself sry) . Pics by @hredcliffe & @coachella
We’ve been waiting for the follow up to No Mythologies forever.
I know. I know. I am dying to release an album.
How does the When I Was Young EP fit into everything? Was it just a side-project?
Totally. I felt like it was a little collection of songs that I needed to put out before going full on into the actual album. Because like an album is… I know that we live in a time where it’s all about singles and EPs but I really wanted to put out an album. It was a big thing for me, you know because I feel like it’s been so long, you know, like all these collaborations and singles and I was just like, “I need to put out this little thing.” A little collection of songs before I could put my mind into the actual album.
It sounded like a throwback to your earlier sound, a little more indie.
Definitely, yeah. I guess I do have both sides in me, you know I do really like indie.
You were a punk chick back in the day.
Exactly! And so, I think you know, it’s always finding that balance where I satisfy the indie part of me but also do the accessible songs because I also love that.
“Nights With You” was one of my favorite songs of 2017.
I’m so happy you liked it.
People had some interesting interpretations of the lyrics. Is it about coming out or the euphoria of being with a good friend?
That’s actually what it was, the direct… what do you say, the actual inspiration was for my best friend. She’s been my friend since I was three years old. And as you say, it was about that euphoria about being with someone that really knows you and whom you love and it’s just a really deep friendship, you know. So, that’s what it was about but I love that so many people interpreted it in so many different ways.
Because it’s just like, “Yeah!” Because I’m also aware that, in the song, it doesn’t really say friend or romance. It’s kind of open to interpretation, which I like. I think that’s nice, when you don’t get it served right on the plate.
The video is also incredible.
For many years I have actually been really, really obsessed with Neo-Brutalism in architecture. And so that kind of just spiraled into this whole, “Let’s go to Bulgaria because they have so many of these Neo-Brutalism monuments and buildings. And that’s how it started.
Do you have a big following in Eastern Europe?
I actually don’t know, I think I do but, you know what it guts me that I’ve actually never been on a club tour in Bulgaria or other Eastern European countries. Well, I have been to Hungary and I’ve played festivals in Romania but like I haven’t been on like a full club tour as much as I would like. But I know I have some fans there and I’ve met some of them and they’re very sweet.
Will songs like “Nights With You” and “Final Song” be on the album or have you waved goodbye to them?
I’m not waving goodbye to them. Oh, what do you mean, like the songs or the sound — like the pop thing?
Well, both really. Were they one-off singles?
Oh, gotcha! I mean some of them were one-off singles and some of them I might put on the album.
Like a bonus track?
Exactly. Yeah, something like that. We’re still figuring that out. As for the sound, my dream is to make music that can reach a really wide audience and fit into the pop world but still have personality, and be bold and different. But that’s really, really hard to make. So no, I haven’t waved goodbye to the pop sound, I think this year I’ve just been really trying to rediscover that sound, you know. Which is a big deal to me.
Are you working with the same producers?
Actually this last half year, I’ve been working with this one more or less. I mean, as you know, a lot of the songs have been like done in collaboration with a lot of people but this guy is called Stint. He is executive-producing, making it all fit together. So I’ve been working a lot with him.
You’re playing in the daylight. How do you prepare for that as opposed to a nighttime set?
I think honestly right now my biggest worry is it getting really warm. My thing is, in daytime shows, I usually just go for full energy, like just going crazy. But I’m afraid that the heat will make me so exhausted that I can’t do it, that’s my only worry. But it’s going to be really fun. I’m probably just going to use all my energy and then pass out right after the last song.
So you don’t have plans to see anyone after the show?
I mean, I want to see everyone playing on my stage afterwards. I really want to see Beyonce and also I really want to see HAIM because I’ve been a fan of them forever but I’ve actually never seen a show with them because there’s never time.
Thank you so much and good luck for tonight.