MØ talks about her new album, Motordrome, and following up Lean On

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“Yesterday I got my booster, so I’m feeling a little just like tired, but besides that, I’m good,” tells me from her home in Denmark. The pop superstar has plenty to feel good about. Her new album, Motordrome is about to drop and it’s possibly her strongest and most personal release yet. On top of that, Lean On, her smash with Major Lazer, is now close to 1.6 BILLION streams on Spotify!

I still don’t fully understand, like, that was just so wild,” she admits. But does that kind of massive success affect the songwriting that follows? Does the subconscious feel like it has to chase that level of popularity? “I think in the years after Lean On, it was definitely in the back of my mind, actually all the time almost, and I couldn’t really help it. It was just there. But it’s funny because now when writing this album, I haven’t been thinking so much about it now. It’s more like this thing that I’m really proud of and really amazed by how that all happened. But I think, you know, I feel so lucky to have had that sort of success, but again, and don’t get me wrong, of course, I hope to be successful, but I think it’s really important that when writing music, you don’t think about how good the numbers are going to be, like how successful you’re going to be, but that you’re trying to just focus on writing and doing the music that you think is really cool.”

Motordrome blends powerful, cathartic lyrics with MØ’s signature pop melodies, and layered production of club-ready grooves contrasted by reflective, downtempo tracks. The title is inspired by a conversation MØ had with her mother about her battles with anxiety — the panic and intrusive thoughts reminded her of the dødstrome, an old carnival trick in which a stuntperson rides a motorcycle around the vertical walls of a motordrome at death-defying speeds. She tells me the writing process was a way for her to get through the feelings of helplessness.

I think in the beginning, I was pretty scared about talking about it for some reason. Maybe also just because it’s one of those things where it’s like, I know that so many people go through things that are much worse than what I’ve been going through. And so in a way, I didn’t want it to seem like I was like whining or something. It was just difficult for me to get started on writing on it, because obviously, it was just so scary, like to be experiencing panic attacks, even though it’s a fairly normal thing. It’s just when you experience that for the first time, it feels so scary. Like I never tried being out of control of my brain, I guess. And so it did feel scary to start to write about it, but I then found really writing these songs made it all feel less scary and it made me understand why it had happened much better. So in that way, even though there are many songs that it’s a bit like, you know, dealing with some very personal stuff, it was actually just a really important and really great experience for me to write this album.”

Founded on MØ’s unique pop recipe, she gathered friends and longtime collaborators including Caroline Ailin (Dua Lipa, Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding) and Noonie Bao (Halsey, Charli XCX, Carly Rae Jepsen) to help work on the songs. Canadian producer, Stint, worked with MØ on her last album and was one of the writers on the song, Brad Pitt. Further writing and production collaboration included Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Vampire Weekend, Adele), Jam City (Olivia Rodrigo, Troye Sivan), S.G. Lewis (Dua Lipa), Linus Wiklund and Yangze. This is MØ’s first body of work since 2018’s highly acclaimed Forever Neverland, which included a world tour following its success.

She hopes that this album will also help her fans through troubled times, the way other artists’ music has helped her in the past.

“I mean, what I really hope is that some people will listen to it and that they can attach themselves to some of the themes or even just some of the lines, you know, cause that’s what I, as a listener, always am looking for in music is something to like attach myself to and to give me inspiration or hope or feel community or something. Like this year, I’ve been listening a lot to the girl in red album and there’s a couple of the songs where it’s just like, there’s these lines that I can really relate (to). And it just lifts me up so much to listen to that. And so obviously, you know, even though no one’s life is the same, but I still hope that someone will listen to it and find a community or like sense of hope or like inspiration.”

During our chat, we talk about how these new, darker songs will fit alongside older material in her live show, and how bands like Sonic Youth and Yeah Yeah Yeahs helped shape her music tastes.

I ask how she’s feeling as the release date of Motordrome approaches.

“I’m probably just going to be kind of like very confused and like not really reachable, you know, like on a spiritual level, like I can feel I’m already like that. It just feels a bit surreal to be putting out an album, but at the same time, it also feels like the right thing, you know? So yeah. I’m just, I haven’t having a lot of emotions about it.”

Watch the full interview below:

Motordrome, is out January 28, 2022 via RCA Records.

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