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PHOTOS OF THE YEAR 2016

in Photos by
Mø

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh, Tom Spray and Amanda Farah

Mø (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Fat White Family performing live at Loppen (photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Fat White Family (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Courtney Barnett (Photo by Tom Spray)
Savages
Savages (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Bob Hund live (photo Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Le Butcherettes (photo by Amanda Farah)
Action Bronson
Action Bronson (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Chvrches (photo by Tom Spray)
A Place To Bury Strangers performing at Loppen in Copenhagen
A Place To Bury Strangers (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Puce Mary (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Puce Mary (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Bisse
Bisse (photo by Morten Aagard Krogh)
Jackie Lynn
Jackie Lynn (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Gojira (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa (photo by Tom Spray)
mac demarco live roskilde festival
Mac Demarco (photo by Tom Spray)
Angel Olsen Live in Copenhagen
Angel Olsen (photo by Amanda Farah)
guardian alien live roskilde festival
Guardian Alien (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

 

PHOTOS: Roskilde Festival 2016, Day 4

in Photos by
Mø

Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

New Order

new order live roskilde festival

New Order, Arena, by Tom Spray

Protomartyr

Protomartyr - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Gojira

Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Cate Le Bon

cate le bon live roskilde festival
Photo by Tom Spray

Guardian Alien

Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
LCD Soundsystem – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
LCD Soundsystem - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
LCD Soundsystem – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Albums of the year 2014

in Blog by
Swans-To-Be-Kind

Swans – To Be Kind

After thirteen studio albums, Swans have not diluted their power or talent one bit. But somehow, since their rekindling in 2010, they have become more popular. To Be Kind is just as provocative and challenging as Swans’ early material, with half-an-hour-long songs like “Bring the Sun/Touissant Overture” and off-kilter oddities like “A Little God in My Hand”, but the sound and instrumentation has matured, becomings both less distorted and somehow more dissonant. As we witnessed in November, Swans are still a brutally loud and relentless live band, a constant provocation to audience and peers, and much loved because of it. – CC


 møMØ – NoMythologies To Follow

Karen Marie Ørsted is my hero. My braid swinging, ex-punk rocker, stage diving hero. I remember the first time I listened to one of MØ’s tracks, loading up Spotify and finding myself blasting ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Let The Youth Go Mad’ for hours on end and wondering how one individual could contain quite so much effortless cool. She was the Danish alternative pop princess I’d been waiting for, ready to join a royal court populated by Björk, Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey. I waited for No Mythologies To Follow for over a year, as singles like ‘Glass’ and ‘XXX 88’ trickled out from MØ HQ. I was delighted to find that the debut album did not disappoint, as Ørsted shared something that was exciting, thematic, beautiful and most importantly, sounds fucking fantastic. From the first time I heard it, I knew that No Mythologies… was my album of the year. – HT


WhatIsThisHeartHow To Dress Well – What Is This Heart?

Tom Krell’s third album What Is This Heart touches on lighter subjects than his previous two albums Total Loss (2012) and Love Remains (2010). Not one to shy away from touching personal matters, the album starts off with ‘2 Years On (Shame Dream)’ and leads you softly into a journey that expands an extremely vivid personal dream about his family. ‘Face Again’ the stand out single along with ‘Repeat Pleasure’ work in his signature indie R&B coupled with stunning falsetto which leave you questioning how these tracks aren’t further up the charts. WITH takes a turn with grand orchestral ‘Pour Cyril’ before leading into cute power pop ballads ‘Very Best Friend’ and ‘Precious Love’ proving key changes are making a come back! – TS


 Angel OlsenAngel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

The most immediately striking thing about Angel Olsen is her voice, a voice that could easily croon country hits but instead lopes over scruffy, dampened guitars. Her voice alone should earn her and Burn Your Fire for No Witness a place in hearts and best-of lists, but what really makes Burn Your Fire… so special is that it’s wholly intuitive. Olsen’s second full length album is her first with a full band, and it’s the album her debut hinted she was capable of making. She hasn’t abandoned minimalist solo tracks, but she balances them against full-band arrangements. And it’s not just the range of her voice that’s striking but it’s incredible malleability; that it’s raw yet gentle, that it jumps from disaffected to emotive from one line to another, that it rasps and twangs with equal affect. And while she’s not too proud to pay homage to the ‘90s on “Forgiven/Forgotten” and “High and Wild,” these frazzled moments give way easily to stark folk ballads. The album comes down so slowly that by the time you’ve reached the hushed conclusion of “Windows” there’s a sense of catharsis. Burn Your Fire… doesn’t just leave you feeling satisfied, but completed. – AF


 sharon van ettenSharon Van Etten  – Are We There

Somewhere in Tennessee there is apparently an ex-boyfriend of Sharon Van Etten who, during their relationship, kept telling her that her music was terrible. There is a lesson to be learned here.
“Are We There” is one of those records that grows on you. There is something extremely vulnerable and honest about Sharon Van Etten’s song writing and performance on stage. Her voice has depth which is completed by the unique vocal harmonies with Heather Woods Broderick. As Sharon Van Etten told The New York Times when she released her previous album “Tramp”, she does not really consider them harmonies: “I just hear two notes at once — I just hear two melodies.” – MK


6) East India YouthTotal Strife Forever
7) IceagePlowing Into The Fields Of Love
8) Scott Walker and SunnO)))Soused
9) Tune-yardsNikki Nack
10) The War On DrugsLost In A Dream
11) Future IslandsSingles
12) Sleep Party PeopleFloating
13) FKA TwigsLP1
14) EagullsEagulls
15) St. VincentSt. Vincent
16) Alt-JThis Is All Yours
17) Wild BeastsPresent Tense
18) Mac DeMarcoSalad Days
19) Ice Cream CathedralSudden Anatomy
20) Lana Del ReyUltraviolence
21) Get Your GunThe Worrying Kind
22) SpoonThey Want My Soul
23) WarpaintWarpaint
24) Shiny DarklyLittle Earth
25) BeyoncéBeyoncé

Photos of the year 2014

in Photos by
The Rolling Stones (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

It has been a busy year for Here Today. During 2014 our photographers and journalists covered Roskilde FestivalNorthside FestivalTrailerpark FestivalWasn’t Born To Follow (a mini festival by Smash! Bang! Pow!), as well as over 50 live shows with artists like St. VincentSwansAngel OlsenSharon Van EttenThe War On DrugsMac DemarcoCommunionsFirst HateLower, and many more.

We have put together a selection of the best photos of the year 2014. It has not been easy. Some stood out, though, like the picture below of Perfect Pussy; a picture that captures the raw energy of the show while still being very carefully composed and a perfect example of Henry Cartier Bresson’s concept of the decisive moment.

Perfect Pussy (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh / mortenkrogh.com)Perfect Pussy | Wasn´t Born To Follow, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Another amazing photo is the one of Damon Albarn (by Tom Spray) spitting water at the audience at Roskilde Festival. The crowd, the big empty space and the solitary figure (Damon) at the edge of the stage in a defiant stance; it is a picture with allegorical qualities, one that can make you mind wander.

Damon Albarn (Photo by Tom Spray)

Damon Albarn | Roskilde Festival, Arena Stage (Photo by Tom Spray)

Then there is Morten Aagaard Krogh‘s photograph of the The Rolling Stones (at the top of this post) from when the band played the legendary Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival, a stage that has come to symbolize the festival. The Orange Stage was originally made for The Rolling Stones’s 1976 Summer tour, but in 1978 it was sold to Roskilde Festival. For the first time since 1976 The Rolling Stones where reunited with their old stage. It was also the first time they played Roskilde Festival. James Hjertholm’s photo of Hexis’s leadsinger Filip Andersen is also very powerful and last, but not least, there is a whole gallery of photos (at the bottom of the page) that are equally great.

Hexis (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Hexis | Roskilde Festival, Rising Stage (Photo by James Hjertholm)

See the gallery with Here Today’s photos of the year 2014 below.

The gallery features photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com), Tom Spray (tom-spray.com), James Hjertholm (jameshjertholm.com), Ivan Boll (ivanrb.dk) and Jonas Bang (jonasbang.com).

All images are copyright of the individual photographers.

Roskilde Festival 2014, Sunday 6th July

in Live Reviews by

Deerhunter

After several days of stage theatrics and moody band introductions, it’s a surprise and a pleasure to see Deerhunter conducting their own soundcheck. Frontman Bradford Cox’s awkward charm does more to connect with the audience than any set of laser displays or smoke machines. As the band launch into “Agoraphobia”, the refrain of “comfort me” seems particularly apt, a love letter to the warmth and comfort of the shoegaze bands that inspire it. But Deerhunter replace the ethereal quality of bands like Slowdive with a certain degree of quirkiness which is clear in Cox’s stage banter as much as in his music. After regaling us with a description of a 4th of July celebration chez Deerhunter, the band launch into “Nothing Ever Happened”, drawing out its motorik energy until it starts to melt into a cover of Patti Smith’s “Horses”. A moment of brilliant free-association genius, and a great begging to Sunday at Roskilde.

CC

(Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Julia Holter

The warmth and energy of Deerhunter are replaced with an almost unbearable heat and humidity inside Gloria, where we wait for Julia Holter. But that same discomfort put this reviewer into a mind frame that perfectly suited the David Lynchian-quality of Holter’s music. The avant-garde singer-songwriter is accompanied by a drummer, a cellist, a violist, and a tenor-saxophonist. The effect is altogether different than that of her latest record, Loud City Song: the noise, reverb and general swirliness of the album are replaced with a crisp, stripped-back sound, as intimate as it is unsettling. “Maxim’s I” is transformed from the kind of song you’d expect to be heard in a Twin Peaks road bar into something closer to jazz or minimalist classical music. The intimacy is helped by Holter’s approach to her audience: offhand questions about what wine people in the front are drinking turn the affair into a secluded, friendly if off-kilter microcosm.

CC

Julia Holter (Roskilde Festival 2014)

(Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Kasabian

I have this image in my mind of Kasabian sitting around a few weeks before a tour or album release. Guitarist Sergio Pizzorno turns to frontman Tom Meighan and says “mate, why are we still doing this? We’re not even that great.” Meighan puts his hand on Pizzorno’s shoulder and says “Serge, it’s because we’re massive LADS!” They then discuss ‘banter’ or something. At Roskilde, the vision becomes reality as Meighan makes exactly the same motions with his (relatively sparse) audience. It’s about half an hour before their set is due to start, and they’ve summoned only a few dozen to wait in line for the pit. This is the same band who closed Glastonbury. Why have they failed to crack Denmark? The majority of the small group waiting are all British. The lone Dane standing next to me says his friends didn’t even want to come with him to watch. Maybe Danes don’t really go for lead singers who look like Eye Ball Paul from Kevin And Perry Go Large, but it’s entirely their loss.

Meighan is unashamedly confident and cocky, but he justifies his behaviour onstage, introducing the band as ‘The Mighty Kasabian’. He engages with the audience by pointing and waving his tongue at them, and between songs stands pouting triumphantly on the edge of the stage, beckoning the crowd to shower him and his band with all the woops and claps they can muster. Basking in praise comes naturally, he relishes it, and shows enough vitality in everything he does to make it work. Who gives a fuck if his audience is only half full; as long as a few people are enjoying it, he can hype them up enough to adequately rub his ego.

From opening track ‘Bumble Bee’ taken from new album 48:13, to closing number ‘Fire’, which is extended and dedicated to Leicester, the performance is unfailing. The final track sees Meighan and Pizzorno telling everyone to bounce on the ground for the guitar riff, before jumping incessantly for the rip roaring chorus line. It’s got even more energy than the actions for ‘Vlad the Impaler’, which followed a similar routine. As the rest of the band depart, Meighan sings, surprisingly well, the chorus line from ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’ a capella. A few punters are still screaming the riff from ‘Fire’ after the band have left and the hosts have stepped on. The only disappointment is the lack of encore.

HT

Kasabian (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Kasabian (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

 

MØ: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love your plait and scrunchie combo. I love the tennis skirt and dirty trainers you’re wearing. I love your complete disregard for the ‘No Crowdsurfing’ rule. From kangaroo jumps three feet in the air to sprawling onto the ground and singing from the floor, watching MØ perform is a visual spectacle. It’s tiring just looking at her, as sweat drips from her forehead. Always in control, her voice never once falters or fails; it stays completely powerful and enchanting, as she accompanies herself with looped “huh”s and high pitched “ow”s. She’s a beautiful clash of soft feeling and urban style, both in look and sound.

HT 

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

MØ (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Stevie Wonder

If there’s a place for legends, the Orange Stage is it. From The Rolling Stones on Thursday, to Stevie Wonder on Sunday, it was the performance space for two entirely different but well loved acts, and the latter’s evening set brought the festival to a joyous end before a few thousand punters stayed on for Jack White. Wonder’s band is so extensive it takes several minutes to credit them all. For the entirety of the two hour set, the singer remains enthusiastic, engaging and encouraging of the audience to partake in his soul celebration. He introduces all his tracks with an invitation to “sing this”. The chorus forms the base of a hit track for him to sing over. This is not Wonder’s show alone; he ensures it belongs to the tens of thousands of tired, dirty spectators too. As he moves into ‘Ebony and Ivory’, the musician asks the crowd: “can you imagine how much people have missed out on because of the prejudices we have in this world?” and once again beckons for Roskilde to join him. “If you agree with me, sing… You can’t just talk about it, you have to be about it.” Whether the subject matter is love, adultery or racism, for Stevie Wonder, music is the channel through which people should come together and reach greatness, solidarity and power.

HT

Stevie Wonder (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Forest Swords

If Forest Swords’ Matt Barnes feels hard-done-by in his allocated slot—playing Gloria at the same time that Stevie Wonder and Moderat are playing the Orange Stage and Arena—he certainly doesn’t show it. The space that isn’t occupied by the scattered but enthralled audience is instead filled up with the Liverpool-based producer’s approach to dub music: lung-fizzling bass, unsettling samples, sharp keyboards and even the odd spaghetti-western-influenced guitars. Barnes is accompanied by a bassist, and divides his time brooding over the sampler, hunching over the keyboard or swaying around with his guitar. Tracks like “Thor’s Stone” and “The Weight of Gold” from his debut Engravings are without doubt some of the standout electronic songs of 2013, and are even more effective live.

CC

Forest Swords (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Forest Swords (Photo by Tom Spray)

Photo by Tom Spray

Jack White

Those of us who watched clips from Jack White’s set at Glastonbury last week knew what to expect for this, the concluding set at the Orange Stage: an expansive retrospective of his work, from the White Stripes to the Raconteurs and his solo work. His band band, including a fiddle-player and a lap-steel-guitarist, help to reinvent as much as they reproduce the sounds from his back-catalogue, adding a certain amount of country twang to the overdriven swagger of much of his later work. A slight hint of reserve blends in with the excitement as White begins his set with a drawn out jam of the White Stripes’ “Icky Thump”: is this going to be a display of utter indulgence, an artist at the height of his success revelling in his apparent freedom to do whatever he likes? That reserve is also to be found in White himself, who largely refrains from talking much in between songs except to get a little annoyed when the crowd doesn’t seem to know the lyrics to “Hotel Yorba”. “You guys speak English, right?” This is going south fast, but a split-second later White recovers by making some quip about his own level of English. Thankfully, the experience seems to humble him enough to really begin engaging with the crowd, rather than taking their adulation for granted. The extended jams end, and are replaced by a quick series of White Stripes medleys that drive the audience forward through slower songs from Lazaretto.

Throughout White pays tribute to fellow Detroit-native and predecessor on the stage, Stevie Wonder, and even makes the odd joke about sharing his doctor with Drake. It is clear in these moments that Jack White’s ability as an entertainer take precedence over his sometimes rather insular and self-aggrandizing approach to his “art”, and that on stage he is able to fully embrace that. A festival crowd might not know the lyrics to all his White Stripes songs, but they can end Roskilde on a jumping high with set closers “Steady as She Goes” and the obligatory, perennial “Seven Nation Army”. But even in this last instance, White doesn’t rest on his laurels, but reworks the song in such as way as to work best with a band of six rather than one of two. We can only apologize to poor Londoners, from whom apparently we snatched him at the last moment. Such is the power of Roskilde.

CC

(Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

(Roskilde Festival 2014)

Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

MØ | Roskilde Festival, 06.07.2014

in Photos by

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com) and Tom Spray (www.tom-spray.com)

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

MØ (Roskilde Festival 2014)

MØ (Photo by Tom Spray)

MØ (Photo by Tom Spray)

Northside Festival 2014

in Photos by

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Mew

northside_day2-8143

northside_day2-8072

A$AP Rocky

northside_day2-7962

northside_day2-7849

northside_day2-7805

Baby In Vain

northside_day2-7632

Baby In Vain (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

The Brian Jones Town Massacre

Brian Jones Town Massacre (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

northside_day1-8028

Röyksopp and Robyn

northside_day2-8441

northside_day2-6596

Röyksopp & Robyn (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

The National

northside_day1-7420

northside_day1-7455

Lana Del Rey

northside_day1-7324

northside_day1-7289

northside_day1-7175

northside_day1-7162

northside_day1-7090

Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand (photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

 

northside_day1-6106

Mount Kimbie

northside_day1-6900

Reptile Youth

northside_day1-6830

northside_day1-6835

northside_day1-6017

Cold Specks

Cold Specks

Pixies

Pixies

Pixies

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent McMorrow

northside_day1-6967

Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts

Wild Beasts

Nabiha

Nabiha

Royal Blood

Royal Blood

Royal Blood

Royal Blood
The portrait of Royal Blood explained in a tweet:

 

VIDEO: MØ – “Walk This Way”

in Blog/New Music by

MØ has shared a video for the single “Walk This Way” from her debut album No Mythologies To Follow. The video was directed by Emile Rafael and sees Karen Marie Ørsted sporting a similar look to her idol Sporty Spice (Mel C) in a school gym while accompanied by some fellow students.

Watch the video for “Walk This Way” below:

LIVE REVIEW: MØ, Store Vega, 11.04.14

in Live Reviews by

There are very few artists who could get me on the verge of tears of joy after their set. There are even fewer that I’d ask to pose for pictures with. MØ, AKA Karen Marie Ørsted, is one of them, and I have the #sorrynotsorry selfie to prove it. Ladies and gents, it’s time to grab your scrunchies and braid your hair, and bow down to the her royal highness, the Danish Princess of Pop. MØ unashamedly embraces the pop star persona, but does it on her own terms. She refuses to be manufactured, and thus becomes the perfect pop star; confident onstage presence, relentless dancing, a distinct but not unattainable image, brilliant back up band, and no dance routines or meat dresses, just the star quality that now seems so rare.

She enters the stage in a furry black 90s raver jacket. In a state of Mean Girls-esque awe I make a mental note to also get a black 90s raver jacket. ‘Fire Rides’ opens the show with spangling guitar and an electronic pulse that Ørsted takes as an instant opportunity to punch the space in front of her and leap and bound around the large stage, framed by a projected backdrop of looping greyscale lips opening and closing, a loop recognisable from Ørsted’s videos. She follows this by a rendition of ‘Maiden’, where she effortlessly dominates the stage, the audience, the ceiling, the balcony, the sound desk and the toilet, to create a fucking brilliant party. A party that only intensifies as ‘XXX 88’ is played.

She jumps into the audience for a remixed and sped up ‘Freedom (1)’, from Bikini Daze, where her disciples clamour around to listen. As she sings “freedom is like this, we can go anywhere” to the group around her, it’s like watching a revolutionary leader talking to her followers; her charisma is tangible. It also looks like MØ saw the party from above and couldn’t resist the temptation to join in. A few tracks later, she momentarily disappears from sight and reappears on the balcony to perform the pseudo-ballad ‘Never Wanna Know’ whilst making a walking tour of to upper tier. Taking her initial bow after ‘Walk This Way’ and ‘Glass’, Ørsted returns for an encore of her Spice Girls cover ‘Say You’ll Be There’ and ‘Don’t Wanna Dance’. “Nu skal vi have lidt Spice!”

As her body rocks from side to side in the slower moments, and her long plait reaches ridiculous heights on the faster ones, it is clear that I am watching the coolest performance thus far this year. Every member of her almost all-female audience wants to, in descending order of how awesome it would be, either a) be her b) be her BFF c) help her form a new girl group. But in a way, it’s like she already has one. Her proximity to her fans is unique. It’s easy to say how much you love your fans, or Little Monsters, or whatever, but MØ’s dedication to and love of them is incredibly believable, just as everything else about her is. There is no affectation, just pure, unadulterated stardom.

And yes, I am seriously fan girling. HRM MØ.

ARTICLE: MØ

in Blog by

Over a year ago, I sat down on a train from Didcot to Reading, cracked open a new copy of the NME, flicked hastily to the Radar section, and saw a Danish girl with a moody press shot staring back at me. The same Danish girl who’d graced the cover of Soundvenue a few months previously. When I went back that night, I searched for , and played the only three tracks that featured her on a relentless loop for several hours; debut single ‘Maiden’, follow up ‘Glass’ and a rather shouty, stressful vocal contribution to alternative party anthem ‘Let the Youth Go Mad’ by fellow Copenhageners Broke.

And here we are, one and a half years after MØ, AKA Karen Marie Ørsted, brought her electronic loops, hollas and long blond plait into our lives, she’s about to release her debut album No Mythologies to Follow in one week. She’s nervous. “I’m terrified actually. And freaked out. I’m going through a lot of emotions, because it’s something that’s been a process for so long, with all this buzz and all this talk.” But she’s optimistic: “My producer and I are happy with the album and we feel we can look ourselves in the eye. You never know what people will say or think, but as long as you feel like you were yourself in the process, then I guess you can’t go totally wrong.”

It’s only natural she should feel the pressure. The press coverage for this debut release has been extensive. The singles and high profile collaborations with the likes of Avicii and Diplo have been trickling out for almost two years now, each with even more social media output than the last. There are sidebar ads everywhere on the internet and big summer fixtures in the UK and Denmark. You can hardly move for the artwork; a black and white up close shot of (presumably) Karen’s mouth blowing bubblegum. There’s even a link on her Facebook to help you recreate the photo. It’s a compelling image, and, like the majority of her work, conveys a strong degree of youthful attitude. An appropriate cover then for the album that Karen tells me is “very much about being young and restless and confused, and being a teen in modern world society.”

It perhaps sounds a little cliché, but at the rapid rate of social change currently taking place, MØ’s not wrong to release a ‘young spirited’ record. “It’s called No Mythologies to Follow, and it is very much about the fact that nowadays we don’t have guidelines as we used to. We don’t have religion in the same way either, which I think is good, but it just costs all of us young people that we have to find our own way. The social media becomes sort of like a bible.”

And the difficulty of social media’s quasi-worship is not restricted to its lack of guidelines. “All these social medias are so much about showing the world how great you are. It can still be kind of insane, this glorification of being young and beautiful, being perfect and not showing your flaws. It can be hard to be young and secure in that kind of society where everyone has to be Miss or Mr Perfect.”

Born in 1988, Karen’s teenage years came just before the boom of social media. And sitting behind a computer feeling insecure was the last thing on her mind. “I was a punker. I wore black clothes and went to loads of demonstrations. I was in that posse.” She recently posted a photo of herself and a friend at the local anti fascist cafe in 2003, sporting red, messy curled hair. “I was actually in a punk band for five years, and we toured Europe and Scandinavia. We also played in New York four times. But that was very underground of course.” It seems far away from the electronic fused pop tracks MØ’s released. “When I was seven or eight years old, that was when I started making music, because of the Spice Girls. So back before I turned a teenager, I was obsessed with pop music. The punk has been a big part of my life too, but I can’t run from the fact I’ve been a big pop girl.”

Karen’s adoration of and inspiration from the Spice Girls has been almost as well documented in her interviews as her alias. And it’s hardly surprising; she brought up the topic with me without any prompt. Clearly, talking about Sporty and Scary excessively has not diminished her admiration. She spread her love of girl power further recently by releasing a cover of ‘Say You’ll Be There’, complete with VHS footage of a young Karen and friends performing a routine in appropriate costume. “When I look back at me and my friends, we were all totally obsessed with the Spice Girls, like every other girl at that time. It was really cool because they were really preaching some cool messages, about girl power and about sticking with your friends, and fuck the guys if they don’t see you as what you are. I think that’s great. I think that’s a better message to send out to little girls than “you should be sexy and have every man under control.” Fuck that. I prefer “go have fun and be fucking fabulous the way you are.”

Among the artists MØ has been compared to is fellow female singer Grimes, who has in the past made statements about the sexism she’s experienced in the music industry. Following our conversation about girl power, I ask Karen whether she herself identifies as a feminist: “It’s so hard; I’ve been in this leftist environment for so many years, and I think sometimes the word ‘feminism’ can be very misunderstood. There are a lot of people who think when you say you’re a feminist that you believe you’re better than men or you think men are evil. And that’s so not the case. Men and women are equal. We are different in nature of course, that’s why there are males and females, but I don’t tend to call myself a feminist.”

She is, however, fed up with the current situation for young women. “I think you should preach some good things to the new generation of girls. For instance, I think it’s wrong to say that you should be good in school, look fabulous, be good at sports, be good in social matters and you should be good with kids and animals: It’s too much. Being perfect is about embracing what you’re good at, and what’s ‘you’, embracing your flaws and making them beautiful because you believe in yourself.” She laughs at herself. “I know this sounds very cheesy; a lot of girls, myself included, want to look good, but not just for the male, for yourself as well.”

And she does look good. Really good. But it’s not the typical look for a female pop star. It’s trainers and sports jackets and gold chains. It’s laid back. It’s very, very Danish. And it works because it’s  believable. “People are tired of all this fakeness in the music industry. When I was growing up I wanted to fit in and look good and be perfect, but I realised very early that I cannot be something that I’m not. That would be horrible. And if I were to attempt to be the great looking doll with loads of make up and big high heels and miniskirts, it would just look horrible. People wouldn’t like looking at me because it would be so wrong. From the start of all this I’ve tried to embrace what I feel comfortable doing and wearing. Otherwise I would fail miserably.”

Despite having a wealthy music scene in Denmark and Scandinavia, breaking into the UK scene is tough, and it’s something MØ, despite having a name not one Englishman can pronounce, has done. However, she’s determined to not abandon her roots in the Danish music scene, and quick to declare it as something she’s proud to be a part of. “I think it’s really cool. I think something great is going on in the Danish scene. It’s really cool because Denmark is a small country; you know each other and you help each other out. The Danish music scene is very good at making great underground music. But it also seems as though there are a lot of people making music with a lot of change over, it can be very underground, but can have this pop thing going, and be popular whilst it’s still edgy.”

We finish up by talking about the difference between English and Danish crowds, and Karen uses aural descriptors to show the distinction. Apparently, Denmark is more like “hmmm” whereas the UK is more like “ooh ah whoa!” As with everything that has come out of Karen’s mouth during the interview, it’s cripplingly endearing. MØ is multi-faceted. She’s edgy and tough, sweet and honest, and incredibly intelligent. It’s not only her talent that’s led to her success in the past year, which doesn’t look set to diminish anytime soon with the release of No Mythologies to Follow next week. This girl crush comes with real girl power.

MØ’s debut album, No Mythologies to Follow, will be released on the 10th of March, on RCA Records.

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