MØ at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Monday (May 26), doors 8 pm. $13. RT, SS, TW. See listing.
Most of us grew up coordinating dance routines in our bedrooms. Karen Marie Ørsted (the artist known as MØ) did, too. But that's also the room where, years later, she recorded the vocals to her debut solo album, No Mythologies To Follow (Chess Club/RCA Victor).
"You go into a fancy studio and have all these people around you saying, ‘Start singing now,' and ‘Use this,' and ‘One more time.' I just like to be able to control it and pick the right take myself," the Danish artist says over the phone from Copenhagen, where she lives.
Not that MØ's album sounds the least bit DIY.
With producer Ronni Vindahl (who also works with Robin Hannibal, the Danish producer/songwriter who makes up one half of both Rhye and Quadron), Ørsted achieved a slick pop debut that is both mainstream and not. Her vocals (somewhere between Gwen Stefani and Lana Del Rey) sail over skittery beats and 90s pop-evoking production. The melodies say "radio," but the beats say "alt hip-hop" or "indie electronic."
The sound - and the lyrics about heartbreak, lust and the sweetness of youth - may surprise anyone familiar with Ørsted's former trash punk duo, Mor. But actually, she says, it's a natural fit.
"I started making music when I was seven, and it was cheesy pop. When I became a teenager and got into punk and grunge, of course I tried to hide my secret love of pop, but it's always been there inside of me, like the punk is still there with me."
Just don't call it Scandi-pop.
"Even though I'm from Scandinavia, I wasn't really aware that people talk about Scandi music and artists. But as things started to rise with MØ, I heard the word more and more. I guess I have a Scandi sound to some people, but I really haven't thought about it, and it's not something I'm striving for. I don't even know what the Scandi sound is."
It wasn't ABBA or even Robyn who inspired her pop ambitions.
"I was the biggest Spice Girls fan. I cried like a baby when Geri left," she says. "I was really obsessed."
She's recorded a sultry, stuttering cover of their Say You'll Be There, and just over a month ago, MØ got to meet Sporty Spice, her favourite, when the Danish national radio flew Mel C in to present the singer with an award.
"I was freaking out," she says giddily. "I'm still freaking out."