Everything Everywhere All at Once, Signs and a wariness of black crows; an interview with Mo•Louie

Mo•Louie's recently released single, Signs, is an electro-pop number that encourages listeners to question life and the meaning we attribute to objects and fleeting moments.

Marx Music caught up with the songstress to discuss the track, the omen of the black crow, creativity as an outlet and the weird and wonderful world of Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Marx Music (Marx Music): Thank you so much for taking the time to have a chat today, but even more so, a huge congratulations on the release of your latest song Signs!

Mo•Louie: Thank you! I think this is the most proud I've been of a release. I'd been applying for the Victorian Arts Music Grant, for probably 10 years and it's so competitive. But I got it last year, which meant I could actually put money and time into making the tracks and visuals just how I wanted them. Now that it's out, it just feels really really good. I'm just really happy!

MM: You also secured a scholarship to Popakadamie in Germany and International Songwriting Week is coming up. Tell me more!

Cover art - Mo Louie - Supplied by PRFiles

Mo•Louie: You get given a brief on a few tracks to write and then at the end, it gets pitched to all these labels. In rare circumstances, if it gets picked, it can get pitched to a big artist.

MM: Do you have a dream artist that you would love to pick up something that you've written?

Mo•Louie: Yea! I mean, I love Charli XCX, I love Christine and the Queens, Kaytranada. FKA Twigs - LOVE HER. That would be pretty crazy. Rihanna would be good, but I don't really write too much R&B stuff. So for it to go anywhere, I'd be happy.

MM: You say that you don't write much R&B, but your repertoire and your musical catalogue is really quite diverse. Songs like Body and Awake, are so different from one another, let alone to Signs. You certainly have a skill to create in many genres, so maybe R&B is in your future somewhere?

Mo•Louie: Thank you, I mean I love it! I listen to it all the time but I'm not as understanding of the R&B components as I am with pop, electronic or the experimental sides.

MM: So, Signs. To quote yourself back to you, you said that you were attaching good or bad things that happened, with a superstition or a sign. Which was really the catalyst for writing this track and you started to believe it so much, it began to affect your life. Would you mind telling me about this?

Mo•Louie: My background is Italian and my Italian family are very superstitious. I remember when I was a kid, my Zia, my aunty, used to say, “If you see a black crow, it’s bad luck!” Which would scare the shit out of me. So whenever I saw a black crow – and they are EVERYWHERE in Melbourne-  I’d think something bad was going to happen that day. 

It’s similar to horoscopes, we can shape our day around what we read. They’ll put signs in our head that aren’t actually there. We end up kind of manifesting and creating these barriers and blocks ourselves. It’s quite an imaginative way for your brain to like, fuck with you.

MM: Your costume design, the artwork- which I love - and the way that you can pull so many meanings from the track itself, one of the first things that I found myself wondering was have you seen Everything Everywhere All At Once?

Mo•Louie: YES AND I LOVE IT!! I saw it at the cinema and thought it's one of the best movies I've ever seen. I'm a huge movie buff and I got out of the cinema and cried for like an hour 'cause I was so moved. It's so beautiful.

MM: Because the costume design kind of reminded me of the bagel concept in the film.

Mo•Louie: Yes! I see it!

MM: There were some other parallels through the meaning of the song and the movie for me, some unintentional littles odes perhaps. In terms of the messaging of Signs, which looks at the meaning of everything and nothing all at once, is somewhat similar to the film’s concept. Are any of those concepts intentional parallels or really just a happy kind of accident?

Mo•Louie MM: Happy accident! I do get inspired by art and movies that I see, but I had already written the song. For the world of Signs, I drew from Alice in Wonderland – especially the high fashion, pulling from some really amazing designers and makeup artists that I really like. I kind of mushed it all together so it is a huge coincidence, because this world is very much like Everything Everywhere All At Once.

For instance, I suffer from major depressive disorder and I have psychotic symptoms as well. So if I'm having an episode, which I haven't had in a really long time, I can sometimes see things that aren't there, which is also quite reminiscent of what happens in Everything Everywhere All At Once. They had a beautiful way that they kind of explained, or just creatively showed, depression. It was such an artistic and beautiful way that just touched me.

Mo Louie - Supplied by PRFiles
I like to think that I bring that to my music and whatever world I create, with my music. It’s been such a big part of my life and so I try to represent it visually or in my music somehow. Perhaps through some weird sounds in my songs or I'll try to do something different as I’ve got this creative mind that’s kind of  dark and weird that I battle.

MM:  It's an incredible execution of creativity. The way you're talking about drawing on those more kinds of visual elements and how they play in through your costuming and makeup. Then within the actual song, you have the sporadic synth or the more kind of whispered vocals before leading into a more powerful style. That all together feels like a culmination of a lot of thoughts coming together under one roof.

Mo•Louie: Yeah cool thank you! I’m going to use that - thank you.

MM: Plus your outfit was channelling Met Gala, so you’re ahead of the trends in many ways.

Mo•Louie: I love the Met Gala! It was tame this year but there were a lot of great ones.

MM:  So you’ve got your Germany trip, the song writing competition, what else does the near future hold?

Mo•Louie: I've got three more singles coming out this year. Signs and two other singles were shot in one day, but they're all different looks. There are like three different worlds that encapsulate each song and I'm really proud of the imagery and the videos. I'll be putting all that together and getting those songs ready for them to be released soon. Then just playing more shows when I get back.

MM: You mentioned each of them have their own world and meaning. How would you describe the world of Signs and I suppose, in addition to that when people listen to it for the first time what are you hoping is their key takeaway?

Mo•Louie: Signs' world is very Alice in Wonderland. I used to watch the original film when I was a kid and I loved how bizarre it was. I just want to take you on a cinematic kind of journey through this track. In that way, you're always going to get a lot of heart. It’s a creative and artistic world that I want to bring you into each time.

MM: Can you give any hints on what the next two worlds are going to be, or is it a stay tuned situation?

Mo•Louie: I’ll say one one involves plastic and it was a tricky one but we got the shot! The other one is really simple, but it’s really bold!

MM: We’ll - I’m excited to see it come to life! Thank you so much for today. It's been lovely chatting.

Mo•Louie: Me too, thank you so much, I appreciate it!

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