Aussie Indie Artists: Mo•Louie on “Hold You”, game soundtracks, and that little dot

Mo Louie Hold Me Cover Art

Aussie Indie Artists is a series of interviews with lesser known Aussie creators across all forms and fields. The goal is to share exciting new works, find new angles towards the art, and peek behind the scenes. 

Mo•Louie’s singing vibrates between soulful, jazzy and poppy. She’s sometimes Charli XCX, sometimes Dorian Electra, and sometimes Sia. And her producing is just as vibrational, bouncing between experimental pop and bubbly electronic beats. 

Mo started her love of music young with musical theatre, Ray Charles, and Shania Twain. She sang in the band Coconut Rebellion before going solo and being nominated for ‘Best Producer’ at the 2021 Music Victoria Awards.

I talked to Mo about her names, her soundtracks for video games, and her new single “Hold You”.

Before you were Mo•Louie, you were the lead singer in “the dubiously named” Coconut Rebellion. Where did the name come from?

We actually had months of debating the name for the band, our choices were narrowed down to “The Tropes” “The Paper Kites” and “The Coconut Rebellion”. We had a kind of island type/beach vibe in our music so we used ‘Coconuts’ (haha) and our music and performances were quite unconventional and “rebellious” you could say. We loved trying new things and the idea of ‘playing’, our trumpeter Julian used to play solos in bowls of water, jelly and anything weird and fun. We would also play shows at the Collingwood’s Children’s farm in the animal barn with the animals, weird independent festivals that weren’t advertised. So yer I guess the name really encompassed that! haha

And I’m guessing that “Mo•Louie” came from your name, but what about that little dot between Mo and Louie?

Yes it did, it’s funny, my family and some of my friends all call me Mon or Monz, but anyone in the creative industry calls me Mo. And Louise is my middle name, but I wanted to change to Louie to pay homage to Louis Armstrong (obviously spelt differently) because I love jazz music. THE DOT! Hahaha, omg this dot has caused me so much angst with uploading music, applications, festivals & publications not putting it in, links and things. I guess when I think of Mo•Louie, I think of uniqueness, I wanted something in the name that was weird, different, unusual (Kath & Kim voice lol), that made it feel creative and unique. I’m also a very visual person, so I did want some sort of a symbol or picture in the name. The fucking dot will haunt me til the day I die, but I LOVE HER! hahaha

You’re very broadly talented, I mean even in your discography you’ve shown major range, but you’ve also done many unexpected things too, like soundtracks for video games. How are you finding that style of music making?

Thank you very much. I love that style of music making. I’m a massive film & tv buff, and all my friends know me for being super obsessed with trailers. Sometimes when my friends come over I force them to watch trailers lol. I think I really gravitate toward this kind of visual/music world because my brain sees in pictures, so when I’m writing music it’s not very mathematical or technical, I’m seeing like a story or movie in my head and I’m translating it to music. On a more technical side however, with games you need to kind of think in ‘loops’ so creating music that could be easily looped every 4-8 bars and having variations or sections of that loop to represent different parts of the levels you are playing, and to keep the player interested by mixing up the loops. 

Your last single, “Signs”, felt like an especially new mode for Mo, what inspired that? 

I’m leaning more into my ‘alt’ and ‘theatrical’ side. I had this weird perception when I was younger that I needed to keep my theatre life and songwriting/music life separate, which really confused my brain. Haha. I’m celebrating the drama more in my music and visual worlds now and it seems to be sitting really well in my soul. I am weird, I think crazy things, I like weird, interesting, challenging art so I want to represent more of that side of me moving forward because it just clicks for me. 

And now with “Hold You”, you’re tipping towards experimental pop, where did that come from?

Yes! This release leans even more into the experimental. I studied experimental theatre at university, I actually have an Honours degree in performance exploring experimental theatre and bebop music. I love experimental art, it speaks to me haha. Maybe because I’ve always been highly creative and mentally ill? Lol. I love many underground or lesser-known, performers & groups like the Living Theatre, John Waters, Divine, Alfred Jarry, Charlie Parker, Jack Kerouac, Niagara Detroit. I take a lot of inspiration from underground artists, I’ve also lived my life as an underground artist! haha.

What’s a song that you’ve been loving recently?

A new track by James Blake called “Big Hammer”. It’s so cool, understated but huge at the same time, but it just fucking slaps, I do not get tired of listening to it. And I’m a serial listener, if I find a track I like I will listen to it to death!

Have you been listening to anything unexpected lately?

Yes! I saw this ad on my socials for Paris Texas’ new album, and I’ve never listened to their stuff, but the synth in the track they were using in their promo video just got me to click on the album link and I’ve been listening to the album heaps. There is one track on there that’s sooooo good, ‘Everybody’s Safe Until…’ and the chorus lyrics are great ‘There’s people trying to kill me, other than me”. I kinda want to do a cover of it. 

Do you think that’s a genre you might dip into?

Yer, again, I just gravitate towards the weird, alt, catchy and interesting types of music, going more down the alternative path really appeals to me. So for sure!

Well, I’m looking forward to your next release, thanks for the peek into your music!

Thanks so much for peeking 😉 

You can listen to Hold On and Mo•Louie’s music on Spotify and on Apple Music, and you can follow her on her Instagram, her Facebook, her Tiktok, or her YouTube channel.