Supporting Dorian Electra at their sold-out Thousand Island dates, Mood Killer is preparing for their sizzling 20-minute support set as they chat to CelebMix in Highbury.
“I didn’t even know that I wanted to do music until three years ago, it was way after college. I’d always been making little songs as a music nerd but I studied film and wanted to be a director.”
“Music just blends everything that I like into one thing. To me, my ultimate goal is to be an artist and use different platforms to convey an idea. I think music, video, performance, makeup and costume are the most useful to me right now. Maybe sometime later I’ll be using paint or sculpture.”
Without doubt, debut EP Liquify sees Mood Killer score that goal. Sonically, its futuristic electropop is exciting. Visually, music videos for ‘Liquify’ and ‘Cam Boy’ see them flex that filmmaking muscle as they slide into different characters and concepts. And later that night, when the artist walks onto the stage, Liquify comes to life in a queer extravaganza.
All but one of the EP’s tracks had been in the works for less than half a year, “I just felt a wave of wanting to do something new and put it out before I got sick of these songs”, Mood Killer tells us.
Opening on ‘Burn The Books’ and closing on ‘Can’t Relax’, the singer reveals that “the first and the last track I knew had to be there and the rest of it was shifting a bit”.
“Burn The Books was really fun to do because it was completely different at first. I went to Social Chair and he saved the song completely. He’s an amazing musician and brought a lot of depth to the music. He just came out with an EP, Cleaning Up, which is really good.”
As far as ‘Can’t Relax’ is concerned, it’s a team-up with Drew Altz that sees Mood Killer turn anxiety into a catchy pop flick. “I remember writing down ‘I Can’t Relax’ as a name for a song and thinking… ah yes, that’s a way to describe myself”, they laugh. “If I focus it [their anxiety] into my art I can feel content because I’ve transformed it into something.”
Tracks sandwiched in between include lead single ‘Liquify‘ which focuses on boiling down social constructions with the help from Shubu and, for Mood Killer, is “the most emblematic of this era”.
Single ‘Cam Boy‘ could well be the EP’s stand out moment, after their set later that night you hear crowd members muttering its playful lyrics without even realise they’re doing so. And behind the winking calls to “put in your login, get this body rocking” is an important sex-positive message.
“So many people I know are sex workers. It’s a really common thing. I’ve cammed before and stuff, it’s something that’s not talked about. We are all artists trying to make our way, we find these ways to make money. Art stuff often isn’t paid at all. I’m sweating my ass off, every cent goes into doing this thing and it’s not considered a necessity or a real job.”
“Then you have these Silicon Valley Juiceros [an app-controlled juicer]… people are sweating making thousands and thousands of dollars on late capitalism products that don’t have any consequence at all.”
Mood Killer has a point, and it’s the only time a smattering of frustration creeps into their voice over an hour-long chat. CelebMix points out that themselves and Dorian Electra already have 20 people queuing for their gig four hours early, a juicer can’t do that. Mood Killer chuckles.
As well as their tongue-in-cheek upbeat electropop, Mood Killer has a penchant for “really hard music, abrasive stuff”. That’s why the day before sending off Liquify, during studio time with Oren, they walked in saying, “I need something hard, I need people to know that I’m hard”. ‘Go Hard’ is the result of that frolicking session and lives up to its name in the singer’s set.
‘Can’t Wait’ is the remaining track that makes up Liquify. An apocalyptic preparation for the end of time, Mood Killer divulges in narrating the story of his end of the world fascination – the anecdote just dying for a spooky score in the background.
“I’m obsessed with people with bunkers. It was 2013, Dorian, Weston Allen and I went on a road trip to Spencer, Iowa. Dorian’s dad is a big car fan and we went to a car convention where we met one of his friends. He brought us into his office and he started telling us about the end of the world, in a way that was very logical.”
“He went on and on about all this stuff and I think of it all the time. He was like, you’ve got to prepare yourself, you’ve got to have food and water and shelter. We were there for a couple of hours and that has just stuck with me. Maybe it will happen, maybe it won’t.”
They joke that if Spotify is still up, they’ll enjoy a told you so moment and look forward to the streams it would bring to ‘Can’t Wait’. From that apocalypse story, we get chatting about Mood Killer’s relationship with Electra and Allen.
“I don’t have to tell you about Dorian. Dorian is Dorian. Literally one of the most inspiring people in my life, and a lot of other people’s lives. I’ve known them for ten years now. We met when we were in high school at some sort of filmmakers’ workshop camp. We’ve been at it for a long time.”
“As a young person, Dorian and my friendship was really important to my own growth and a lot of our ideas about gender we developed together. They were someone I could relate to and a lot of our conversations about that really shaped me and them too.”
For many, Weston Allen may not be a name that’s all too familiar; they are the creative mind behind a lot of the two singers’ work and much more.
“Weston Allen is a king and a god. And the funniest person I know. Literally anything Weston wants to do, they can do, and do it better than anyone I know.”
It’s a dynamic trio that work best together. Even at the meet and greet later, Weston is on photos, Mood Killer is on merch and Dorian is meeting fans. 2019 has seen the birth of Flamboyant and Liquify in what is a real success story for the three friends. “I feel so honoured and lucky to be around them, they inspire me all the time”, Mood Killer gushes.
As is proving the case over the past two years, any conversation with anybody who is into the current group of artists burrowing their way into the mainstream with forward-thinking electropop, the chat finishes with Charli XCX – Mood Killer was one of a few of the popstress’ friends who attended a listening party for her upcoming self-titled album recently.
“Charli is an example of someone who has been working her butt off from the beginning. From the place that she is now, I don’t know anybody who reaches out and gives opportunities as much. She’s so generous and fun.”
“That’s the main bit, she realises that this is for fun and for self-exploration. It’s not about the status and it’s not about the hierarchy. She’s found an amazing way to lift people up.”
It’s clear that Mood Killer is proud to be moving in the circles they are moving in. And they should be too. At theirs and Dorian’s show, the singers’ appreciation for art is shared by fans – Mood Killer is already a role model for many. At the same time, they could also just be the rule-breaking, genre-defying singer next door – that’s pretty darn cool.
Are you a Mood Killer fan? Were you at their show with Dorian? Let us know @CelebMix on Twitter.