FM premiere. ‘Moving Forward’ by m o k r o ï é

"I hope to foster a sense of reflection, encouraging a dialogue that transcends the music itself"
21 February 2024
Photo by Jérôme Sevrette

A Creative Lighthouse Amidst Turbulent Times

​m o k r o ï é represents the detailed complexity and diverse innovation in music and art like few other artists. The latest EP, Moving Forward, stands as a testament to this, weaving a tapestry of sound and emotion that mirrors our tumultuous times. We had the distinct pleasure of delving into the mind behind the music, exploring the layers of creativity and conviction that define this unique project.

Francesco Virgilio is the creative force behind m o k r o ï é, serving as its composer, producer, remixer, and founder. m o k r o ï é represents life’s intrinsic brutality, portraying poems set against vibrant landscapes or somber skies.

Standout single ‘MORE ecstatic electronic mix’. This track boldly reimagines The Sisters of Mercy’s original composition. Accompanied by an animated video evoking a California road trip, this fresh version goes beyond the original, exploring universal themes.

Moving forward ​is a shining light in the murky waters of our current global landscape, which is dominated by chaos and environmental concerns. When asked about the genesis of this poignant title, the artist delves into the heart of their creative ethos. “In a world teetering on the brink of irreversible change, this EP is a narrative of hope,” he explains. “It’s about acknowledging our collective journey through the wasteland of excess and towards a more sustainable existence.” Each track is a chronicle, a reminder of the beauty and resilience of nature amidst human fallibility.

The EP signifies a bold departure from past works, marrying robust rock elements with m o k r o ï é’s signature eclectic electronic sound. “Rock has always been a part of my musical DNA,” he shares, revealing how the fusion reflects current personal and artistic shifts. The result is a rich, immersive soundscape that challenges and enthralls, marking a new chapter in their musical journey.

The conversation turns to the visual elements that accompany m o k r o ï é’s music, highlighting a unique blend of auditory and visual storytelling. “The process is akin to sculpting,” they detail, outlining the meticulous approach to merging cinematic narratives with musical expression. This duality enriches the EP’s impact, inviting listeners into a fully realized artistic vision.

Through his, m o k r o ï é aims to spark dialogue and introspection, addressing both personal and universal challenges. The music serves as a conduit for resilience, urging listeners to confront and overcome the adversities that define our era. “I hope to foster a sense of reflection, encouraging a dialogue that transcends the music itself,” he states.

The discussion touches on m o k r o ï é’s detailed artistry, from typography to visuals, aiming for a comprehensive sensory experience. The artist’s diverse influences, from Depeche Mode to Björk, shape a unique sound, enriched by global rhythms that echo music’s universal appeal.

Photo by Jérôme Sevrette

Dreaming of collaborations, he admire legends like Peter Gabriel and David Bowie. He describes his music as “Enigmatic sonic landscapes,” inviting listeners into a realm of introspection and connection. Virgilio aspires for his music to be a refuge, offering inspiration and a shared sense of hope.

Rock music is deeply ingrained in my musical heritage, making it apt to foreground more sonically saturated tones reminiscent of raw rock

Moving Forward is a title that speaks volumes. Can you share the moment or thought process that led to the creation of this EP, especially in the context of a chaotic universe where creativity and energy battle against evil?

In recent decades, the specter of chaos spurred by the looming threat of large-scale global warming has increasingly permeated our consciousness. Through this EP, I aim to address this observation while also asserting that inevitability isn’t our fate if we remain cognizant of the battles ahead. It’s essential to acknowledge the challenges we must confront, recognizing that part of this journey entails relinquishing elements of ourselves – primarily superfluous acquisitions. We must keep in mind that transitions, fraught with errors and contradictions, constitute the most arduous periods before we can establish a new, sustainable paradigm.

Each track within the EP directly engages with nature, delving into themes of destruction, excess, and fallibility, while concurrently paying homage to nature’s beauty—an inspiring impetus for our collective struggle. “TO THE HEROES” stands out as an anthem honoring those who have endeavored to improve our world, aligning seamlessly with the EP’s overarching theme of perseverance.

Photo by Jérôme Sevrette

Your new EP showcases a blend of eclectic electronic and pronounced rock elements, marking a shift from your past work. What inspired this evolution in sound, and how did you approach the integration of these genres in your creative process?

Frequently, ideas germinate in my mind, and I discern the opportune moment to materialize them based on my prevailing desires, needs, and the capabilities of my home studio. Rock music is deeply ingrained in my musical heritage, making it apt to foreground more sonically saturated tones reminiscent of raw rock. I’ve embraced primary, heavy rhythms and expansive reverberations elements I previously shied away from due to the inherent challenge and risk they entail in making a musical statement.

It’s fascinating that your compositions evolve into films, indicating a deep connection between music and visual storytelling. Could you elaborate on how you navigate this osmosis between sound and cinema in your work, particularly in the videos accompanying the EP?

For the music videos that originate from my creative vision, I often visualize the imagery and sequences in tandem with the music. Subsequently, I engage in meticulous writing and editing, iterating between versions to actualize this envisioned narrative and bring it into the realm of reality. While conceptualizing is swift, executing a project demands considerable resources and time—resulting in some projects being shelved due to logistical constraints.

The EP and its predecessor single Natural touch on themes of resilience, wisdom, and the preservation of natural equilibrium. How do you hope your music influences listeners’ perspectives on overcoming personal and global challenges?

Given that my music demands attentive listening, I believe it resonates most profoundly with audiences receptive to the messages it conveys. Through immersive experiences, I aspire to provoke introspection and stimulate dialogue surrounding personal and global challenges.

Photo by Jérôme Sevrette

Your work, including the use of unusual typography, conveys a range of emotions and stories. How do you see this aspect of your artistic identity contributing to the listener’s experience and interpretation of your music?

With m o k r o ï é, my aspiration is for listeners to discern the coherence and depth embedded within the project—from its intricate details to its arrangements, visuals, texts, and typography. While reaching a broad audience poses challenges, particularly amidst a fast-paced consumption culture, I’m gratified that discerning individuals like yourself recognize the qualities I endeavor to manifest through m o k r o ï é, fostering its growth and resonance.

From being a passionate spectator to becoming the driving force behind m o k r o ï é, can you discuss the artists and experiences that have significantly shaped your musical journey and your exploration of dark aesthetics and electronic experiments?

The artists who have most profoundly impacted me and emboldened my artistic journey share a common ethos: they craft accessible universes characterized by simplicity, authenticity, and emotional resonance. Their music, simultaneously stirring and intimate, occasionally experimental, reflects an ongoing quest for self-discovery. Notable influences include Depeche Mode, Recoil (Alan Wilder), Talk Talk, Björk, Massive Attack, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails.

Your music occasionally incorporates elements of soul, jazz, afrobeat, and textures from far-off cultures, inspired by works like Peter Gabriel’s Last Temptation of Christ. How do you view the role of global sounds in creating emotional stimulation, and what challenges do you face in blending these with electronic music?

I’ve long recognized that to sustain creativity and evoke emotional responses, one must eschew rigid genre constraints and embrace diverse musical influences. Incorporating elements from various traditions enriches the creative palette and underscores humanity’s capacity for beauty and innovation across cultures. Albums like Peter Gabriel’s Last Temptation of Christ exemplify the mesmerizing synthesis of rhythms and textures, underscoring the universal appeal of music. Global sounds expand the realm of creative possibilities, although seamlessly blending them with electronic music presents its share of challenges, demanding meticulous craftsmanship and a nuanced understanding of sonic fusion.

If you could tour with any musicians, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

It would be touring alongside seasoned and versatile musicians who’d afford me the freedom to deliver emotionally resonant performances filled with surprises. My preference would lie with individuals who possess both musical prowess and humanistic qualities. Musicians associated with acts like Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, and Nine Inch Nails embody this ethos, offering boundless potential for collaborative exploration and artistic synergy.

If you had to describe your sound in three words what would they be?

Enigmatic sonic landscapes.

What do you want people to take away from listening to your music?

I aspire for listeners to perceive my music as an expansive realm ripe for exploration—a sincere invitation to immerse oneself, derive enjoyment, and find resonance. Through its playful yet meaningful essence, I aim to inspire appreciation for beauty in all its forms and ignite a fervor for resilience and love.