How The Swedish House Mafia Stole 2009

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Post MikeCasa01 Aug 2009, 07:39


Ax, we want pics of your boat!

When last I saw them, they were men of sweat and bristling facial hair. Rockstars in the spotlight. They knocked down celebrities, urged us to revolt, and partied like it was the end of things. It was a time of hedonism and tequila in the veins. How boldly they DJed, how cocky they seemed.

The Swedish House Mafia owned Miami’s Winter Music Conference in March with outlandish performances, a momentous record, and a scandal.

Today however, the trio’s Steve Angello and Axwell are polite, and only want to talk music, as they contemplate where 2009 leads.

“We came with guns blazing,” says Axwell, about this year’s WMC. “We dropped ‘Leave The World Behind’ as the week began and that was a huge Swedish House Mafia moment. We made the track specifically for the conference, but rather than wait weeks or months to put it out, we thought we’d release it straight away. Why should people have to wait? The track just blew up.”

Steve Angello, who emerged from WMC as the most famous house DJ on the planet after a well publicised fight with celebrity Paris Hilton, agrees that this year’s event was a huge success for the trio because of that track. “Every record has a life of its own, and ‘Leave The World Behind’ just became a huge record. People were singing along to the words almost immediately, and we had hardly played it out. These days, because of things like YouTube, tracks can blow up so fast.”

Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso rock a very large crowd

Do you guys plan your releases to hit with that sort of impact?

Axwell: No there’s never any plan. The records usually decide the plan. But sometimes we do nerd out and talk about our ideas and thoughts on things. Maybe we discuss how we would like things to be, for instance, ‘I wish French house would come back’.

Steve Angello: Records have a life of their own. Take my remix of Christian Smith & John Selway ‘Move!’. I never expected that track to get so big. But it blew up for some reason. We of course, hoped that ‘Leave The World Behind’ was going to be big, but there’s no guarantees.

Do you coordinate releases, considering you’re a trio of independent producers, but also part of a collective?

Steve Angello: We don’t sit down at the beginning of the year and plan our music releases, or anything like that. Sometimes one of the guys might have a track coming out at the same time as one of my remixes, and I might move it back a week or something, but generally we just put stuff out when it needs to go out.

But is there an agreement amongst the members of the Swedish House Mafia to support each other’s music?

Axwell: For sure, we support each other’s tracks. But we are also lucky to all have very similar tastes, so I like 99% of what the boys do. We’re all into the same sounds generally.

Axwell, can you remember the last time you didn’t like one of Steve Angello’s records?

[laughs] Er...well, when Steve first played me ‘Gypsy’, I was a bit unsure of it. I thought it was too weird, but then slowly I gave into the gypsy magic.

Steve Angello: [laughs] Yeah, when I first did ‘Gypsy’ people were like, ‘what the fuck is this?’, but then a month later on Beatport there were nine tracks that had the same idea and a similar sound.

That track was a little different from my usual stuff though, so I understand why people were like that.

Do you think your tracks like ‘Gypsy’ cause trends then?

Steve Angello: I think so, for sure. I’ve seen our influence. And quite a few trends have taken place after things that we’ve done.

Like what?

Steve Angello: Like, the really strong mastering thing we’re known for. We were the first guys to come out with that super energetic house sound that comes down to really good mastering. And those white noise build ups with two minute breakdowns was a trend that we definitely helped kick start.

Do you guys ever get sick of each other?

Steve Angello: I’ve moved to Los Angeles and Ibiza now and I spend my summers in Ibiza and my winters in LA, so we don’t see each other that much. Plus each of us is always on the road. We don’t spend enough time together to get sick of each other. We’re not one of those bands who tour on a bus for months, and then work in the studio together for weeks.

Axwell: At the same time, it would be weird if we didn’t have the occasional fight or argument. That’s only normal.

How’s Ibiza Steve?

Steve Angello: Ah, I’m not that comfortable here yet. It seems like no one likes to work here. It’s like driving a Rolls Royce without tyres [laughs]. But Mondays here are really good.

Your Monday nights at Pacha?

Axwell: Yeah, they are going really really well. It’s doing surprisingly good. A lot of people said to us that Mondays were tough on the island with Tiësto doing his thing at Privilege, and Cocoon at Amnesia. We heard Roger Sanchez had a hard time filling the club on a Monday, but I’m not sure why he left. But at the same time, we offer completely different music to Tiësto, Cocoon, or Roger, and the peak holiday season is starting soon, so things are only going to get better.

Do all three members of the Swedish House Mafia play every Monday?

Axwell: There’s always at least two of us, but sometimes all three of us will be there, if we can all make it. Those nights are fun.

There’s no rivalry between us. That’s just the way we play. Every time I go up to the decks I just want to have fun. And why not? Sometimes I’ll turn up to a gig and the warm up DJ will be staring into his laptop looking bored. I turn up, and start drinking, and smiling. And people see that, and react positively to it.

Steve, in Miami at the Beatport pool party, you and Sebastian Ingrosso seemed to be pretty boisterous behind the decks. Is there much rivalry between you all?

Steve Angello: There’s no rivalry between us. That’s just the way we play. Every time I go up to the decks I just want to have fun. And why not?

Sometimes I’ll turn up to a gig and the warm up DJ will be staring into his laptop looking bored. I turn up, and start drinking, and smiling. And people see that, and react positively to it. At the end of the day, people come to party and if the DJ isn’t going to lead them, who will?

If there’s no show for the party people, then they’ll go home. Sometimes dance music can take itself too seriously. We’re all there to have fun at the end of the day, the crowd and the DJ.

Have you guys safely returned to reality after WMC?

Steve Angello: We never left reality. You know, everyone was asking me about this Paris Hilton thing afterwards but it doesn’t matter to me at all. It’s like, ‘whatever!’ It wasn’t a big deal. All of our feet are firmly planted on the ground usually.

‘Leave The World Behind’ was a huge record at WMC though. You made the track with Laidback Luke. How did it come about?

Axwell: We were all playing around together in the studio in Stockholm. I had a vocal recorded from before and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. So we jammed together, coming up with sounds and it all fell into place.

The hook of ‘Leave The World Behind’ is very catchy, and that’s something we’ve come to expect from the Swedish House Mafia. How do you guys find those hooks?

Axwell: All of us have a pretty good idea of what good music is. And we’re lucky to be able to tell what a good hook is - that’s not an easy thing to do. For ‘Leave The World Behind’ we recorded tons and tons of stuff, and kept testing out different melodies. We have six ears with good taste, actually there were eight ears with Luke, so that helped.

The Swedish House Mafia work the decks

Steve, you’ve been doing a lot of techy stuff recently, and as you say, ‘Gypsy’ was a bit different to your usual stuff. Is this a direction you’re going to be exploring more?

Steve Angello: I don’t focus just on one sound. I never say to myself before making a track, ‘Today, I’m going to go into the studio and make an electro house hit’. I just make what comes out. Sometimes it’s techy, sometimes it’s progressive, sometimes it’s housey. Seb and me have just finished doing a hip hop song actually, for Kid Sister.

And you’ve also been working with Pharrell?

Yeah, me and Sebastian are just finishing a single with Pharrell right now. The guy is such an inspiration for us, and he’s completely down to earth. He was really up for working and trying out ideas. It’s been great working with him.

Axwell, how is the album coming?

Axwell: It’s coming, [laughs]. I am taking forever to make it.

Why is it taking so long?

Because I’m always on the road DJing, and can never get enough time in the studio.

Can’t you produce music whilst on the road?

No, I can’t work on a laptop. I need my studio to work.

Steve Angello: I can work on my laptop. I work everywhere, on planes, in hotel rooms. You know, my music is not that advanced really. It’s a kick drum, a bassline, and something else.

What set up do you have when producing on your laptop?

Steve Angello: I have my laptop and some good headphones, Logic, a few plugs ins like some Maserati stuff. That’s about it. But I also do love working in the studio. We have an amazing studio in Stockholm.

When you say ‘we’, who do you mean?

Me and Seb, we share a studio in Stockholm. It’s got amazing sound.

Axwell, what’s your studio like?

It’s small, but nice.

[Axwell, who has just pulled up to a restaurant on his boat somewhere in Sweden, says he has to go. The interview ends.] ... cked-2009/
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Post Petter01 Aug 2009, 17:39

an absolute amazing interview! I loved every part of it, but I still don't understand angello's hate about the spanish people... He should know or atleast accept the culture differences.

As for gypsy; i got axwell's back :lol:
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