Clubplanet Interviews Axwell

Clubplanet Interviews Axwell

by Taryn Haight
08.24.2010

A successful DJ/producer on his own, or paired with Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso to form the Swedish House Mafia, Axwell is one artist who proves that it is possible nowadays to be both house DJ and household name.

The Swedish non-blonde, first dented the electronic music scene with “Feel the Vibe” back in 2004. He continued to make his mark deeper and deeper in the genre by touring as a DJ, producing, and pounding heavy house beats into tracks by the likes of Usher and Madonna. With this year’s Swedish House Mafia release of “One” featuring Pharrell, Axwell has shifted from a star in the EDM world to a star altogether. Whether his mainstream popularity can be attributed to years of collaborating with pop artists or he happened to catch the U.S. house music craze at just the right time, Axwell's success this past year has done more than “dent” the EDM genre—it has broken the barrier separating clubbers from the masses, allowing house music to reach new heights.

We caught up with Axwell to chat about Electric Zoo, the Swedish House Mafia documentary out next month, and his thoughts on electronic music at the moment. Here’s what he had to say…

Clubplanet: At what point in your career did it hit you that your music was really reaching the masses?
Axwell:
That's been sort of a gradual revelation. I'm kind of a gradual person. I'm not very fast with shit—everything takes time for me. If I'm going to move somewhere, I'll go there for a bit, then go back and forth for a couple of years until I move. To make a short answer long, it was a gradual revelation starting from around the time I released the track “Feel the Vibe” in 2004.

Clubplanet: Dealing with just the U.S., what cities would you say are really ahead of the curve in electronic music?
Axwell:
Both L.A. and Miami are very, very good. That's where I play the most when I'm in the U.S. Miami, because of Winter Music Conference, but that's just once a year. But also in the meantime, it's really good there. L.A. has caught on as well—really well. I don't know why, but it's a really amazing crowd over there. We were there for Electric Daisy Carnival and I used to go to Avalon a couple times a year as well. I'm also looking forward to doing the festival in New York, actually (Electric Zoo). It's going to be nice to see what the New York crowd has got. House music used to be from New York back in the day, but then the rest of the states started to go crazy for house and it sort of moved. I think it will happen in New York again. I hope so, at least.

Clubplanet: What excites you most about playing Electric Zoo?
Axwell:
I'm most excited about my own gig! For the first time I'm in New York at a big festival. I've only done club gigs there before so I'm really looking forward to setting the score with the New Yorkers.

Clubplanet: What do you enjoy most about playing a festival? Something you can't get from a typical Saturday nightclub gig?
Axwell:
Well, it's a bigger crowd. And it's a different scene. I mean, there's no bottle service champagne coming in with a little firework attached. It's more music-driven. Just music and nothing else. It's more brutal, I would say, and that's really great.

Clubplanet: Who is your favorite producer at the moment?
Axwell:
Wolfgang Gartner. He makes music with an idea. It's not just putting out random stuff, there's always an idea behind it. These days when computers pretty much make music for you it's very easy to just make music without an idea, but thats where the human comes in and [Wolfgang Gartner] does a really great job with that. 

Clubplanet: You do a lot of production as well, including remixing pop songs by the likes of Usher, Madonna, Nelly Furtado, etc. What changes in your mindset when you're producing for pop artists compared to when you're producing for electronic artists?
Axwell:
Actually, nothing because the key to a successful remix is for me to want to play it in my set. I don't make a remix for the pop artist. I know I want to bring that song into my world, so I don't try to do a pop remix. Nothing changes, I just try to drag them down underground, really.

Clubplanet: Tell us a bit about the Swedish House Mafia documentary coming out soon. What are your thoughts on the project so far? When can we expect that to come out?
Axwell:
It's coming out in September. Really it's more of a film than a documentary because it's not the whole story since we were born. It's a little cool film, kind of like a Family Guy episode—a little funny story and there are lots of laughs in between, but still it's a bit clever and informative.

Clubplanet: What else are you working on? Anything particular we should keep our eyes out for?
Axwell:
My single “Nothing But Love” is out now and I'm shooting a video for that. It should be a really interesting video, so keep an eye out. It will be out on the 15th of September.

**You can catch Axwell at Electric Zoo on Saturday, September 4th. Click here to get your tickets now!**

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