From Skrillex to Disney: Sebastian Ingrosso opens up in a lower Manhattan penthouse
Last night, in a hotel on the lower east side of Manhattan, a small group of media members, industry professionals, and a few lucky fans gathered to listen to Arjan of ArjanWrites interview Sebastian Ingrosso for his ARTIST#TALK series. The series has previously featured stars such as Flo Rida and Tinie Tempah, but on this rainy New York City night, Sebastian Ingrosso opened up from an intimate penthouse decked with HP laptops and Beats headphones. Speaking for roughly thirty minutes, Seb touched upon everything from his unique work with pop stars and film studios to humble beginnings in Sweden to his fascination with Busta Rhymes.
On Refune Records…
When talking about his own record label, Sebastian’s responses were humbled and even surprising. He proclaimed that Refune is not intended to be a sexy brand that will spawn tours or a cult following, but a record label strictly for its musical function. He credits Alesso for being super talented and self-driven, and sharing that unique x factor with label mate Otto Knows. Ingrosso admits that he is not listening to demos, and any label time is dedicated to his young stars.
I need to musically focus on Alesso and Otto. I’m not listening to demos at the moment out of respect for them.
On working with pop stars…
When asked about working with pop stars, Sebastian referenced working with Usher, claiming that Swedish House Mafia was looking for a challenge and made sure that the production concept was theirs from the start. Arjan then asked what was learned in those studio sessions, and Ingrosso described a scene far more advanced than a dance music production session, with multiple engineers hard at work changing the vocals.
Usher asked us if we wanted to be involved with his album, and we said “absolutely, if we can do what we want to do.”
On the music video for “Reload”…
Arjan hit the play switch on the music video for “Reload,” as himself, Sebastian, and the crowd watched along. When asked about his inspiration for the video, Sebastian revealed that he was inspired by Porter Robinson’s “Language” video and saw the artistic vision as appropriate for his Tommy Trash collaboration. Referencing the water imagery, Ingrosso called on “Language” director Jonathan Desbiens to work on the visuals for “Reload.”
I saw a video from Porter Robinson called “Language,” and I really liked the effects that were made with the water. So I said “I want to work with this guy,” I contacted [the director] and he was interested.
On Monsters University...
Arjan once again played a video for the audience, this time it was the trailer for Disney’s upcoming Monsters Inc. sequel, Monsters University, which sported a song (“Roar”) produced by Sebastian and Axwell. When the clip ended, Ingrosso described the soundtrack process as limitless, describing it as less formulaic and more fun.
We don’t have a limit with an intro, and a melody, and a snare drum. This was more having fun, watching things and making music at the same time — I understand why people do it.
On collaboration with Ellie Goudling, Steve Angello, and Skrillex…
Nearly a year ago it was reported that two-thirds of the former Swedish House Mafia, Sebastian and Steve, were in the studio with Skrillex and Ellie Goulding. This was the first and last update on the mega-collaboration, and Sebastian has revealed that it was recorded for Ellie Goulding’s latest album, Halcyon. The record, titled “Birdie,” didn’t make the final cut of Halcyon, and therefore will not see the light of day — although he did mention it was a fun studio session.
Skrillex called and said “I’m working on Ellie Goulding’s album and I would like to do a song with you.” It was the day before Christmas, it was an interesting day. It was fun, but nothing really happened with the song.
On attending a Carl Cox show with Dad at age 15...
Sebastian has spoke about his early interest in the techno and underground rave scene as a child, and Arjan asked if there had been one DJ in particular that he’d seen live that blew his mind. Ingrosso responded with a story of his own, rewinding back to the age of 15 when his dad brought him to one of his most memorable shows… Carl Cox.
I remember when I was like 15 years and I was on vacation with my dad, he said to me “we’re going to see this DJ, his name is Carl Cox.” I’ll never forget that.
On his favorite word, “Mode”…
As a fun part of his segment, Arjan asked Sebastian his favorite word, which triggered the response: “Mode, I use it all the time.” The audience laughed, but I later asked Seb the significance, and was surprised to hear that its origin comes from Busta Rhymes and his “Flipmode” movement.
We were kids and we were listening to Busta Rhymes and he always said “Flipmode squad!” So we always said “what are we going to do? we’re going to go flipmode!”
Photo credit: ArjanWrites