Swedish House Mafia dive into decision to make ‘Paradise Again,’ pressures in early 2010’s, and more during hour-plus talk with Zane Lowe
Swedish House Mafia have given us just about everything since July, but a proper sitdown in video form felt like the only thing left for them to check off the list. We’re not even a week removed from Paradise Again—with the feelings of it eventually being crowned Dancing Astronaut‘s Album of the Year only growing with each and every playback—and even less time than that has passed since the trio grandly shut down Weekend 1 of Coachella with The Weeknd. But as everyone continues to digest Swedish House Mafia’s first proper LP and before they run it back in Indio on April 24, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Steve Angello took to what looks like The Dark Knight batcave for an hour-long chat through Apple Music with their longtime friend, Zane Lowe.
Right off the bat, the conversation feels much more like a group of friends freely talking than it is a formal interview. And Swedish House Mafia had already held a few brief conversations with Lowe in months prior surrounding their string of Paradise Again singles, so the four seemed to pick up right where they left off. There’s a million different topics to dissect throughout the hour-plus video, but the trio starts off by explaining that the reunion felt organic from minute one—with calls for them to reunite gradually moving from tiring to inspiring—and it genuinely might’ve not continued had Ultra not gone as smoothly as it did. They explained that Swedish House Mafia’s breakup was largely grounded on the fact that they felt like they weren’t equipped to handle how quickly the project exploded and that they weren’t ready to shelve what they had going on individually.
Ingrosso goes on to talk about how big of a factor the pandemic played into Paradise Again being conceived considering it was the first time they could solely focus on music, adding that Steve Angello “dropped the bomb and said we have to do an album” and that he immediately panicked because he knew how much of an uphill battle it was just to do the handful of Swedish House Mafia releases from the early 2010’s. And the first thing they did once they decided an album was in order was come to an agreement on its direction, ignoring the “rave versus radio” debate and just going into the studio without any expectations or restrictions. Ingrosso also reiterates the general consensus around dance music right now in that we’ve entered a new golden age, saying that he feels like there’s been a “reset.”
In terms of background on some of the Paradise Again tracks, the three explain that “Home” was how they envisioned Swedish House Mafia would sound on a Sunday morning, “Mafia” was the quickest of the album tracks and was a representation of the drama they’d been through—originally being named “Drama”—”Frankenstein” came together almost immediately, with A$AP Rocky being the first person they had on their collaborative wish list for the album, “Don’t Go Mad” was named that because they literally got mad while trying to perfect it using so many different elements, “19.30” was made from Steve Angello’s new analog drum machine and was the only Paradise Again cut that went unmixed, and finally “For You” had “checked off everything” they wanted in a track and was meant to be a thank you back to fans, using 20 different vocalists in total. Of their work alongside The Weeknd—with whom they share Sal Slaiby as manager—the three explained how their chemistry was palpable from the get-go and that he recorded the “Moth To A Flame” vocals in a single take.
Swedish House Mafia also dive into the theme of maturity that has come with the reunion, explaining that they’ve learned to say “no” more this time around and that they’re only here to do the things that they truly enjoy. And as far as the sound on Paradise Again and to address those irrationally calling for more progressive house, they explain that they simply did not want to rehash what they’d already done a decade ago, adding that if fans couldn’t appreciate what they were trying to do, then they were never really fans in the first place. Axwell explains that it’s their “choice” to be Swedish House Mafia now, instead of feeling obligated like they were at the very beginning.
As far as music that didn’t actually end up on Paradise Again, the three say that they’re just hitting their production stride again and that there’s always going to be “surprises” in store. The conversation with Zane Lowe comes to an end with the topic of Dancing Astronaut Artist to Watch in 2022 Fred again.., who co-produced “Calling On” and the three teasing that they made six tracks in two days, with one landing on Paradise Again and another one set to be a formal collaboration on Fred again..’s album.
If the past week wasn’t already an overload of Swedish House Mafia to take in, they just announced a handful of new Paradise Again tour dates, with two nights at Madison Square Garden replacing their MetLife Stadium appearance, new dates in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Ibiza, and a stacked support roster of Alesso, ZHU, Vintage Culture, Salvatore Ganacci, KAYTRANADA, and more. Tickets for the Paradise Again album tour—which kicks off on July 29 in Miami—are available here.
DA EXCLUSIVE (1 of 2) ⚫️⚫️⚫️
“We met, we talked and then Steve dropped the bomb and said we have to do an album.” pic.twitter.com/57tK4MGj2r
— Dancing Astronaut (@dancingastro) April 20, 2022
NEW SHM DATES + SUPPORT ⚫️⚫️⚫️
MSG, LA and San Francisco stops added
Alesso, ZHU, Vintage Culture, Grimes and Kaytranada are the different openers depending on the show
— Dancing Astronaut (@dancingastro) April 18, 2022
Featured image: Apple Music