And you know what? He’s right.
Although Swedish House Mafia has been sending my Google Alerts AND my brain into overdrive lately, I’ve come to terms with it, because everything makes sense now.
Shortly before Steve Angello and fellow Swedish House Mafia members Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso announced the tracklisting for One Last Tour’s Until Now compilation–which will be available to buy in the U.S. on Oct. 22–Angello opened up to the Huffington Post about the Swedish trio’s pending split…
…and about what irks him. It’ great stuff.
The interview is long and occasionally rambling, but makes sense of all the noise that’s been swarming SHM lately. It also seems to be centered around two things: Big business and bigots.
For instance, Angello explained that in the two decades they’ve been at it, this is the first time any of them have felt their creative control being threatened by big business. And while he’s okay with others “selling out,” he just doesn’t think it’s SHM’s thing.
He also made sure to bash those that prematurely, and frequently, broadcast their criticism of successful musicians. After all, musicians are making millions for a reason — you’re just a server making minimum wage. Haha! But for real…
Here are some of the interview’s highlights:
On ‘dem haters just wanting to hate:
“People like to diss stuff. Especially online. It’s like, ‘Come on, man.’ I’ve never understood those people. I’ve never been one of those people who goes in there and comments ‘Don’t buy this album, it sucks.’ Don’t you want to give that opportunity for people to experience for themselves? Everyone can have their opinion and if you like something, you like it.”
“With us, some people are like ‘I can’t believe you sold out Central Park.’ I didn’t go to New York with a gun and start threatening people to buy tickets for my show. It’s just what it is — people like to be cool about what they think. It’s easy to disrespect people who are creative if you’re not a creative person yourself.”
On missing the laid back career he used to have:
“You know what I miss? I miss normal. I remember just being excited to go and play at a regular club. And you’re thinking ‘this is my night,’ and there may only be 250 or 300 people there. And there was no pressure. I kind of miss that it used to be playful. You could be creative, nobody judged you. Today, it’s all judgment. You’re never a prophet in your own city, but at the same time, when you grow up and become big, everyone says you’re doing well.”
“But the second you get big, they tell you that you suck. I’m a firm believer in being positive and promoting what you love instead of dissing what you don’t like. I said I’m a big Coldplay fan, and I told someone that and they said, ‘Yeah but they’re so commercial now.’ Who cares? They still write great records — the melodies are fantastic, the lyrics are great. It’s the same with anything. Lady Gaga was really cool until she had her first No. 1 and now everyone thinks she’s weird. I just miss the whole playful thing. And that’s why I use a lot of aliases when I produce, because I can take the Steve Angello hat off and just play.”
On putting the kibosh on SHM:
“I think we felt like it had become a very big machine. I think the pressure … It just wasn’t having fun anymore. It was this humongous monster. We felt like tired. Swedish House Mafia was never something planned, it was just like, we’re three guys, let’s do this and have fun and throw parties and have a blast. So we just thought, ‘You know what? Let’s end this.’”
On giving his DJ’ing career an expiration date, and taking on more of a mentoring role:
“I really enjoy doing that. When I grew up — I started my label in 2002 — I didn’t have any support. Just being able to sign these artists and help them develop and not make the same mistakes you did — I took that upon myself and I really enjoy it. I give [DJ'ing] five, maybe maximum of eight years. Then I’ll just step into [production and mentoring] full time. Because I’m very into business, too. Especially now with the overflow of electronic dance music, I would like to be there for the kids and be the hand that holds them through the tough times. Also, having them around really energizes me. It can get very boring and lonely sometimes.”
On clueless people and companies trying to take over:
“Listen, I think there are very few who understand 100%. Every city and promoter in the world wants to have a festival, and thinks they can. But they don’t know how to — they don’t understand. There are very few in North America who know how to do that. They have great club nights, but it’s a different world.”
“I have the weirdest calls every single day from big Fortune 500 companies who want to come and get involved. And I’m like ‘how?’ They will tell me they just want to ‘get into the EDM space.’ But they’ll be, like, selling trimmers. ‘But you have a beard!’ Yeah but, what do you want me to do? Shave on camera so you can tell people all the dance acts use Phillips?”
“Everyone just wants in. I’ve been given offers by every major label to come and buy [SIZE]. But I can’t sell that — it’s my baby. If I give up creative control, then what do I do? This is what I worked for my whole life. We can be partners, but I’m not just going to give you the keys to my car and say, ‘Drive it.’ That’s not how it works. There are a lot of people who are not fit to do this. Every single day we get an email that’s just really awkward, and I look at my people in the office and we just say, ‘What the fuck?’”
Going out a hero? …They’re doing it right. And it’s not like they won’t be making music ever again. They’ll be doing it more “behind the scenes,” if you will, to keep their creative flame ablaze.
In short: Getting triple the amount of awesome music from them individually > the bogus music Angello thinks they’d eventually release as SHM
I’m feeling better about their decision to split.