Swedish House Mafia was given one of the highest compliments in modern music last year when Rolling Stone declared, “DJs are the new rock stars.” The quote was aimed at the three respected Swedes, Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello, whose 45-minute documentary, Take One was released a year ago, following their first collaborative album, Until One.
And yes, the dark-haired, confident DJs/producers embody rock stars in the most classic form: girls want to get with them and guys want to roll in their entourage. The trio has an overall carefree, bad boy presence, often spitting out brash comments fit for a Quentin Tarantino flick, and have a knack for powerfully energizing sweaty crowds with their stage sets in different time zones across the world.
Anticipation is heating up in New York as Swedish House Mafia gears up to play the renowned Madison Square Garden for the first time. The supergroup will be the first electronic act ever to play the venue with their stadium-ready anthems, joining a roster of global acts that have graced the stage.
“To be honest, man, I can’t really believe it,” says Ingrosso. “We don’t even understand what this is gonna be like. We are working our asses off to give the best set to our fans. It’s going to be hard work to try to please everyone, and we can’t, but we are so excited. It’s just crazy. We are the first in the world, man – first Swedish act and the first electronic act to perform there.”
Axwell adds, “It was so amazing to see how it sold out in 10 minutes. Some of the biggest acts in the world have played [at MSG], so it’s going to be something that we’re going to prepare for. We try to do something that’s a show, something that’s spectacular somehow, something that sparkles, something with fireworks – that’s really exciting for people to see and be a part of.”
The show is a culmination of the group’s ascent since Until One released in October 2010. Between sold-out gigs, the guys nabbed a hit with “Save The World,” which features U.K. singer John Martin – who happened to be at the right place at the right time. “That was just by luck and coincidence that we found John Martin,” says Axwell. “He was actually working in the same studio. We just heard him sing and we asked him to write something, and we came up with this amazing song. The best people can be just around the corner.”
“When we wrote the track with Martin, he [was fixing] cars but we loved the feeling that he had; we didn’t care if he was famous or not,” continues Ingrosso. “I think that’s important – the track is important, not who sings the track. I still listen to it and get goosebumps, and I have so many memories of that song from the summer touring with the guys. We’d rather put him on our stage than someone who will sell more tickets ‘cause it’s not real. If we can break talent nobody’s more happy than us.”
What Swedish House Mafia has accomplished in just three years, many groups don’t ever see in the lifespan of their careers. Having formed officially in 2008, by 2010 each of their talents were being recognized individually, garnering respective slots within the top 20 of DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJ Poll. “Leave The World Behind,” a track featuring Laidback Luke and vocalist Deborah Cox, was one of the first tracks to kick things off for the trio. “We started taking SHM seriously around ,” says Axwell. “It kind of gave people more than just one song to digest and to really get into what we do. That was really important to give people an entire album so people could get to know us.” That first full-length effort would also contain their first official single and global smash, “One,” followed by “Miami 2 Ibiza,” featuring Tinie Tempah.