Interview: Steve Angello talks about Swedish House Mafia’s Paradise Again tour

We’ve all been there: we see our favorite band embark on a world tour, and we scroll through the tour dates with jubilation. Tampa, okay; Orlando, even better; well, not Miami.

Miami proved to be a difficult location for touring due to cost.

But in the case of dance music’s biggest band, Swedish House Mafia, who ushered in an EDM explosion in 2010 with anthems like “Miami 2 Ibiza,” it was obvious the Paradise Again tour couldn’t begin. nowhere. but Miami – and the Swedes are doing just that on Friday, July 29 at the FTX Arena.

“We did a show at Coachella in April, and that was the start for us to reveal what the tour would be like,” said Swedish House Mafia third party Steve Angello. new times on Zoom from his home in Stockholm, framed by the night sky behind him through his window. “Touring is about having a good time and being on stage together. There’s a lot of history between us. We’ve grown together and there’s so much music between us over the years, both solo and as a band. ”

The band – Angello (Steven Patrik Josefsson Fragogiannis), Axwell (Axel Christofer Hedfors) and Sebastian Ingrosso – formed in 2008 and sparked EDM Big Bang with tracks like “Leave The World Behind”, “One”, “Don’t You Worry My Child” and “Miami 2 Ibiza”.

Kicking off the tour in Miami should be memorable and set the tone for the dates to come. The trio’s stage production does away with large LED screens, aiming for minimal design, increased lighting and raw rave energy – even though it’s an arena.

“We have pretty intensive rehearsals. It’s not like we go on tour and say, ‘Oh shit, we have to change that,'” Angello explains. “We had Coachella, and it was a great start; we feel great. We’ve got a lot of great music and 2022 redesigns and mixes. The scene is huge. We did a show in Stockholm in 2019 that was like the biggest screen any DJ has ever used. Now we’re going the opposite direction – it’s more about us, the lights and the circular design we have. It’s more about finesse, it’s is more intense.

Despite sold-out shows — like selling out Madison Square Garden in nine minutes as the first electronic act to headline New York City — Swedish House Mafia’s momentum was suddenly crushed when the members announced that they would go their separate ways, along with the group. final show at the Ultra Music Festival in 2013.
The group surprised fans in 2018 when they reunited with another appearance at Ultra, followed by a series of shows throughout 2019. When the pandemic hit, the group began tackling his highest goal: to record and release his first album.

“It’s refreshing,” Angello says of Heaven again, the band’s first 17-track release in April. “It’s important for us to be able to listen to our music at any time of the day. We spent a lot of time in the studio. We wanted to soundtrack our journey rather than six bangers. We can always go out songs. If we wanted to make a pop record, we would just go see the best songwriter in the world. That’s the recipe: you make ten, and one will stay.

To label Heaven again an “EDM album” misses the point. Instead, the album is meant to be a palette cleanser. Sure, there’s energy in the great hall, but it doesn’t take long to hear tech-house stompers, hazy morning piano interludes and collaborations with A$AP Rocky, Sting and The Weeknd, who are all fair game for the round.

“When you have your own shows and people are there to see you, you have a whole different audience than if you come to a festival,” says Angello. “On tour, 99% of people are there to see us. I feel like people are more open to artistic expression.”

Opening the Miami performance is Grimes, an act that doesn’t exactly scream high-octane electronic music.

“We listen to a lot of music and consume a lot of music, and we want to explore things and introduce different music to the crowd and not do the same thing over and over again,” Angello said of choosing Grimes as the opener. . “For us, it has to be exciting and unexpected and introduce people to new things.”

If embarking on a world tour and producing an album wasn’t enough, there’s a deluxe edition of Heaven again in preparation, as well as an after party at the Story nightclub in Miami Beach.

Angello is also preparing for the 20th anniversary of his label, Size Records, which will see the remastering of some of the label’s oldest tracks. “My label is 20 years old, and I reworked the old solo albums and went down very deep,” he adds.

The success of the Swedish House Mafia did not happen in a vacuum. The trio’s rise to popularity came after more than two decades of obsession with dance, excitement and perfect timing.

“Miami means the world to us. We’ve done so much there since the Winter Music Conference started,” Angello said. “We were handing out promos there when we were too young to get into clubs. It’s nice to go out and play those first two shows: Coachella, Ibiza and now Miami. It’s a great setup.”

Swedish house mafia. With Grimes. 8 p.m. Friday, July 29 at FTX Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 786-777-1000; ftxarena.com. Tickets cost between $34.75 and $270.75 through ticketmaster.com.

Swedish house mafia. 11 p.m. Friday, July 29, at Story, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-479-4426; storymiami.com. Tickets are $110 through tixr.com.


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Raymond I. Langston