Axwell, member of the Swedish House Mafia, is headlining the Hilltop Arena stage of the Electric Zoo Festival in Randall’s Island New York on September 4. According to DJ magazine the 14th best in the world, Axwell chatted with scene reporter Jordan Schneider, suffering through three dropped calls courtesy of Verizon.
[YDN] So I’m calling from New Haven right now, I don’t know if you’ve heard of that.
[A] Where is that?
[YDN] Its’ an hour and a half north of New York Vity in Connecticut.
[A] That’s where 50 Cent has his massive house, right?
[YDN] Uh, yeah — maybe 20 minutes. So Axwell, you have this great song called Bromance. I was just wondering … have you ever been Iced before?
[A] If i’ve ever been Iced before?
[YDN] Like someone giving you a Smirnoff Ice without you knowing it and you having to drink it?
[A] Well um, no I haven’t, and I’ve actually never made a track called “Bromance.” So…
[YDN] Excuse me — I’m so sorry about that. So, did you always know you wanted to be a DJ?
[A] I started off playing the drums, so I was into making music in a way but I thought I had tried once in a while in the shower but it didn’t work out very well. When working on computers you do everything-you play drums, you play bass, whatever. That was like the right environment for me and then with that came djing because people want to play my songs.
[YDN] You’re playing this festival in new york, Electric Zoo. is there anything you have to bring differently for an American as opposed to European audience?
[A] At the moment the crowd in the States is so up for it so you just have to bring a smile on your face. For the past two years its been really really amazing to come to the states and play.
[YDN] In the northeast as opposed to Miami, is it all the same music and energy?
[A] I’m looking to find out. In New York I’ve only done clubs before, so this will be the first festival.
[YDN] So your child, has he come to any clubs or festivals? [Axwell and his girlfriend had a baby boy last year.]
[A] It’s kind of easy, man, its kind of easy. My girlfriend and my son they come whenever we have the possibly to stay somewhere longer and when they feel like it will be fun to come. At a festival its easier for a kid to hang around than in a club — he can have lots of space to run around. He might be coming to electric zoo as well. Its more work to travel with family … you have to tour manage a little bit more.
[YDN] Can you tell me a little bit about your new video for the track “Nothing but Love”?
[A] It’s about how it would be if Jesus was here in 2010. It’s sort of a snippet of how that could be, he’s a normal dude, he has friends, he goes to clubs, but he’s, like, Jesus so he’s better than everybody. He has a bigger picture, there’s something special about him. But also the problems that Jesus had, his friends betraying him, and eventually he gets killed and he will get resurrected and goes up to heaven.
[YDN] Yeah — it’s almost like the DJ being a shepherd over his flock of dancers in a club.
[A] Yeah, exactly. I don’t think that much about Jesus and God and stuff, but Jesus was actually around. I thought that if i would ever do a video about Jesus it would have to be this track. and also to do it in a different vibe like he was in the club — that’s kind of an interesting take.
[YDN] Any plans for New York City?
[A] I just want to feel the vibe there a little bit. Straight after the gig at Electric Zoo I have a gigs in Montreal and Toronto, but then I’ll be back in new york for a couple of days. I normally rent a studio there for one or two days, working in a different city can always be good for the vibe. I did that last year — two days is normally interesting to get some music done in new york, get some different sounds out of it.
[YDN] If i might recommend Williamsburg, the neighborhood. It’s where all the kids are at now.
[A] Okay, I will check it out!