Steve Angello

Steve Angello discusses ‘Wild Youth’, Swedish House Mafia & the EDM scene in recent interview

In a recent interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, superstar DJ and producer Steve Angello opened up about Wild Youth, his time with Swedish House Mafia, his current view on the dance music industry and much more.

As the interview took a certain direction, Steve Angello discussed Swedish House Mafia at its peak, and explained how he barely made any music during a 2½ year period.

The Swede describes how he felt he had ended up in an exciting yet frightening place as an artist and explains it as –

“You wanted to know how far you could take it all. There was a lot of drinking, boating, flying helicopter. I was at a place where one is actually afraid of ending up as an artist. I was out touring the world with meaningless music, but one day you come back down to earth again.”

After the split up with Swedish House Mafia, the ’Wild Youth’ project began to take form and Steve Angello explains how he wanted to create something with more meaning and not something generic which serves no purpose.

” I just felt: I can make dance hits now. There is a special formula that always works. I wanted to create something that means more. Dance music wasn’t evolving or progressing like other musical genres were. Take hip hop, as an example, it always speaks about culture, religion, society and politics. Dance music has never talked about anything. There is no history. So I want to tell mine.

 In all my collaborations I only work with artists I truly admire. It’s more like folk and indie rock music, such as Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons and Dougy Mandagi from Temper Trap – I have always been a huge fan of their vocals. We wrote all the tracks together and tried to tell a story through it; a simple question, “What do I want to tell them through the music?”.”

On the entire album, there’s only one track that Angello has written himself; ‘The Ocean’ was a track composed by Stockholm artist, ‘Staturday, Monday’ with Julia Spada on the vocals. The song was actually released a few years ago, but rather discreetly. Angello took a deep liking towards the track and tried to push it to the masses through his radio show on BBC. Unfortunately, it didn’t strike a chord with audiences. “I just couldn’t let it go. So I twisted it up and created my own interpretation.”

As the interview developed, Steve Angello tells of how Wild Youth shows a clear story from the day he was born to his upbringing and teen years in depression after the murder of his father, when Angello was 14. He also mentions that many tracks in the album are about his father, but more specifically track 3 and forward.

Steve also mentions the album is in fact not an EDM album, but a dance music album. During the interview, he reminds himself of a moment when he was listening to the Swedish radio channels and could not identify any dance music artist being played. He also accuses the artists of being a lot less creative than they are capable of being by talking about fact that artists choose to use sounds that are easy to craft and therefore all end up with similar music.

He later attempts to make a bold statement by going through Tiesto’s Instagram page. Whilst going through the pictures which represent the current EDM scene, Angello compared the visage of it all to a Disney movie, the flashy lights and huge crowds create a false impression of a ‘happy place’.

You see 40 year old artists with incredible talent release music as if they were 15. In any other profession, this would be considered absurd. It’s like Tom Ford migrated to makng Pokémon clothes. This is where we’ve ended up.

Angello thinks differentiation and artist creativity won’t just come from sub-genres. Artists have to push themselves to actually create new genres. In the future, he has come to believe touring and DJing will no longer be a money-making institution. Instead he believes songwriting and production will become the most crucial factor for an artist’s success. We can already see this happening with the massive rise in numbers of producers.

All in all, the interview covered Steve Angello’s viewpoint and his perspective on dance music and its surroundings. We’re grateful to Swedish daily for conducting the interview and giving us a deeper look into Angello’s thoughts. You can check out the full interview here.

Source: Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish)