Galantis Discuss Their Rapid Success & Keeping It About The Music First
Interview & Article: Andrew Raveo
April 25, 2014
All anyone can talk about right now is Galantis. The Swedish duo consisting of Linus Eklöw, also known as Style of Eye; and Christian Karlsson, also known as Bloodshy or one third of the group Miike Snow; may have had a quiet entrance onto the scene, but the electric duo has been exponentially gaining support. Recently releasing remixes from Kaskade, Tiesto & Twoloud, Marco V, Still Young, among others. Whether through a recorded mix online, a radio show, or being played out in a nightclub set, the sound of these talented Swedes has been making the rounds.
Making their debut at the renowned Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the duo played in front of a packed Gobi Tent each weekend.
“We didn’t really expect that, it was really hard to foresee that so many people would show up. It was amazing!” said Karlsson.
Many of those in attendance at Coachella were singing along to the catchy lyrics of tracks off their self-titled EP. Released April 1st, the six track EP, which features the likes of ‘Smile’ and ‘You’, both of which became immediately popular among the dance music community. “We really didn’t have that many expectations. It was just a good storm of just positive reaction,” said Eklöw. “We felt it was good music ourselves but there is always that transition into becoming popular.”
With high profile names such as Diplo, Steve Angello, and Kaskade playing their songs at festivals and on their radio shows has only enhanced their growth. The pair however, is not going to let this sudden rush of interest get the better of them. “I see a lot of people that make the mistake of putting touring as priority before studio time and it all just gets out of sync,” remarked Karlsson. “It needs to be all about the music first, otherwise what do you go out and play?”
After Coachella, the duo embarked on their initial North American tour. First stop was in Washington DC, but then the tour made it’s way to Royale in Boston this past Friday night. Local artist DJ Breeazy started off the night and the Swedes followed up with an unforgettable performance. Setting the tone from the start with an intro edit of ‘Smile’, they had the lively Boston crowd jumping and singing along throughout the night.
While this rapid rise to popularity has been the result of hard work and planning, the duo has no plans of slowing down. The coming months should be interesting as they plan to “not be quiet”. Whether through the release of their future album or a European tour, you will for sure be hearing a lot from Galantis. You can stay up to date with Galantis on their social media pages: Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud & Twitter. Make sure to check out the full transcript of our interview before their set below.
Lee Delulio of Downlow Productions (dnlwproductions.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are here with Linus Eklöw and Christian Karlsson, also known as the fast rising duo Galantis. Welcome guys!
The fist thing I want to ask is how was playing to a packed tent both weekends at Coachella?
CK: It was actually amazing! We didn’t really expect that, it was really hard to foresee that so many people would show up. It was amazing! It was unreal! Coachella was the biggest shock ever. I didn’t go out before to check if there was anyone there or nothing. Just okay go out and I expected first row and that’s it and it was like wow!
It was your first show together, correct? Did it go smoothly?
CK: Yeah, I mean smoother than we could have ever imagined. There’s always something production wise, always something that goes wrong, fix it next time or whatever like it’s always something. I toured for many years with Miike Snow and that’s just a part of it.
LE: We spent a lot of work before and we rehearsed like crazy.
Can you talk about the experience playing the festival?
CK: Amazing! Coachella is one of my favorite festivals in the world; it’s hard to beat Coachella. It always has a great lineup and it’s so fresh and nice there, it’s unbelievable. But without taking away from the festival experience, I think. I prefer festivals like that too when you go out somewhere instead of being somewhere in the city. It’s convenient in the city but you lose the festival feel, you know? Like going out in the desert is something that is really cool.
LE: It’s actually “The” festival if you’re from Sweden and you grow up loving music. I’ve watched it from afar and this was the first time I was there. I’ve seen Christian play on YouTube and I was like I want to play there and then it happened. It was a great start for us.
Being from Europe originally, how would you compare Coachella to a European festival such as Tomorrowland?
LE: It’s completely different, completely different.
CK: I haven’t played Tomorrowland yet.
LE: It’s completely different, completely different. Tomorrowland for me is pure dance but it’s great. For me festival lists should have many many styles of music, that’s a real festival for me but I love Tomorrowland.
Which artists got you interested in dance music?
CK: For me, the one that was very early on and still is Depeche Mode, they’re my heroes for ever. There’s so much music you listen to when you’re super young that is now eh but they’re still like the fucking best, it’s hard to compete with them.
LE: The first vinyl I bought was Vinnie Colaiuta, he’s a fusion drummer, and I bought it because it contained a sample I love and that is what lead me to this. Actually, the first album I had was from Plasticman. My mom bought it for me because of the cover [laughs] so I started listening to techno pretty early but I was listening to everything.
Who are some of your current influences?
CK: That’s very all over the place. It’s a little bit different also because I tend to listen to one type of music when song writing and maybe something else during production. For songwriting I like to listen to old music, like 60s stuff. I just like the way they arrange stuff, and how a song was done. Now it’s a little bit too radio format, you know song writing, so I’m trying to find new ways to write a song that still feels natural listening to it. Like I don’t know why the chorus comes here or there or whatever, but it feels great.
LE: For production I think you just have to fill your sort of inspirational bag with anything and everything, it’s about finding new stuff.
CK: I usually just have my hour in the morning to just go through blogs and new stuff…
LE: You have an hour in the morning!? [Laughs]
CK: My daughter wakes up at like 5 and I take her downstairs so my wife can sleep longer and I just put her in this polygon type thing and I sit on my computer and she’s crawling around. That’s a perfect morning.
LE: Now that’s inspiring!
How and when did you two first meet?
CK: Well we knew each other through a lot of the same friends, like Sweden’s music scene is not that big [laughs] But I was a big fan of Linus and I asked him to remix ‘Animal’ for Miike Snow.
LE: I was a big Miike Snow fan but I didn’t know you were in it.
LE: Yeah, I didn’t you were in it [Laughs]
CK: No one knew Miike Snow was Swedish either!
LE: Yeah I didn’t know you were Swedish, I thought you were American [Laughs] But yeah I remixed ‘Animal’ and we started hanging out.
CK: Yeah, just being in the studio and meeting each other on the road.
When was it evident that you guys wanted to produce together?
CK: I remember one call where I called Linus and I said we should do something with a new name, because we were already trying to do something with some beats in the studio. But it took a long time though, we experimented for a long time with different sounds, discussed where we should be and what should our music sound like. Because it’s very hard to just to just say well we should do something together and then it’s like okay well what is it? And that’s not easy.
LE: You get really drunk and sit in the studio for a couple of days and figure it out.
What would be your drink of choice?
LE: Nowadays it’s coconut water.
CK: I drink a lot of wine. I love wine. I live in LA now so I take a lot of trips to wine country and go to vineyards and stuff.
Lee Delulio of Downlow Productions (dnlwproductions.com) (email@example.com)
Both of you are successful in your own right, Christian with Miike Snow and Linus with Style of Eye. Do you guys enjoy working on Galantis as much as your individual projects?
CK: I feel like we’re focusing on this stuff and we have so much to do right now and its so much fun.
LE: This is where we want to be right now.
CK: We’re in the studio everyday. We have a ton of work to do on the album but we’ve already written most of the album.
Any information on when that will be out?
CK: Ugh I wish it was only up to us [Laughs] but it’s going to be sooner than later because that’s all we’re focusing on right now.
LE: One thing we can say for sure is that we’re not going to be quiet. It’s not going to be quiet from us. At all.
CK: Making the music is not a problem for us [Laughs] I feel that is a strong side of this. Like the touring has started and we really want to get out there and tour, but the studio is where both of us are at home. We love to write songs and produce music. It’s like all we have done in our lives.
LE: Even on the tour bus.
So you are doing work on the bus?
CK: Yes, bus studios today are really easy to have because you can just use computers. But I really like to be in the real studio of course. We have a studio in Stockholm that we use.
Now Christian, you live in LA. Do you live there as well, Linus?
LE: No, Stockholm.
Does that make things a little more difficult?
LE: No, I come here a lot. Christian comes to Stockholm as well. We both go back and forth, so it’s fine and it works.
CK: We kind of have two different ways to work, either we are like boot camp somewhere just living in a house with a studio in the house or we are sending stuff or sending ideas and working on two different songs at the same time or whatever.
Contrary to popular belief your actual initial release as Galantis was back in 2012 when you released the Raveheart EP. How do you feel your sound has evolved since that release?
CK: Yeah that was experimenting stuff released under our own label, so it wasn’t really a real release but we wanted put out something that we were working on. It was two tracks and one track together with A-Trak that we put out, but and then we just stopped because we felt like okay we’re moving towards something else so we shouldn’t put anything more because the new stuff doesn’t really go together with that. So that is why we waited awhile and then we were like okay here is six songs that we feel like this is Galantis.
LE: We were always aiming for more of a song structure in our tracks rather than ones like Raveheart because it’s very clubby.
CK: All our songs now we don’t start making the beats, we start writing the song and produce later. We wanted to do that because most dance music is not made that way and so you can hear the difference.
What expectations did you have for the most recent EP? Did it live up to or surpass those expectations?
CK: We didn’t really have that many expectations, but of course we felt that the music was real original and very strong. We just hoped that people would find it, you know because there are so many releases like everyday. There is still so much music that is so good that just goes by and people miss it. It’s so good that we have the Internet and the easy access to music, but it’s hard to find for people sometimes because there is just so much. It’s like “oh shit we’re number one on Hypemachine!” and then it’s like “oh, we’re off the chart now?” [Laughs]
LE: But to answer your question yeah we really didn’t have that many expectations. It was just a good storm of just positive reaction. It just happened. We felt it was good music ourselves but there is always that transition into becoming popular.
CK: A lot of DJs and big artists contacted us really early and were like “shit Smile is dope” or “You is dope” and that was a good start because people like Diplo, Steve Angello or Kaskade or someone like that loving the music and playing it in their radio shows.
Both ‘Smile’ and ‘You’ garnered a lot of instant attention. You must have gotten a lot of collaboration requests; can you drop any of these upcoming collaborations?
CK: We can’t drop that but there is stuff coming.
LE: Yeah, there is stuff coming very soon!
CK: The most remixed band in the world right now is Galantis [Laughs] like we put the Smile a cappella out in the beginning and it made a lot of people go “oh!”
Now you guys have done some pretty creative stuff. One of the things I really want to know is who came up with the music video idea for ’Smile’? What was your involvement in it’s creation?
CK: Yeah we were a part of all of that. We wanted to do something like that and we found a video director that was into the same idea [Laughs] and we stuck with because we had another idea for the You video and he really liked that.
Is the seafox head real or was that partially computer generated?
CK: It’s actually made by the same guy that made the first Daft Punk masks. We took the whole budget just to make that [Laughs]
LE: Yeah, that’s real [Laughs]
Can you see out of it?
CK: Yeah but it’s not super easy [Laughs]
Any plans to use it during shows?
LE: Actually seafox girl came to Coachella. She might appear again [Laughs}
CK: She came out but I had to make sure she didn’t fall or anything because it’s hard to see out of it [Laughs]
You have a unique sound that’s for sure, how do you plan to continue to keep your style unique and break genre barriers?
CK: I think it’s just something that comes natural to us. We’re always trying to look for new sounds and fresh productions.
LE: I think that as time changes you get sort of bored with whatever you have done before, so you just have to keep trusting your ears. Whatever you feel interested in is the stuff that you are going to go and make, and something that we want to do is keep the core of what we know is Galantis and what we feel is Galantis. You can write a song in so many ways, and You is a great example, we did it in a lot of different ways, but the end result is the one that we say “this is Galantis”, this is how the song feels when it’s ready for us.
What can people expect if they come out for one of your sets?
CK: It’s very high energy [Laughs]
LE: Yeah we like to jump around; we like to move. We’re not here to watch our shoelaces. We don’t travel around for you to just stand there, that’s not Galantis.
What’s next for Galantis? Are you guys planning on a world tour?
CK: We definitely need to hit Europe as well, so we’re booking that right now.
Any plans to play any more festivals this year?
CK: We get offers all the time but we just need to figure out scheduling because we need to have studio time. I see a lot of people that make the mistake of putting touring priority before studio time and it all just gets out of sync. It needs to be all about the music first, otherwise what do you go out and play?
LE: We need to finish the album first.
CK: Yeah, we need to finish up a lot of stuff.
What exactly is a seafox and who came up with that idea?
CK: We had a very strong idea in our heads and then we had this visual artist from the UK, Mat Maitland, which we loved that does really trippy, experimental stuff. So we took our idea to him and we kept on going back and forth for a long time, I don’t think he liked us there for a moment [Laughs] we just wanted to find the right thing. It’s like someone tries to tell us how to make a song or something.
LE: I can easily say that we were a little bit too much up in his business [Laughs]
CK: But it ended really well I think. We’re really happy.
Who are some artists that you are listening to that we probably haven’t heard of yet?
CK: I love a guy, maybe you know him already, he’s amazing! RY X
LE: Yeah, check him out. Listen to his song Berlin.