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With Ibiza's summer season now officially over, everyone has returned to their mundane lives beyond the Spanish island's nightclubs. Coincidentally, though, October also marks the time of year when Miami becomes a haven for DJs, clubgoers, and warm-weather seekers. But this year, the call to party seems louder than ever thanks to Swedish House Mafia's imminent Halloween takeover of midtown Miami's Scope Art Fair tent.
The trio — Axwell, Steve Angello, and Sebastian Ingrosso — has quickly found a groove following its immensely popular Masquerade Motel party at Pacha Ibiza, plus a hot dance track featuring Pharrell Williams and a newly released studio album. With a dozen other traditional dance acts scoring mainstream success, Swedish House Mafia could be one of the lucky few that persuades American audiences to embrace the genre.
Last week, New Times caught up with the youngest member of the gang, 27-year-old Ingrosso, to talk about the Mafia's commercial success and its love of Miami.
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New Times: Swedish House Mafia bringing its Masquerade Motel to Miami is funny considering there's a song on the album called "Miami 2 Ibiza" — or in this case, "Ibiza 2 Miami."
Sebastian Ingrosso: There is always a connection, dance-wise — Ibiza, Miami, New York, L.A., London. You know, those key big cities. We always stop by Miami for Winter Music Conference. The city is a bit of a second home for us. We've played there for many years. The whole Masquerade Motel at Pacha went really well. There were people from the States coming over to see the show. And with the success of "One" and "Miami 2 Ibiza," we thought, Why not take it on tour to New York, Miami, Vegas?
What's the concept behind Masquerade Motel?
Our manager, Amy Thomson, came up with the idea. We were feeding ideas to each other, and she came up with Masquerade Motel, a sexy Venetian masquerade, kind of like Eyes Wide Shut. Like Kubrick meets trashy-motel afterparty.
Lately, it seems there are more traditional dance music artists crossing over into the mainstream. The best examples are David Guetta and Deadmau5. And Swedish House Mafia seems poised to do the same. Why do you think there's been a sudden shift toward the mainstream?
I don't think we are starting to make pop music. I can't speak for David or Deadmau5, but I can speak for us. People are going to say, "You've become commercial." But if you listen to tracks we did four or five years ago, it's the same, with or without vocals. Now we have Pharrell [Williams] instead of a session singer. But it's just a name.
After the Masquerade Motel tour, what are you planning to do? Hopefully, not rest.
No, now we are going to go into second gear. We are thinking of doing a studio album. But the problem now is time, because Steve lives in Los Angeles, I don't know where I live at the moment, and Axwell lives in Sweden.
How does it work, having three DJs, each with your own separate careers, make an album?
It's fine. We have been friends from the beginning. We are like brothers. Our minds come together when we go into the studio. We respect each other very much. I mean, if you have three DJs in the studio saying, "Wow, this is amazing," you can't go wrong.
Right now, Swedish House Mafia is releasing its first album, Until One, which is sort of like a studio album but more like a mixtape.
We wanted to do it old-school. I remember when I was a kid and I heard about Todd Terry and all those guys in Detroit. They were releasing mixtapes and sold, like, 75,000 cassettes. We wanted to do something where we could [collect] all our bootlegs and mashups. We even cleared Coldplay, which is massive work.
The whole thing is very high-energy. It starts on a high note with "Miami 2 Ibiza." It's a party album.
Every time we come to a place, we hope we can deliver New Year's Eve every night. We bring a lot to a show. People pay $30 or $50 to see us, so we want to make sure we give something back. I'm a DJ, but I'm so tired of DJs playing for themselves and building and building, and it takes four hours. Today it's a different story. People want to party.