Concerts

Steve Angello on Swedish House Mafia's World Tour Kicking Off in Miami: "It's More Intense"

Photo by Alexander Wessely
Swedish House Mafia's global tour kicks off in Miami.
We've all been there: We see our favorite band is embarking on a global tour, and we scroll the tour dates with glee. Tampa, OK; Orlando, even better; and—well, no Miami.

Miami has proven to be a challenging spot for touring due to the costs.

But in the case of dance music's biggest act, Swedish House Mafia, who ushered in the 2010's EDM explosion with anthems like "Miami 2 Ibiza," it was apparent that the Paradise Again Tour couldn't start anywhere 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 beginning of us revealing what the tour was going to be like," Steve Angello, one-third of Swedish House Mafia, tells New Times over Zoom from his home in Stockholm, framed by the night sky setting behind him through his window. "The tour is about having a great time and being on stage together. There's a lot of history between us. We grew up together, and there is so much music between us throughout the years, both solo and in the group."

The band — Angello (Steven Patrik Josefsson Fragogiannis), Axwell (Axel Christofer Hedfors), and Sebastian Ingrosso — formed in 2008 and brought about the EDM Big Bang with tracks like "Leave The World Behind," "One," "Don't You Worry Child," and "Miami 2 Ibiza."

The tour's kickoff in Miami should be memorable and set the tone for the dates to follow. The trio's stage production does away with big LED screens, aiming for a minimal design, increased lighting, and raw rave energy — even if 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 it up,'" Angello explains. "We had Coachella, and that was a good start; we feel great. We have a lot of great music and reworks and 2022 mixes. The stage is huge. We did a Stockholm show in 2019 that was like the biggest screen any DJ has ever used. Now we're going in the opposite direction — it's more about us and the lights and the circular design we have. It's more about finesse; it's more intense."

Despite sold-out shows — like selling out Madison Square Garden in nine minutes as the first electronic act to headline the New York City venue — Swedish House Mafia's momentum was suddenly squashed when the members announced they would be going their separate ways, with the group's final show taking place at Ultra Music Festival in 2013.
The group surprised fans in 2018 when it reunited with yet another appearance at Ultra, followed by a string of shows throughout 2019. When the pandemic hit, the band began to tackle its loftiest goal: recording and releasing its debut album.

"It's refreshing," Angello says about Paradise Again, the band's 17-track debut released in April. "It's important for us to be able to listen to our music any time of the day. We spent a lot of time in the studio. We wanted to soundtrack our journey as opposed to six bangers. We can always drop songs. If we wanted to make a pop record, we would just go to the best songwriter in the world. That's the recipe: You make ten, and one is going to stick."

To label Paradise Again an "EDM album" misses the point. Instead, the album is meant to be a pallet cleanser. Sure, there is big-room energy, but it doesn't take long to hear tech-house stompers, misty-morning piano interludes, and collaborations with A$AP Rocky, Sting, and the Weeknd, all of which are fair game for the tour.

"When you have your own shows, and people are out there to see you, you have a whole different audience than coming into a festival, "Angello says. "On tour, 99 percent of the people are here to see us. I feel like people are more open to artistic expression."

The Miami performance opener 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 old thing over and over," Angello says of the choice of Grimes as the opener. "For us, it needs 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 is a deluxe edition of Paradise Again in the works, as well as an afterparty at Miami Beach nightclub Story.

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 turning 20, and I've reworked the old solo albums and gone down very deep," he adds.

Swedish House Mafia's success didn't happen in a vacuum. The trio's rise to popularity came after over two decades of dance obsession, hustle, and perfect timing.

"Miami means the world to us. We've done so many things there going back to early Winter Music Conference," Angello says. "We would handout promos there back when we were too young to get into clubs. It's nice to go out and play these first couple of 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 $34.75 to $270.75 via ticketmaster.com.

Swedish House Mafia. 11 p.m. Friday, July 29, at Story, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-479-4426; storymiami.com. Tickets cost $110 via tixr.com.