Axwell and Ingrosso Prove Two Are Better Than One

As part of Swedish House Mafia, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, along with third member Steve Angello, proved to the world that dance music was commercially viable. The Swedes topped the U.S. dance charts, headlined festivals, and dominated the party scene with their Masquerade Motel concept. Just as ABBA, Ace of Base, and meatballs had done before, the DJ supergroup sold to America the notion that the Swedish do it better.

"What we do best is the uplifting songs, and that's what people remember about us."

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But after eight short years and two compilation albums, the trio called it quits in 2013.

It seemed as if everyone would go their separate ways until a year later, when Axwell and Ingrosso surprised dance music fans everywhere with the announcement that they would reunite as a duo.

"I think in the beginning when we started to work, like ten years ago, we knew different things," Axwell says over the phone from Ibiza, where he and Ingrosso are doing a summer residency at Ushuaïa, a megaclub/hotel on the party island. "I had certain things on the technique of music-making that I knew, and for me, Sebastian added a bit of the fucked-up-ness to the music which I didn't have. If you listen to our first song that we made together, back in 2004 — it was called 'Together' — you can really see how it contains two personalities."

"Together" was the electro-house cut that sparked this decadelong collaboration, and the track is a far cry from the Axwell and Ingrosso bangers fans seem to enjoy today, ones brimming with pomp and circumstance.

"There's a huge upside to collaborating," Axwell says, "because when you do a track by yourself, you get used to the song that you're making and you lose track sometimes — you cannot look at the song from the outside."

It's perhaps why dance music fans warmly welcomed back the two when they announced their return in 2014. Signed from the get-go to Def Jam, Axwell and Ingrosso have already become mainstays on Billboard's dance charts, with the song "On My Way" — which premiered just in time for this year's Ultra Music Festival — climbing the highest, to number four.

Axwell also says he and Ingrosso want to right a wrong from their Swedish House Mafia days and finally release an album of all original music.

"That's why we created this, because that's something we felt lacked. With Swedish House Mafia, we had our individual stuff — it never came that we had our own album. Sometimes when we played shows as Swedish House Mafia, we felt like we didn't have enough music, and that's something we really wanted to have because it feels so great to play mainly your own songs. Now at shows, for example, Tomorrowland last weekend, more than 80 percent was our own music output because we really want people to get to know us and what we do."

However, something Axwell and Ingrosso have held onto from their Swedish House Mafia days is the celebratory and uplifting sound that's tailor-made for drop-hungry festival crowds. Axwell insists that it's not something they do intentionally and that listeners can expect moodier music on the upcoming album.

"There's this song we are working on called 'Barricade.' It's a pretty dark and heavy song, but I guess it's not really depressing. But what we do best is maybe the uplifting songs, and that's what people remember about us. We also love being uplifted by music. I think that's the main reason why we listen to music — to get happy."

If you're one of the many loyal fans patiently waiting to hear "Barricade," Axwell insists you won't have to wait too long, saying the album will definitely be released sometime later this year. The album will also surely prove how well the dynamic between Axwell and Ingrosso works. Even the cryptic lambda symbol in their stylized name, Axwell ? Ingrosso, brings the two producers together.

"It represents togetherness," Axwell says. "When we play together and we hold our hands up, that makes that symbol between us."

Axwell and Ingrosso with Kygo and the Chainsmokers. From 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, August 7, at Y100's Mackapoolooza at the Fontainebleau, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-­674-­4680; Tickets $50 to $60 plus fees via Ages 16 and over.

Axwell and Ingrosso. 11 p.m. Friday, August 7, at LIV, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305­674­4680; Tickets cost $75 plus fees at Ages 21 and over.