Swedish House Mafia's Axwell Talks Topping the Charts and 24 Hours in the Life of an Ibiza DJ

Miami's big-room house heads have been raving for months about Swedish House Mafia's upcoming Halloween Masquerade Motel ball at the Scope Art Fair tent tonight.

Earlier this week, we caught up with the dynamic trio's Sebastian Ingrosso for an, er, engrossing interview. (And a second part.) But we couldn't pass up an opportunity to also chat with fellow mafioso Axwell. You may be surprised to learn what Axwell really thinks about the David Guetta school of commercial pop-house and the amount of hierbas shots it takes to keep a working Ibiza DJ on his feet for 24 hours.

New Times: What does it take to continuously top the international dance music charts? Is it strictly the music, or is there more to the formula?

Axwell: It's definitely mostly about the music, but also a little bit of luck with the timing. If you have a track that comes at the right moment in time, when it sounds different to anything else, but still doesn't alienate people too much, you have a bigger chance!

Do you think making it in the EDM game depends on who you know? How has having Swedish House Mafia membership impacted your personal success?

Not really. If you make good enough music, everyone will want to know you. Our solo success happened before the Swedish House Mafia, so it's rather the other way around -- that Swedish House Mafia became big because it consist of three artists with fairly big names to start with. And now, of course, it's all a nice synergy. It's amazing to have the support of the Swedish House Mafia whenever I release something on my label and vice-versa.

Are you content playing to big-room audiences only? Doesn't it get a bit impersonal? Have you had a chance to play in smaller more intimate venues lately?

I love playing big venues, it gets more crazy like that. When you get more people to go wild at the same time, the consequences will be bigger! It was a long time ago since I did a smaller venue, but it will probably happen soon. It's always nice to change shit up a bit!

Thanks to artists like David Guetta, commercial house music seems to be getting swallowed alive by pop in the new decade. Are you willing to go along for that ride, or do you think it's important to keep some grasp on the original form?

I mean, I'm happy that house is being recognized by a bigger audience. But I feel that it's super important to keep your integrity and not compromise your sound, otherwise it might get rinsed out and become shallow music.

Please describe 24 hours as a resident of Pacha Ibiza.

Land the night before, at around 11 p.m. Go out for dinner and a few drinks; say that we will only go out "a little bit", so we go out to a club -- Pacha or something. Start with a few drinks there, get into hierbas, get hammered, stay up till 6 a.m., pass out. Wake up at around 3 p.m., eat, check in with the crew, make sure everything is perfect for tonight. 8 p.m., go to Cafe Mambo to play pre-party during sunset there. Drink too many hierbas shots again. 11 p.m. -- back to hotel for room service dinner and some sleep. 3 p.m - wake up, go to club. 4 p.m. -- start playing at Pacha. 7 p.m. -- stop playing at Pacha. 8 p.m. -- breakfast at hotel. 9 p.m. pass out. That was more than 24 hours, actually, but...

What have been some of the highlights of 2010 so far?

All 2010 has been one big highlight, I reckon. But to name a few: Electric Daisy in L.A., the Masquerade Motel season in Ibiza, having our two Swedish House Mafia singles both being top 10 in the UK and top 10 in a lot of other countries, and Electric Zoo in New York!

What can Miami expect during Swedish House Mafia's Halloween party?

Full-on energy, a lot of sweat, and great music!

Swedish House Mafia with Brazilian Girls, AN21, Cedric Gervais, Patrick M, TKO, and Riotgear. Saturday, October 30. Scope Art Fair, 3055 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 3 p.m. and tickets cost $75 to $3424 via Ages 21 and up. Call 305-321-3050 or visit

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Sean Levisman