Six things you didn’t know about…Swedish House Mafia

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If you haven’t heard by now, the electronic dance powerhouse trio are breaking up after their world tour. Benita Lee reveals a few unknown quirks about the Scandinavian troika

First published on 27 Dec 2012. Updated on 9 Jan 2013.

Swedish House Mafia is probably the biggest musical export out of Scandinavia after Abba. Officially formed in 2008, the supergroup consists of three talented electro-house DJ/producers: Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell, who together have created ecstasy-inducing tracks such as ‘One’, ‘Miami 2 Ibiza’ and ‘Save the World’, which have become staples in raving parties all over the globe.

Last June, the electronic dance wizards shocked fans by announcing that their 2012 tour would be their last as a group, saying ‘We came, we raved, we loved.’ Massive demand has since led to a growing official farewell tour (with dates quickly selling out around the world), entitled ‘One Last Tour’, which kicked off in Dubai in November and sees them travelling from Europe to South-East Asia and Australia in January before a final appearance at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami Beach Florida in March.

To complement the tour, the trio released their second album Until Now (released in October 2012, exactly two years after the release of their debut Until One), featuring a number of explosive singles and remixes, including ‘Don’t You Worry Child’, which has skyrocketed to the top of worldwide dance charts and secured a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording (to be held on 10 Feb).

Ahead of their Singapore stop, here’s the lowdown on their split and other things you may or may not know about the Swedish collective.

They never actually expected to form Swedish House Mafia.
As childhood friends in Stockholm, Angello and Ingrosso grew up together and only met Axwell in 2002, when he moved there and randomly bumped into Ingrosso on a night out in town. All three were successful in their solo careers, with Angello and Ingrosso mixing compilations for Plumphouse, the record label by Ingrosso’s dad, and Axwell working with house label Sulphuric. But they made a connection and began to produce music together, along with electro-house producer and fellow Swede Eric Prydz, who eventually parted with the group due to his ‘control freak’ tendencies and fear of flying. So where did the name come from? It popped up randomly during an interview, apparently. People started using the moniker in online forums and it took off from there.

They’re topping the charts… everywhere.
‘Don’t You Worry Child ’ – the trio’s swan song – features Swedish singer-songwriter John Martin on vocals and is their first track to hit number one on the UK Singles Charts (staying for two weeks), leaving tunes like ‘Skyfall’ by Adele and even PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ in the dust. They’ve also landed a spot on Forbes’ Electronic Cash Kings list as the third highest-paid DJs in the world, coming in behind Tiesto and Skrillex in first and second place respectively, with their earnings of US$14 million over the past 12 months. Plus, Rolling Stone declared the group to be worthy of second place in their ‘25 DJs That Rule the Earth’ list in 2012, dubbing them the ‘Scandinavian supertrio.’

Their stint at New York’s Madison Square Garden marked the first time an electronic act has ever performed there – and sold out in nine minutes.

Early in their 2012 tour, the EDM juggernauts made a huge splash with their stop in New York City, bringing down the full-capacity house by pulling out all the stops for their performance, which included a mind-blowing laser show, loads of confetti, stunning pyrotechnics, state-of-the-art LED panels and even a live streaming of the entire 28-track set on YouTube for free. They’ll be back in NYC for five nights as part of ‘One Last Tour’ at the end of February – notably, one of the performances will be a black-tie charity rave at the Hammerstein Ballroom, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Their first time performing on home turf was also their last.
It may come as a surprise to most, but before this tour, Swedish House Mafia never actually played at a gig in Sweden… ever. They’ve talked about doing a big show at home, but things never worked out until November 2012, when the group played an electrifying yet emotional sold-out set to euphoric crowds over two days at the Friends Arena in Stockholm. Not only that, but their current world tour is the first full global trek they’ve embarked on, which came about because they wanted to bid goodbye to their fans in person. In their own words, ‘we want to thank every single one of you that came with us on this journey.’

They’re all about letting fans into their lives.
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, blogs… you name it, they’ve got it. And they update all their social media accounts regularly, too. One of the reasons for the group’s supersonic ascension to EDM royalty is their down-to-earth approach in building rapport with fans, which involves blogging their every move and video recording their behind-the-scenes life, as seen in their 2010 documentary Take One. Even with the announcement of their split, they started a global movement where images of three dots (representing the trio) popped up in cities everywhere as a symbol of their final tour venues. They also frequently scour the web for innovative snapshots of three dots in different forms (think cupcakes, lego pieces, nail polish, and pepperoni pizza) to feature on their online ‘Dot Spots’ campaign. Plus, if you want a keepsake from the group, they’ve collaborated with jewellery designer Efva Attling to come up with a limited edition bracelet (available online) in commemoration of their final tour.

Going their separate ways was a natural move.
When the group announced that they were calling it quits in June, everyone from diehard fans to fellow DJs felt the blow, with tweets from the likes of David Guetta, Hardwell and Avicii spamming the cyber universe, unveiling their shock and offering support. But according to the group, the decision felt right, as they wanted to end their journey on a high note and go out with a bang. There hasn’t been a falling out among the trio, who claim they’ve taken things to the limit as a group and are now looking at shaking things up by focussing on their solo careers. Of course, that’s not to say there won’t be a reunion at some point, which they’ve hinted is entirely possible in the future. Never say never, right?

Swedish House Mafia plays at the Indoor Stadium on 17 Jan.

By Benita Lee
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