Melody and songwriting seems to be where your passion lies. Can you tell me a little bit more about how melodies inspire you and why? And what do you consider to be a great melody?
These are two hard questions. I think melodies can describe feelings in a way that is super unique. I find my inspiration in everything from old ’60s tracks to video games. I think I consider a good melody something that is catchy and energetic, but it's all very subjective. Usually, a good melody crosses over genres, and is considered good by a lot of different tastes in music.
Who are some other electronic artists that you would say are really getting the melody right? Are there any artists or songs that come to mind?
Eric Prydz, always. Amongst my colleagues, Prydz stands as my melodic inspiration. On tracks like “Pjanoo,” the topline build-up and energy it instills in you is like no other. Axwell is another prime example of a great melodist.
You said in an interview with Magnetic Magazine that you “like to take certain scales and rhythms not usually used in house music and try to adapt them to fit into EDM.” Can you talk a little more about that?
Sure. I guess it goes back to taking inspiration from anywhere. There’s a song called “Perpetuum Mobile” by Penguin Café Orchestra, which is string-led alongside a simple piano sequence. It builds and descends. I saw something in that song that I knew I could adapt to a dance context, so I did. This is how my track “Penguin” (and later the vocal version “Fade Into Darkness”) was born.
You mentioned in an interview with the LA Times that you want to incorporate blues, soul, and Motown. Do you see anything in common between these genres and electronic dance music.
Not necessarily in common, but elements you can draw from those genres, rather. The vocal lines, for example, are filled with so much passion that you can still feel it today, even though they were composed many years ago. Lyrics should have passion and meaning in EDM, not just an addition to a good melody and a strong beat. That’s why I am looking to incorporate those genres in my music.
Are there any artists that jump out as having influenced you a lot from those genres?
Etta James. I always wanted to use her voice in one of my tracks so when the vocal track from “Something’s Got a Hold On Me” synced perfectly with the “Levels” melody, I was super happy. The success of the track in the year of her sad passing makes it that much more meaningful as well. She was and will always be a soul legend.
What effect do you want your music to have on people? Do you want it to have an emotional effect?
Most definitely, from feedback I know that a lot of my melodies or vocals have an affecting element. Of course I want my fans to be happy and enjoy the music, but knowing that the music you create has an emotional effect on people is really humbling and motivating.
Are there certain parts of the country or world where you’ve seen the most excitement about dance music?
It's really all over the world. It's funny how I can discover fans in places I've never been, which just confirms how music is always free of boundaries. Wherever I have a show full of fans, the excitement and energy is at top level.
How does the scene in Sweden compare to the scene in the United States?
Well, the Swedish night club scene is not as diversified as in the States. You have many more prime and dedicated house clubs in the U.S. I wish Sweden had the same plethora of clubs, but it's too small of a population in comparison to have that. Nonetheless, and needless to say, Sweden has house fever at the moment.
From your reviews, it seems like you had a pretty good reception on the West Coast. How did you feel about your shows there?
Playing to the West Coast crowd is a unique experience. They’re really educated in electronic music! They go totally wild, and getting a good response from them means a lot to me — I play my best sets when I have a connection with the crowd.
CounterPoint Music Fest. Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 27-29. $59-$185. Bouckaert Park. www.counterpointfestival.com.
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