Axwell: Bringing the House Down
The Swedish super star on his jet-setting DJ life, love for India, and why he is “incredibly lucky” that people still listen to his music
The last DJ standing in any EDM arena is most likely someone who can multitask like a pro. If globe-trotting tours and bestselling singles made perfect symbols of success a decade ago, today, they’re only a part of an artist’s POA. Headline-grabbing peer collabs, brand associations, social media clout, not to mention viral goals are just a few of the new-age mandates. It’s safe to say that Axel Christofer Hedfors aka DJ/producer Axwell has able to check all of these boxes rather remarkably in his decade-long career.
One-half of house duo Axwell/Ingrosso and founding member of the now-defunct Swedish House Mafia, Axwell’s exponential rise in the global electronic music scene is the kind of stuff DJ dreams are made of, and he couldn’t be more grateful for it. “I’m incredibly lucky that people still like to listen to my music and come to my shows. The reaction to my new single with Sebastian Ingrosso was fantastic and it’s great that it was born in India,” he says, referring to “I Love You,” their newest collaboration with American hip-hop artist Kid Ink. Axwell/Ingrosso premiered the track at Sunburn festival in Pune last December—a tiny token of love to a country where they’ve had some big moments in the past. He says, “I was fortunate to play at the very first Sunburn festival and in December I returned for their 10th anniversary.”
Soon after his Sunburn set, Axwell was back in India earlier last month to launch Maruti’s newest hatchback, Ignis, the campaign for which borrowed their 2015 single “Something New.” While here, he also met with Bollywood composer trio Shankar-Ehsan-Loy in Mumbai for what is being touted as potential partnership. Axwell says, “I was fortunate on this trip to spend some time with them. We hung out at their studio in Bandra, vibed together, listened to some music and discussed some ideas.”
The project was facilitated by Bottomline Media, the entertainment consulting house which has tied up with U.K.’s Virgin EMI Records for artist collaborations and brand partnerships. The firm was also responsible for the team-up between British boyband The Vamps and film composers Vishal-Shekhar last year, leading to the popular single “Beliya.” Tanaaz Bhatia, Managing Director, Bottomline Media, says the combining of forces with Virgin EMI is only the start to an eventful year ahead. “As a company, we have always believed in creating new trends. Axwell has been amazing to work with and we are excited about the news to follow. Given his lineage and body of work with his revolutionary success as a member of Swedish House Mafia, we are all set to introduce him to our own industry, which is always looking for fresh sounds.”
Having worked with Ingrosso for the larger part of his career, ask Axwell how their music relationship evolved over the years, and how challenging is it to arrive at a musical consensus while working on a song, and he says, “I would say we have a greater understanding of each other and what makes us tick. Like any partnerships there are twists and turns. I think Sebastian brings a different vibe to our songs and I think that’s important. We normally agree on most things which is a big positive!” Also, is he able to take time out for his solo projects, considering the duo have a jet-setting tour life? Axwell says, “Right now, I am focusing on music with Sebastian, but from time to time, we release our own songs and play shows on our own. It depends on our schedules but right now the focus is on Axwell/Ingrosso.”
Listen to a preview of “I Love You”, Axwell/Ingrosso’s collaborative track with Kid Ink, below: