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Steve Angello: ‘I Believe Dance Music Will Change For the Better’

The iconic Swedish-Greek producer laments the ‘copy-paste’ trend in EDM, talks about his new autobiographical album ‘Wild Youth’ and his open approach while making music

Riddhi Chakraborty May 30, 2016
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Steve Angello made his India debut as a solo artist. Photo by Bryan Daniel

Steve Angello made his India debut as a solo artist. Photo by Bryan Daniel

With over 20 years of experience in music industry, Swedish-Greek producer Steve Angello knows success does not come easy. “Have the guts to choose your own destiny and take the tough lane towards it,” he says, firm in the belief that negative criticism and failure are the best teachers.

It is this belief that led to the conception of his solo debut album Wild Youth, an autobiographical outline of a difficult childhood. The album outlines Angello’s journey from the time he began making music to now. The prog-dubstep track “Rebel Nation” represents his childhood struggles while “Remember” is a goodbye of sorts to his time as one-third of Swedish House Mafia with Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso.

Although the legacy of Swedish House Mafia might seem like a huge weight to carry, Angello hasn’t shied away from pushing the boundaries experimenting with varied styles as a producer. Now recently returning to India as a solo artist for the first time – as the headliner of international EDM festival Don’t Let Daddy Know’s debut in the country – Angello is more determined than ever to keep growing as an artist.

In this interview with ROLLING STONE India Angello talks about the stagnation of the current EDM scene and how generation next can fix it.

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You’ve said you don’t see ‘Wild Youth’ as a strictly EDM album and we can hear several different styles on it. Are there any genres in particular from the album [or otherwise] that you want to explore further?

I have a really open approach while making music. I can collaborate with artists and songwriters of any genre if the idea hits me at the right time and convinces me that it will work. Music is a universal language that everyone understands and I would do anything and everything in my power to communicate with my audiences and if that means I have to branch out – I shall. Plus, it’s so much fun. Adding a new dimension to your music is what, according to me, creates groundbreaking stuff.

A lot of fans have said across social media that Wild Youth has made them remember their own youth, given them strength and encouragement. How does it feel to get feedback like that?

It feels really great and I want to say a heartfelt thank you to each and everyone who has praised my album. Words can’t describe what I am feeling. God has been extremely kind and so have been the fans. I wanted to speak the truth, take off all my armor and open my heart, and that’s what the album is. It’s me, it’s my art, it’s my life. I received a lot of appreciation for doing what I did with Wild Youth and that has strengthened my belief that there’s still hope and dance music will change for the better. The fans will support story tellers and dance music will be taken seriously.

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What do you like most about the current electronic music scene, and how would you like to see it evolve?

There’s not much to like though, is it? The entire ”˜copy-paste’ style which is so rampant in today’s scenario is losing its grip, and the fans and consumers are getting smarter and more educated. The future of the dance music will be defined by the originality of the artists. I really hope the new generation of musicians understand this and follow a creative, original narrative while making music. That shall salvage the situation. If they want their music to be remembered years down the line they should follow their heart and tell stories, not aim for chart successes which everyone knows is short-lived.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who is beginning their career in music?

Don’t be afraid. Tell stories. Negative criticism and failures are the best teachers so don’t play safe. Be brave enough to find your own path. Have the guts to choose your own destiny and take the tough lane towards it. Nothing comes easy.

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