It seems everywhere you turn these days, Icona Pop’s infectious brand of high-energy, emotion riddled electro-pop can be found. From soda commercials, to an episode of Girls, their music sets the scene. The duo is made up of members Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, both from Sweden. The ladies sat down with mxdwn during their hectic time at SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas to discuss best friends, touring around the world, not making mistakes in the studio, the new album, and a killer sense of fashion.
How did you ladies come together, and start making music together?
Aino – We just had our four year friendship anniversary in February. We are going to go on a very romantic friend date. When we met, I had just had my first heartache and was really down. We have a mutual friend that used to call me everyday , and tell me to get out of bed and get out of my house. She forced me to get out of bed and go to a party, and that’s where I met Caroline. It was like, where have you been my whole life? It was amazing. I just moved in with Caroline, and when you are so sad, that’s when you realize who your true friends are.
Caroline – I think it’s such luck to find someone in your life that’s not just your future husband or something. Someone that you share something very special with. That’s a luxury, not everyone will find the friend that I have found.
You just ended a tour with Passion Pit and Matt & Kim, how was that?
Aino – Really amazing. It’s been lovely to travel around America and see some of the smaller places. I think it’s important because it’s not just about LA and New York, and the fans have really been amazing.
Caroline – This year has just been crazy. We’ve been traveling all over, and doing shows all over. It’s been the best year of my life so far.
What are you currently listening to?
Aino – I’ve been listening to K.I.D.S, love them. Also, Alt-J who I just saw here at SXSW, and then we always have the fun punk and pop stuff from the nineties that we are always listening to.
How’s your time been so far at SXSW?
Caroline – It’s been chaos, but in a good way. There’s so much going on with so many bands. It’s something special; I like festivals like this where you mix very different bands together and bands that are a little bit bigger with upcoming bands. Everyone plays together under the same circumstances. You just see as many bands as possible, and get as much inspiration as you can.
Aino – I’ve been losing my voice. We get so excited when we get on stage that we just start screaming, and turn into rock stars. We are rock stars wrapped in a pop body.
How is the energy and atmosphere at your live shows?
Aino – We have the best fans, they are really supporting us. It really feels like the crowd is feeling what we are going through on stage.
Caroline – It’s so important to interact with the audience; they are also part of the show. For us, the live show element has always been very, very important. We love being in the studio, but when you are on stage it’s pure energy. You play the same setlist every show, but it’s never the same show. It’s always a collaboration with the audience. The audience, us, the lights, the sound. It’s always different.
You have a lot of duality in your music. The music itself is fun, pop styled melodies, while the lyrics are deeper, and a bit more melancholy. How do you find a balance between how the song is supposed to feel, and what it’s trying to say? What’s your creative process in the studio?
Aino – We don’t think that much when we go into the studio. Our rule is to not have any rules. We do like to disguise heartache in happier uplifting elements so the feeling doesn’t become so depressing. On our upcoming full-length album we do have some songs that are really dark that we aren’t trying to hide. We love bittersweet music. Our favorite songs are that way.
Caroline – We give each other a lot of energy when we go into the studio together. There’s no bad mistakes.
Aino – Yeah, usually the mistakes are the ones that end up being the best songs. We also like to do unpredictable things like yesterday we recorded audio from our live audience while on stage for our new single, and we always want to try new things to keep everything exciting.
You ladies have amazing fashion sense and style! It’s beautiful. If, say, Vogue magazine stopped you on the street and asked you to describe your style, what would you say?
Aino – Thank you, we both love to mix feminine and masculine elements. We also love contrast, like Doc Martins mixed with sheer fabrics.
Caroline – Punk meets preppy, that’s the best. It matches our music.