Nov 06, 2014

Following the success of their single “Runaway (U&I)” and stellar performances at HARD Day of the Dead and Coachella, Swedish superduo Galantis are arguably the greatest breakout act of 2014. In an exclusive interview, they share details about their backgrounds as individual artists, musical influences, and the status of their debut album.

Galantis - Runaway (U & I) [Big Beat]
LessThan3: : For readers who aren’t aware of each of your individual backgrounds, please give us a little bit of insight as to what you were doing prior to forming Galantis. How did you come together?
Linus: : I started as Style Of Eye, had my first release back in 2003, and did a lot of house music releases. Toured as a DJ for a long time, then I got invited to remix Animal for Miike Snow.
Christian: : I have a background as a writer and producer for many years, together with my friend Pontus Winnberg. We started Miike Snow together in 2008, and that’s where actually me and Linus started to hook up. I was a big fan of Style of Eye and I wanted a remix of Animal, and he was the first one to remix it.

Miike Snow had been very, very busy; we did like 400 shows and 2 albums–there wasn’t a breather to do anything else. Being on the road for that long, I was kind of starving for a studio. Galantis was born when I came home to Sweden and me and Linus got in the studio together. I feel like everything in our career and lives has led up to this, so now it’s full force, doing Galantis all day, every day.

LessThan3: : How does your experience in producing for major pop acts like Britney and Madonna play into the sound that has defined Galantis?
Linus: : When you write or produce something for someone else, you have to sort of look at it from the perspective of their eyes and what they’re trying to achieve. For us, now, it’s more like syncing what sound we like.
Christian: : Writing songs, being in the studio 24/7–it gives you tools and options, but I don’t think it would influence anything that we do now. Doing music for other people and doing music for yourself–there’s absolutely nothing that compares those two. It puts a completely different pressure on you if you’re doing a song for yourself; it sticks for the rest of your life. You really have to believe in the music when you put your own name on it.

I feel like there’s parts of me and Linus combined in Galantis, and you can’t combine anything and always expect it to sound good. Smile was the first time we were like, “Okay, that sh*t worked.” I think that was the birth of Galantis, really.

LessThan3: : Who are your musical heroes?
Christian: : For me, Depeche Mode. That is the first record I bought as a kid, and they’re still my heroes. They’ve always been amazing.
Linus: I would say Stevie Wonder was one of my absolute gods. But really anything that took me on a journey–could be so many things.
LessThan3: : What are you guys listening to right now?
Christian: : Right now… [turns up music on his laptop]… Chilly Gonzales.
LessThan3: : What is story behind the seafox?
Christian: : We knew for a long time we wanted a symbol for us. We iterated on it for a long time, and slowly we came up with the seafox. We worked on it with a visual artist. It’s just an image that we love.
Linus: : I actually remember you [Christian] went past a store with a picture of a fox. I think that’s where the first inspiration happened.
LessThan3: : Tell us more about the making of your EP.
Christian: : I have a house out in Archipelago in Stockholm, and we kind of built a “Galantis” studio there. The island is tiny; it’s like 20 houses. You have to go there by boat, and when you’re there, it feels like you’re on the other side of the planet. It’s pitch-black and you have to use a flashlight to see where you’re going; there’s no road or anything. The music sounds different depending on where in the world you are. It definitely influenced our music to be there.
LessThan3: : Any personal life experiences you’d like to share that influenced the lyrics of a particular track on the EP?
Christian: : It’s very hard to come up with lyrics out of thin air–it always comes from something. It’s also a mixture of whoever we wrote it with, and there’s always a story. We just don’t like to sell the story, because as soon as you put it out and people hear it, it has a personal meaning for them. I want it to be up for interpretation.
Linus: : That’s a very important part of it for us.
LessThan3: : Tell us how Coachella became your live show debut. Did you expect that kind of reaction? [listen to the live set here.]
Christian: : We did not know what to expect because we released the EP like 10 days before the show; we only had Smile out before that. We were really nervous about that gig; Coachella to us is like the festival of all festivals.
Linus: : We didn’t really look out into the crowd before we went out, so when we came on stage and played the intro to Smile, it really gave us the feels.
LessThan3: : Favorite song to perform live?
Christian: : Right now it’s Runaway.
Linus: : Yeah, Kaskade remixed it and we announced for the first time yesterday that Dillon Francis is doing one too.
LessThan3: : What do you do in your leisurely time to relax?
Linus: : We make music in the studio.
Christian: : Yeah, we don’t have free time, but being in the studio doesn’t feel like work.
LessThan3: : How’s the tour been so far? Any significant differences in crowd reaction between various cities?
Christian: : It’s been amazing. And it’s so early with Galantis. Usually playing the big cities like New York and L.A. is where you really hope it will catch on, but we’ve played all over, and it’s been great reactions everywhere. Unbelievable to us.
LessThan3: : What’s in the works post-tour?
Christian: : Album, album, album. We wrote most of it, and we’re still writing a little bit. We’re going to be in Sweden the rest of this month to finish it up. We just shot two pretty cool videos. And there are remixes coming out too.
LessThan3: : Any projected release date for it?
Linus: : Definitely next year.
LessThan3: : If the world was ending in LessThan3 minutes and you had an iPod with every song ever made on it, what would you listen to?
Linus: : Waves by Chilly Gonzales.
Christian: : I’d probably play something by Prince.
Linus: Yeah, party like it’s 1999.
Airplay enabled