One third of the world-renowned Swedish House Mafia drops in with LessThan3 to talk about KNAS, the pros and cons of dance music in the hands of pop labels, and what he thinks is the “next big thing” in EDM.
Steve Angello - Tivoli (Original Mix) [Size]
LessThan3: Do you think that there is a need for a content filter for dance music on the web?
Steve: I think the internet is a great way to promote new artists, acts, bands, DJs, or any type of product. But I do think there has to be a certain quality control on the online music stores. There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s unmastered, unmixed and so on. I think there should be some kind of control but I’m not sure who’s up for doing it. When I used to release records in 2000-2004 the people at the distribution level quality-checked everything since they didn’t want to put money on something they considered as crap, and to be honest that helped me a lot because I learned how to mix, produce, and master my own releases and label signings. It takes practice to become a master chef, so why would we be happy with the valet guy cooking us food?
LessThan3: Your track KNAS has garnered a lot of praise from dance fans across a wide variety of genres, and is definitely one of the biggest hits of the year. Why do you think it has such universal appeal? What was your inspiration behind the track?
Steve: KNAS was a three minute loop tool I had for my gigs last winter and at the beginning of this year. I forgot about it until April when I found it again and developed it a little with a breakdown, intro, and phatter production. It’s a very simple track, but that’s the way I like things nowadays. Less is more and I think this one proved it.
LessThan3: What are the pros and cons of performing as a solo act and in a group?
Steve: As a solo act you can develop your own skills and ideas, not only in performing but also image, sound, style, themes, etc. As a group its more fun since you have less to do Nooooo… but as a group its easy to become the “drummer” of the band instead of having your own identity, so I think it’s really really important to find your way and try to succeed and have a solo career as a DJ before you push the tribe.
LessThan3: Do you or any of SHM have any tracks with US pop artists in the works?
Steve: I have done a lot of that in the past year but as a “ghost” producer/songwriter. At the end of the day we are producers and producers like to produce, so if anything comes around that needs a little “producing” we’re on for the challenge. There are a lot of huge artists in the works now so keep an eye opened.
LessThan3: What producer do you think is the “next big thing” in house music?
Steve: You never know. There are so many talented producers out there that I get to hear develop over months or years. It’s hard to say really, but my next bet would be dubstep producers getting into dance and taking over the whole pop scene too. Their sound is amazing.
LessThan3: What do you think the US major labels have to offer established acts such as yourself?
Steve: It depends on what you’re looking for. I’m pretty used to majors since I’ve been doing this for a while now, so all I can say is that artists such as myself need to push the majors and tell them what you need instead of them trying their ways, because their “usual” way of running stuff is not for dance producers or artists.
LessThan3: Do you have any pre- or post-set rituals?
Steve: Not really. I know it sounds boring but I do this so often that I probably have one without knowing it.
LessThan3: How does technology affect how much preparation for sets you do? How much you feel you can improvise live given your tools?
Steve: Technology is at a place now that allows people like us do exactly what we want, so the more creative you are the better time you’ll have doing what you love. I don’t usually prepare my sets except for putting five or six hours of music on an SD card. The rest is only feeling.
LessThan3: The track from your record label SIZE Records, Where You Are, hit #1 on Beatport. What role did you play in the creative development or promotion of this track?
Steve: I have a certain way of hyping records, so I have my tools and my ways of doing that. It’s been holding the #1 spot on Beatport for nine out of sixteen weeks this summer and I feel really grateful for that. At the end of the day it’s about the music. You can’t convince millions of people to dance to something they don’t like.