Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Interview with: ICONA POP

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the Swedish pop duo Icona Pop when they were in town for their first show on tour opening for Marina and the Diamonds at The Kool Haus. Made up of Aino Jawa and Caroline Hjelt, Icona Pop has been making music that never fails to get people up and dancing. You've probably heard of their hit song "I Love It" - and if you haven't yet, here it is (it's such a great party're welcome):

It also features Charli XCX, who I interviewed this past summer at Osheaga - check it out HERE.

They are probably a couple of the coolest girls I've met so far - maybe it's their Swedish roots or their amazing fashion sense - whatever it is, I walked out of that interview feeling like I had gained an ounce of awesomeness just by talking to them. They are super sweet and humble, which made it even easier to chat with them.

The interview was for an article for Faze Magazine (will be published in the spring issue), but until then, here's a bit of our Q&A:

How are you feeling about kicking off the tour with Marina and the Diamonds?

Aino: It feels great. This is our first proper tour that we’re going to do. We’ve just been traveling around otherwise to do gigs around Europe and America, but this is going to be a proper tour. We are very very excited.

Caroline: It feels so good to be with Marina as well. We met her for the first time in the UK and she’s great. So I think this tour will be dangerous.

A: Girl power!

What do you want people to walk away with after seeing you perform?

C: I want people to walk away dancing to feel stuff. We want to make music that makes people feel and when we’re on stage we want people to feel exactly how we feel when we perform that song or when we wrote that song. Or maybe they relate to another feeling in their body, but still we want them to feel stuff, not just walk away and be like, hmm what are we going to do tonight. I want them to be like AHH.

A: Definitely. I hope people walk away with a big smile and feel touched in some way. That’s what we aim for when we make pop music, to make people feel touched.

Where do you find inspiration for songwriting?

A: We give each other a lot of inspiration. We travel every day, so we meet a lot of strange people, we meet fantastic people. And you see so many different cultures, so travelling, films and people.

C: I also think that with the lifestyle we have right now, we don’t have a home basically, we just travel everywhere. The last seven months we’ve just been travelling, we haven’t been home for more than two days, one time each month. You become very good at living in the now to be present and to take stuff in in a different way. You’re here today and you’re going to do a show and you’re going to meet people, so you’re very present, which makes you able to take everything in. So yeah travelling gives you a lot of inspiration, compared to sometimes when you’re home and have stuff to deal with, like always when you’re home. Even though it can be good things, it doesn’t matter, you still have stuff you need to do.

A: It steals a lot of power from you sometimes.

C: So it’s good to be homeless. The world is our home.

Coming from Sweden, how has that influenced you as musicians?

C: I think Sweden is a country that is very sensitive when it comes to picking up trends. It’s a small country. We come from Stockholm, which is a small city – a big small city. If you are trying to work in music and you give it a go, you will absolutely be given the chance to work with people that are good. Maybe the environment, you see a bit of the bittersweet, the cold dark winters, I don’t know.

A: Sweden is a special country. People are very much lagom, it’s a Swedish word, and that word doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. And that’s like, not too much but not too little. It’s more negative than perfect, but it’s not negative either, it’s a very strange word. It’s in the middle. Swedish people are a lot in the middle. So that can sometimes be a good thing and sometimes a bad thing, but as a musician you should never be in the middle. So maybe we were influenced by lagom.
What’s it like working with your best friend?

C: Too good to be true.

A: We have so much fun. People think that we’re freaks because no one understands us because we have our own world, where we’re making jokes and stuff.

Best advice you’ve been given?

C: Just to listen to yourself. People will always try to tell you what to do, and sometimes it’s good advice and you listen to them, of course. But you should always listen to what your body tells you to do. Your body tells you a lot of stuff, like it gives you signs, and if you don’t listen to what your body tells you then you will end up unhappy, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what you’re doing. You have to feel right about what you are doing, so I think you just have to be true to yourself.

Being a passionate and driven female duo, what message do you want to share to other girls?

A: There are a lot of men in the music business and we just want to be strong women in the music business. And never let people push you down.

C: Do your thing and have fun. Don’t be shy. And help each other, I think that’s an important message as well, like stand up for each other and let’s make magic!

For more Icona Pop, check them out at & on Facebook!

- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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