Three’s a crowd

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Three’s a crowd

After Swedish House Mafia gave Dubai fans a show that was both epic and bittersweet, City Times satdown with the boys to discuss their final tour together as a trio

By Mohamad Kadry

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Published: Sun 18 Nov 2012, 9:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:11 PM

It was like the break-up of The Beatles - at least in the eyes of diehard electronic music fans.

When supergroup Swedish House Mafia announced this past summer that they would no longer be performing together, fans and music critics alike were left in a state of shock. There seemed to be only one question on everyone’s mind: how could three of the world’s most successful DJs walk away from a union at the very height of its popularity?

For Sebastian Ingrosso, Axwell and Steve Angello, the answer was simple: it was just time to move on.

With the announcement of their final tour – appropriately named One Last Tour - the Swedish trio have attempted to console fans with the promise of goliath performances the likes of which they’ve never seen from the dream team.

In the world of dance music that’s one hell of a pledge, but if Dubai’s opening concert last Friday was a harbinger of things to come, the boys will undoubtedly leave a trail of broken hearts in stadiums and arenas across the globe.

For the thousands of music lovers who packed into the World Trade Centre over the weekend to bid farewell to the trio, it was a concert that was both unprecedented in scale and unparalleled in frenzy. As if one single pulse flowed through the masses, Dubai, for one night at least, came together in a manner that looked as uninhibited and unpretentious than it ever had before. It was, to say the least, a refreshing sight that will likely be the exception to future concerts hosted here, rather than the norm.

City Times caught up with the superstar act backstage to talk about the anguish that went into their decision to disband but also to explain the unapologetic excitement they share in looking forward to the unknown.

Your Dubai concert marks the beginning of the end of Swedish House Mafia as you embark on your final tour. What does it feel like?

We are super excited – we’re excited for the tour and we’re excited to finally end with this tour. We’re all looking forward to everything that will come afterwards. We don’t really think of it as an end because we’re so focused on trying to give fans things now that we have never done before.

You broke a lot of fans hearts with the announcement of your pending break-up.

But I think we made up for it by coming and seeing them one last time. If we had not said we were going to end Swedish House Mafia, then we could not have gone on to do this tour.

Is this tour especially draining given that it is a final farewell to each city you visit?

We are just working off the energy of the music; it’s not something we have to think about – it just happens.

Talk to us about the emotion you’re all feeling on this final tour.

A lot of different emotions. The truth is that we’re constantly in high gear with so many things going on, and we don’t get much time to reflect. Sometimes we have to step back and take a moment to look at what we’re actually doing

When you announced the break-up on your web site this past summer, were you afraid or relieved?

It was a weird day. We asked ourselves: what are we doing? Is this the right thing to do? I don’t think you realise what you’re giving up until you reach that day when it’s actually done. We did not realise the impact the announcement would really have or that it would be as big as it was, but we knew it was going to be upsetting to a lot of people. When we actually posted it on our website, we were all sitting together – and as soon as it was posted, all hell broke loose. It was scary and sad but it was also exciting to us that so many people cared about what we were doing. The dark thing about it all was that people got really sad, and you never want to make your friends and fans sad.

Did you ever idolise any musicians the way your fans idolise the three of you?

We’re fans of our own fans. We have so much amazing fans out there that we respect a lot. But I guess we all probably had something similar to that with Michael Jackson. We remember how it was to be a big fan.

You’ve found so much mainstream success with your music. Was losing that underground flavour a major reason behind the decision to disband the group?

We don’t think so. If you look at the Swedish House Mafia history of music, its not that we’re trying to make pop record after pop record - all of our music sounds different. So it’s not that the music became mainstream – we just happened to have been successful with it. I would say our music has actually become less commercial but it’s the mainstream that has been turned on to it. In a way, we have reached a place beyond our wildest dreams so we don’t want to end up repeating ourselves. Everything we do musically is different than the last. The biggest change we could do right now is to stop – that’s a challenge for ourselves.

What kind of legacy do you hope to leave behind?

We would love to leave behind any legacy, because in today’s world, it’s really hard to do that with everything moving so fast.

Can Swedish House Mafia fans dream of a reunion somewhere down the line?

There’s always hope. We always have hope.

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