Interview with Alesso: ‘I’m still working on my sound, I’m still evolving as an artist’
While most 21-year-olds are thinking about finishing university, looking at moving back home or preparing to step on the first prong of their career ladder, Alessandro Lindblad is doing pretty much the opposite.
Better known as Swedish electro-house producer Alesso, the DJ has quickly climbed the ranks of the dance music scene, with tracks like “Years,” and “Clash” as well as his collaboration with Sebastian Ingrosso and Ryan Tedder, “Calling (Lose My Mind)” all making their way to the top of the Beatport chart.
Last year saw the youngster pair up with Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta and Usher, not to mention headline at Coachella, Tomorrowland and Electric Daisy Carnival. As he heads to the UK, following another crowd-pleasing set at Ultra Music Festival, we finally managed to catch up with this ever-rising star.
You’re still 21! This kind of DJ lifestyle must be quite a surreal experience for you.
I’m still pretty young, so everything that’s happening at the moment is still kind of shocking for me! I’m just starting to get used to this so-called ‘lifestyle’ that represents many first-time experiences for me, quite a lot of unexpected moments, I even feel sometimes like pinching myself to check ‘Is this real?’ It’s amazing to be offered the opportunity to do these wonderful things at my age. Luckily my dreams have been fulfilled very quickly, and I’m more than happy about that but beyond the excitement, sometimes you do need to sit down and take the time to realise what’s going on.
You played at the Ultra festival in Miami recently, how it was like for you this year?
It’s one of the biggest festival in the world, so it was a great honour for me to be asked to play at Main Stage – and right before Swedish House Mafia! There was a lot of attention and focus on this night, with many people there, but a lot of pressure as well! I was nervous, in a positive way though, and in the end that was one of the best shows I’ve ever done in my whole life. I was really, really happy about it, and very proud as well.
Those listening closely will have noticed you opened your set with a new, un-finished track.
I like to open with something that I’ve never played before, something people can really appreciate. Moreover, you can use that surprise effect to get their spontaneous reactions, to see how they welcome the upcoming record. Sometimes when you premiere a new tune, people find it hard to understand what it is and don’t react as well as they would do with a well-known hit. But this one is kind of an easy record to appreciate in a live show, and it worked really well for my opening. I don’t have the name yet, I need to finish it first, then I will be able to find a title that would fit the record and its story: ‘Working Progress’ maybe! (laughs).
You’ve just done two sell-out dates in Glasgow and Manchester, what attracts you to the UK?
I love playing in the UK. I haven’t been there much recently but it’s still really exciting for me. I don’t think I have to describe how much I love the kind of music I got to play in Glasgow and Manchester, I feel like they share that passion. That’s why it’s important for me to come here, do my shows, and party – I think we’re no different when it comes to the love for music.
Another cool thing is that they are really informed, musically. They are able to recognise the tracks you are playing even before the tunes are released, because they keep following your actuality on Youtube, etc. That’s a very strong audience and it’s always a delight to play for that kind of crowd.
Your remix of If I Lose Myself by One Republic is out now on Refune Records and has already racked-up nearly a million ‘listens’ on Soundcloud. Tell us a bit about the track.
I haven’t been this happy about a remix I’ve done since Pressure. I feel like I’ve got everything I want in this record, all what I could wish for musically. I do like the original and I wanted a kick that would preserve the ‘live’ feeling energy you get when you listen to it. I worked on it for like a month, going to the studio everyday, wondering what I was going to do, going backward, forward, trying different beats and drums and basslines, everything. I had an idea but didn’t really know how to make it sound the way I wanted. Then I thought, I’m not going to mess around for ages, I want to give it to them straight away. Sometimes people give just a preview, and you never know when it’s coming out. This time I wanted to hear their thoughts immediately because I felt so excited by the record. Production is a long, progressive work, and when you finally get where you want it’s a very satisfying feeling.
Do you think you have managed to mature your sound through this remix?
Yes, definitely. I feel like I’m still working on my sound, I’m still evolving as an artist. The remix has that Alesso identity: you can tell it’s me but with some updated elements. The melody is not bounded to fall with the first kick as we’re used to. You have some beats before and after. I think it has a more interesting sound to be honest. Some people may agree, some other probably won’t, but that’s what I’m happy about. You can hear that it is me but you can also hear that is has some kind of new fresh sound to it.
Do you have a lot of work in progress at the moment?
I have a lot of stuff to do and to finish in particular! You can guess how it is, being on tour: I’m travelling everyday and trying to finish stuff on the laptop is not ideal. I have a new single in the pipeline as well, apart from the One Republic track, which is scheduled for this summer. This is going to be an original. I don’t know the name yet; I’m working on it. I’d say it has a bit of Rock feeling to it – in an updated way but it’s still an Alesso, just in a different direction. I would also love to collaborate with Chris Martin, Coldplay. That would be like a dream coming true for me.
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