Kygo On How His New Album Was Inspired By Red Hot Chili Peppers & Bon Iver

Kygo, 2017
Christopher Patey

Kygo photographed on May 18, 2017 at Nightingale Plaza in West Hollywood.

Since making his Billboard 200 debut with his 2016 LP, Cloud Nine, which reached No. 11 and showcased his balancing act of ballads and club-ready hits, Kygo hasn’t slowed down. His nonstop tour schedule had him jet-setting from the Brazil Summer Olympics to the Hollywood Bowl, and this past September, he released a guest-heavy EP with artists from Selena Gomez (“It Ain’t Me”) to U2 (“You’re the Best Thing About Me”). The former peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and boosted Kygo’s tally on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart to 17.

Now, the Norwegian DJ-producer is back with his second full-length, Kids in Love, out Nov. 3 on Sony Music/Ultra Records, which largely came together during rare time off last winter, when Kygo says he bunkered down in his Norway home studio for weeks. There, he crafted several upbeat songs that he wanted to release as soon as possible. “I don’t feel the need to wait [or] hold back,” he says of his consecutive releases, though he adds that he held off on Kids in Love until he felt he had a complete project: “Instead of just releasing single [after] single, it’s a fun challenge to make a full album of tracks that make sense together, as well as on their own,” he says. Kygo traces the artists who have defined his approach.

Thriller (1982)

“My older sister was a huge fan of Michael Jackson. I was forced to listen to it on repeat every time we were in the car, but I loved it. It brings back great memories. Since I was 5 or 6 years old, as early as I can remember, until I was 15, she was listening to it all the time. I didn't complain.”

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Michael Jackson, 'Thriller'

The Colour and The Shape (1997)

“When I was a teen, I liked the Foo Fighters a lot. I listened to those tracks like ‘Everlong,’ ‘My Hero.’ Dave Grohl’s vocal is ­incredible. I saw them play my hometown 10 or 11 years ago. I was so impressed by the whole ­performance; it made me a bigger fan. [And Grohl] is like a ­comedian onstage, making 20,000 people laugh while performing. That was impressive.”

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Foo Fighters, 'The Colour and The Shape'

Californication (1999)

“I was probably around 13 or 14 years old [when] I tried to learn ‘Californication’ on guitar ... That’s one of my favorite riffs. I was in middle school, and just being a piano player wasn’t cool -- it was all about the guitar players in the band. At that time, I regretted playing piano, but right now, I’m very happy I stuck with it.”

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Red Hot Chili Peppers, 'Californication'

Seek Bromance (2010)

“At the time, I was composing ­melodies on the piano, and some of [Avicii’s] melodies sounded similar to some of the tracks I was composing. I didn't have any clue how to [produce music], but I wanted to try it out. [Using] all these melodies I had in my head to make a full song was so much fun.”

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Tim Berg (Avicii), 'Seek Bromance'

22, A Million (2016)

“That’s one of my favorite albums of all time. I was listening to it on repeat the whole winter. There’s so many cool effects that I would never think about using in my songs. I definitely get inspired from those tracks, and I was very impressed with the creativity.” 

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Bon Iver, '22, A Million'

This article originally appeared in the Nov. 11 issue of Billboard.