At Electric Jungle music festival — one of China’s biggest and most influential electronic dance music events — Billboard Radio China caught up backstage with Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw, the duo that form the well-known Swedish DJ, electronic dance music production, and songwriting group Galantis.
While both members have had success separately — Karlsson with the band Miike Snow and producing as Bloodshy, and Eklöw as Style of Eye — the pair discussed the beginning of Galantis and their realization that they had made a name for themselves as a duo.
“I think our history is a part of why Galantis is what it is and sounds like what Galantis sounds,” Karlsson says. “I think our many years in the studio prior to being in Galantis [as] Style of Eye, Miike Snow, Bloodshy, all those things are tools in the toolbox that were very good to have on the path to Galantis’ birth.”
That “Galantis sound” has seen the duo become known as one of the happiest dance music acts in the industry, a label that they welcomingly embrace. This sound didn’t come about by happenstance, according to Karlsson, it was the goal from the outset of their collaboration “to create music that made you feel good without being cheeky or cheesy.”
To do this, they drew upon history, pinpointing music of the late ’60s, early ’70s and Motown, and adopted their “happy vibes.” Thus, much of Galantis’ music is heavily influenced by and based on the style of that period.
Eklöw attributes their first performance at Coachella as the point they realized Galantis was a success and that they had a platform from which they were connecting with people. “It was a complete surprise to us that the tent was filled, that they were singing along to music that was a couple of weeks old,” he shared.
The duo also discussed their philosophy when writing new music and their evolution. “I think the rule in Galantis is to not have any rules,” Karlsson said. Their songwriting process doesn’t have a template, he said, and they prefer to “switch it up” and embrace flexibility to create magic.
To illustrate his point, he uses the analogy of making a puzzle and using a different piece to start the puzzle every time, thereby creating a different experience, allowing them to not sound like a copy of other music, including their own.
This flexibility has allowed them to grow and evolve as artists from the release of their 2015 debut album, Pharmacy, to the 2017 release of The Aviary, and now their newest and current releases. The duo expresses love for EDM music because, in concert with their own evolution, it too is moving and evolving at such a pace that it allows them even more freedom in their creative process — exactly the “no rules” mantra on which they thrive.
Galantis’ flexibility and template-free style can be heard in their latest releases. In 2018, we saw the release of “Spaceship,” which they describe as a pretty clean dance track with a noticeable Motown/Jackson 5 feel, “Mama Look At Me Now,” which has a very Swedish vibe they say could have been made in their early days, and “Emoji,” an example of their ability to grab hold of pop culture and incorporate it into their music.
Despite continuing with their other music ventures, Galantis fans have a lot to look forward to in the near future as the duo have no intention of stopping anytime soon and promise “more music than ever” on the horizon.
Chinese fans can delight in the fact that they have an appreciation for the increased spotlight that has been placed on EDM in recent years and its growing acceptance, both of which are sure to keep China on the radar as a regular stopping ground.
To hear the full radio interview, visit Billboard Radio China.