In 2009, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo were two young women sitting on a couch in Stockholm, Sweden, dreaming of where music might take them. Ten years later, Icona Pop has generated 396 million streams in the U.S. and sold four million downloads. The duo is an international electro-pop sensation, and almost in celebration of its decade milestone, the duo and it’s career-spanning management and record company, TEN, announce a new label deal with Ultra Records.
“I’m delighted that Ultra is now in business with Icona Pop and Record Company TEN,” says Ultra Records Founder and President Patrick Moxey. “Both Ultra and TEN put music first, and it’s exciting for two independent powerhouses to team up with the extraordinary talent of Icona Pop.”
The new relationship is cemented today with the release of “Next Mistake,” a sweetly-nostalgic, driving house tune with anthemic dance floor energy and soulful energy. The song was originally produced by Hudson Mohawke and promises big things for Icona Pop in the next decade to come. We caught up with the Swedish stars to hear about how it feels to achieve such a grand creative milestone and what they hope signing with Ultra Records brings in the future.
Congrats on the move. Why is Ultra the right home for Icona Pop right now?
Thank you! We always follow our guts, and right now, it feels like we are a perfect match. We have the same vision, and we both love dance music. So, yes, it feels great.
Congrats again on making it 10 years into your career. That’s a wonderful milestone. Looking back, how has Icona Pop changed, and what has remained a constant?
It’s been so many years, and it still feels like we met yesterday. I think we are more mature, and definitely more secure thinking through stuff and not taking everything so damn seriously. We’ve become boss ladies. We always make sure to have that little sparkle of naivety to keep it fun and fresh. We wouldn’t be here today if we did not love what we do.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve taken from this past decade? What do you wish you’d known when you started, or what advice would you give to younger selves looking back?
It’s been a long bumpy road with a lot of ups and downs. We’ve learned so much throughout these years as a band. I think one of the most important parts are that we have to take care of ourselves but also to stop sometimes, take a deep breath and see how far we’ve come from that little sofa back in Stockholm over 10 years ago. And also to make sure that you have fun! If we would give some advice to baby Aino & baby Caroline, I think it would be ”Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
Moving on to “Next Mistake,” we’re loving the song over here. Absolute jam. It’s got a nostalgic ’90s feel to the production (which is nothing new for you). What’s the story behind this one?
We were in the studio when we first heard the embryo to “Next Mistake” made by the awesome Hudson Mohawk. We fell in love with the track and the whole ’90’s vibe. It took almost six months for us to get it where it is today. We tried many different directions. We absolutely love the ’90s! That’s when we grew, and thats a huge part of Icona Pop, so this song is like a celebration for the ’90s. Since we cannot yet go back in time, we decided to bring the ’90s to us. The song is about how we sometimes get drawn to what we know is not good for us or just want to go in a different direction than that people tells us to. We might as well embrace our mistakes sometimes! They can lead to something fun.
What does the future look like for Icona Pop? What creative directions do you hope to explore, and what ideas or mantras will you take with you into this next 10 years and new relationship with Ultra?
We are back, and we have so much new music coming out. We’ve been dying to show you what we’ve been up to, and finally the day has arrived. In 10 years from now, we are probably on a world tour with our babies, families and dogs doing exactly the same with just a bigger crew and a lot of new music.
“Next Mistake” is out now on Ultra Records. Listen to it below.