Swedish pop duo Icona Pop have come a long way since teaming up with Charli XCX for the smash hit ‘I Love It’. After the song took the world by storm, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo continued experimenting with their unique electropop sound while pushing boundaries and collaborating with a variety of artists to keep their material fresh, unique and, most importantly, hot enough to light up any dance floor.
The duo just released their brand-new single ‘Feels In My Body’ after collaborations with Hayden James, R3HAB and Steve Aoki and reflect on the success of their electric career and they share a message to their South African fans.
Congrats on the new single! What inspired the lyrical content in ‘Feels In My Body’?
We wrote that song with some friends of ours and, at that time, we had all been working a little too much so we were longing for one of those nights out with your best friends having a little too much fun. You know, having those feelings in your body never wanting the night to end. That inspired the song and we are so proud of it.
The music video is epic! Tell us about the concept and what it was like on set.
It was so much fun shooting that video. It was shot during the coronavirus so we had the smallest team and we are so happy that we still could make something like this happen. We shot it at a museum and it was perfect because, in a museum, you usually have to be quiet and respectful. In a place like that, we felt that it would capture the feeling of the song if we did the complete opposite – dancing, fooling around and just letting our feels taking over. It felt like a lot of people could relate because you can’t go to any clubs at the moment.
Your sound is constantly evolving and I get so excited every time you release a new track. How do you push yourselves creatively in the studio?
Thank you so much! We try to constantly grow and develop our sound by being open-minded and not having any rules. We try to take inspiration from different genres and decades and more create a feeling rather getting too locked into a specific sound. We feel very free when we create and it has served us well so far.
‘I Love It’ is still such a massive single for you as a group. Why do you think so many people connected to the song?
That song has such a punky attitude and it’s both imperfect and liberating. It spreads a message of “Fuck it, I can do whatever I want to do!” when you listen to that song. It’s the same thing when we perform it and that’s why we never got tired of it.
You worked with Charli XCX on the song. She has been doing some incredible things as well. What was the experience like making music with her?
We absolutely love Charli! She’s so talented and fun so working with her is magic.
You aren’t strangers to collaborating with other musicians. What, in your opinion, is the best thing about collaboration in music?
We love collaborating with other artists because when you add someone else’s energy into the mix, you never know what’s going to happen. It can throw a song in a completely new direction. You also learn a lot by working with others and the whole experience is something we really love taking part in.
You dropped ‘Right Time’, a collaboration with Hayden James, earlier this year – which is a banger. Tell us a little more about that particular track.
That was our first time working with Hayden and we loved it! He came to LA and starting the session by just talking about music and we realised that we had exactly the same references and vision for the track we were about to create. That made it so easy. ‘Right Time’ is a song about losing yourself in a moment and realising that the right time is NOW – not tomorrow or yesterday.
Icona Pop is certainly building quite a formidable name in pop music today. What do you think it is about you guys that sets you apart?
I think people can relate to us because we are not perfect and we stand up for what we believe in. People can also feel the energy from our friendship. Fans that we talk to say that they feel empowered to be whoever they want to be by listening to our music and that makes us really happy.
What is your favourite thing about working with each other?
We love working with each other because we are so different so we complement each other in a great way. After all these years, our friendship is only growing stronger and we really appreciate being in a band together. It’s amazing to be able to do this with your best friend.
We know Icona Pop as a group, but give us a little bit of insight into your individual personalities.
We are very different, but in the perfect way. We are both very creative and we have huge respect for each other that’s why this works so well. Caroline is a little more hyperactive in the creative process with is great for moving things forward while Aino is a little bit more chill in her creative process which makes us reflect and make the right decisions.
How tough has the Covid-19 been for you guys as musicians?
It’s been so different! We usually tour all summer long and we are so used to traveling around the world and meeting up and hugging our fans. When the pandemic hit, we had to focus on what we could still do in terms of music and that was to keep writing and releasing music. It’s been hard in a lot of ways with all this change and we miss touring, but we are lucky. There are so many talented musicians that can’t survive or pay rent so we are very thankful that we can still do our thing and that we are constantly finding new ways to connect with our fans and feed them with music until we meet on stage again.
What would you like to say to your South African fans?
We love our fans in South Africa and we can’t wait to come and visit you as soon as we can! Thank you for supporting all our music through the years. It really does mean the world to us.