Galantis On Their 'Pharmacy,' Live Show, Future [Interview]
Everyone knows that the Swedes know how to write great songs. Whether it is the well known names like Max Martin, Abba, Shellback, RedOne or Robyn, excellent songwriting and producing have always been a part of the Swedish music DNA. Dance music has also become one of the biggest musical exports as well and when combined, you get something magical. In steps Galantis, one half Linus Elkow, known professionally under his DJ, producer moniker Style Of Eye, which has had a successful career of its own remixing the likes of Swedish House Mafia and releasing a solo artist album. The other half Christian "Bloodshy" Karlsson, one third of Swedish indie-pop band Miike Snow and half of Bloodshy & Avant who have writing and producing credits for the likes of Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Madonna and Kylie Minogue. Their debut album released in June Pharmacy is dance-pop gold. The LP showcases their ability to write irresistible hooks and evocative melodies that aren't cheesy and have heavy replay value.
We had a chance to catch up with Galantis before their set at Electric Zoo to discuss their recent album Pharmacy, the evolution of the live show and what the future has in store for both Elkow and Karlsson. Karlsson also includes the information that the long-awaited third Miike Snow album is finished and on its way.
Music Times: Was it difficult at first to synch up your work habits in studio and on stage?
Karlsson: No, because we didn't have any. So it's like kind of like you start a band and the band doesn't have anything yet, so every piece some together. You build your sound and the habits comes with that. It's like an unwritten book so there's no right or wrong.
MT: On stage was it easy?
K: Well it's just been growing, you have to just play. It's from every show you have to just learn something. We bring in a lot from our pasts as well from other producers, other bands and stuff we have been doing.
MT: Was it hard to become a duo for you guys?
Elkow: For me, it was the best thing to ever happen. It was so nice, I had been touring for a long time so finally to get to share it with Chris it was really good.
K: I came from a trio, he was in the trio too and to go down to a duo was really good to.
E: I think you said it last night, you stripped down and I upgraded.
K: Yeah I'm so used to it being 15 on the road and now we're four.
MT: What is the central message/theme in Pharmacy?
K: Well I mean it's a feel good album for sure, it has some you know like it's a feel good album with a sad note. For us it's been like a healing process, like a self-medication, and pharmacy was kind of the cute or the answer basically to where we were in life, where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. So two and a half, three years making Pharmacy was our medication basically.
MT: What do you need medication for?
K: Life, have you tried life? It's rough man. Life is sponsored by death, life is deep?
MT: What would you have in your own pharmacy?
K: We would have like 13 songs. Yeah that's kind of, what it is about, we both kind of brought our own pharmacy with us for a long time and was trying to get off on all types of sales medication instead of being in the studio and kind of finding that that was kind of better. Like in some sense we are addicts to being in that rush in the studio of creating
MT: Talk a little about your live set up and the improv that you do there.
K: Yeah we pretty much try to bring as much as we can on stage from the studio. Linus is a drummer and I brought a lot from the Miike Snow show but it's basically trying to do what we do in the studio but in a live situation depending on the show and how much we can bring. Some festivals won't let us, but we'll bring as much gear as we can to every show. It's always changing too, trying to upgrade it for every occasion.
MT: What else would you like to add?
K: Everything. As much as we can that the budget allows us to and the stages allow us to. Some festivals won't let us bring that much. If it's our own show our own headline show we can do whatever we want. Festivals we usually bring some pads, some filters, some crashes and some drums. But we still have to make it light enough so we can fly with it.
MT: Right, would you ever involve more people in it?
E: Yeah we, I mean probably not onstage because that's more people carrying sh*t. If we did longer bus tours we could bring a ton of gear you know, but flying you have to be a little light.
MT: You guys have both been involved in a bunch of different projects. Is Galantis the end goal for you guys?
K: It feels like everything led up to Galantis I've got to say, yeah. I mean, but of course Linus is Style of Eye and I'm still Miike Snow but I feel like all the tools we have learned from our past has led up to this collab between us two and building and starting this band together.
MT: Are you still involved with your solo careers at all or is that just totally not happening?
K: Miike Snow is coming out with an album, it's done so that's coming out. We still produce and write for other people sometimes when the time allows us to so but you know we just, life is a hundred percent about Galantis for me which is a really nice feeling to know to focus on.
MT: How did you lose the Seafox after a show?
K: Someone stole it, yes there were some flaws in the security. We tightened it up now, it's better.
MT: What's the weirdest thing you've learned about each other since you started working together?
E: That we're exactly the same. That's not weird we knew that. We thought it, but then we learned that it's f*cking true.
MT: What do you have coming up?
K: We're, it's basically touring and studio. So it's like every day we're not on tour we're in the studio but you know it's a lot of touring the rest of the year. A longer headline tour in the beginning of next year and already booking festivals for next year and stuff but now we are just trying to force studio time into our schedules.
MT: Have you guys been approached to do remixes?
K: We have in the past but no recently no. No it's the time we have you know when we're not onstage right now goes to making new original music. It's not like we don't like doing remixes, but it takes us much time as doing a brand new song or longer. I don't think it's that way for everyone, but we're song writers -- we like to write new songs.