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Axwell - In Bed With Axwell

Author: Cyclone
Friday, 18 January 2008
If the so-called Swedish House Mafia has a figurehead, it’s Axwell. Axel Hedfors comes from the same milieu as Steve Angello, Eric Prydz and Sebastian Ingrosso. After the new year invasion of Angello and Ingrosso, it’s now Axwell’s turn to hit our shores. Words by 3D’s Cyclone.

They are surely today’s equivalent of the ’90s’ Swedish techno posse comprising Adam Beyer, Cari Lekebusch and Joel Mull. But, while at the end of the ’90s Sweden’s techno masters had overexposed their looped style, Axwell is determined that this not occur to him.

Hedfors may be hot but, unlike many superstar DJs, he doesn’t sound disinterested during interviews. It’s 11pm in Stockholm and the DJ lets slip guiltily that he nearly forgot about his phoners.

“I was thinking, ‘Maybe I should go to bed’ – but then I said, ‘Oh shit, no, I have booked a lot of interviews!’,” he jokes. “But I’m gonna do them from bed, anyway.”

‘In bed with Axwell’ – it’s a snappy headline.

Axwell isn’t just a hot DJ. Everyone from Judge Jules to Roger Sanchez to Sister Bliss sings his praises as a producer. Even our own Goodwill proclaims his genius.
Hedfors values such validation, but it worries him.

“It’s very nice, it’s very nice to hear, but then straight away I feel, And now what- How do I keep myself on the right path-” he says. “You feel a little bit pressured when you hear all these nice things. You feel, ‘That’s very nice to hear’ and, ‘Well, I must be doing something right’, and ‘Can I please continue to do that-’”

Last year Axwell dominated dancefloors with I Found U. In fact, the sometime computer science student started making acid techno years ago, but his first record as Axwell, FunkBoy, materialised on StoneBridge’s Stoney Boy in 1999.
Although Axwell is routinely associated with electro-house – ‘the new trance’ for a few pundits – in the past he’s ventured into Latin groove under the handle Mambana, then Jetlag, both for the deep house Soulfuric.

Axwell is big on collaborating. He cut Burning with Robbie Rivera and has teamed with Ingrosso for Together (which launched Axwell’s Axtone imprint) and, of course, Mr Prydz. Ably assisted by Angello, Axwell charted with a reworking of Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy (Tell Me Why) as Supermode. His growing profile has resulted in remixes for major pop figures like Madonna (Jump, off Confessions On A Dance Floor, ’spotters).

Axwell is open to furnishing a full-length project (“there is always a big plan to do an album”), but warns fans of his slow work rate. He’s a perfectionist. Typically, Axwell sits on tracks for two years and, in that timem they undergo any number of tweakings. Above all, he’s determined not to repeat himself.

Surprisingly, Axwell agrees that the Swedish house contingent have ushered in a new sound. Nevertheless, he holds that this ethos has already been rendered obsolete – by its instigators.

“I think that there was [a sound] a while back,” he says. “When we first came across, we all had a little something in common. I think that it was very fresh-sounding. It was the early days of electro, as it is now.

“Some of the sounds we used felt quite innovative there for a while. So, yes, I guess there might have been a special Swedish sound in the beginning. But then what happens is none of us want to stay in the same sound forever, so we all evolve. Then other people take over the old sound and we move ahead.

“To some people that might suck, ’cause they want to hear the same sound over and over again. But, for us as artists and writers, we always have to move forward to keep challenging ourselves and to keep having fun and exploring new things.”

WHO: Axwell
WHAT: Plays Famous at Home
WHEN: Sunday 27 January