The Big Stage: Galantis Gears Up for Another Massive Festival Season
DJ Times: When you first started Galantis, did you know you wanted to release an album? Or did it start as a string of singles and roll from there?
Karlsson: Always album. We felt really early we had too much material that we really liked, so let’s not wait too long. The EP is basically the first songs of Pharmacy.
DJ Times: When you were recording tracks like “You” and “Runaway (U & I),” did you expect them to be accepted by the EDM-festival circuit? Were you writing for yourselves or them?
Karlsson: We were writing for ourselves. When you’re so close to your own music, it’s very hard to put them in a scenario, especially at that point [in the process] like that: to imagine it would be something that other DJs would play. Our minds were never even there
DJ Times: Did that kind of success add pressure or affect the creation of future tracks?
Karlsson: It adds a lot of pressure because from there on you always want to come out with something fresh and new that has the same impact. In the creative process, you don’t want to be thinking that, though, because then you’re not going to do it. It’s a little tricky of a situation: you don’t want to look back, but also you want to make sure you do something that’s as strong.
DJ Times: For Pharmacy, how long were you working and how did it take shape over time?
Linus Eklöw: Two, two and a half years if you count the EP as part of that process.
Karlsson: There were a lot of songs written.
DJ Times: What’s particularly notable is how little material is on both—the album was almost entirely new tracks. Did you encounter any resistance wanting to create an album from the label or managers that wanted you to tour consistently?
Karlsson: No, the album format is something that is really appealing to us because it tells the journey of Galantis, and we can show a much wider part. Everything doesn’t have to be the biggest drop or whatever. You can explore more and take people on a journey. I totally get it, and I don’t hate on any other way of releasing music. I can see upsides of only doing singles, but it’s very appealing with the album format. Also, we can remember where we came from and what was important when we were kids. It was all about albums.
DJ Times: Your latest singles have been particularly bright and sunny. What’s been inspiring you for the latest run of songs?
Karlsson: I think we had it from the beginning, but there was also a lot of emotional stuff. There was a mix. I think what’s been inspiring is just the feel-good vibe, and it’s a soulful thing that we’ve been on the train for a little bit. We also released “Pillow Fight” just to show our fans that we haven’t left any of the other parts of Galantis; you can play it next to “You,” and it’s kind of the same type of song.
DJ Times: “Rich Boy” just came out. How did that song come to be?
Karlsson: “No Money” is [sung by] a 10-year-old boy singing, right? “Rich Boy” is actually a 7-year-old girl singing! We started with that vocal and it was like… oh my God. Something in her performance was instantly catching out attention, and we took it from there and played around trying to figure out how to make it into a Galantis track, basically.
DJ Times: Is there a second album on the way?
DJ Times: How’s work on it coming along?
Karlsson: Great! We always feel like, “We’re done writing the songs – let’s focus on the production.” But we’re never done writing the songs! We can’t stop writing the songs. They keep on changing a bit. We’re not scared of that. Part of it is always precious to you because you spent so much time on a track, and obviously we can’t have 30 songs on the album. The hardest part is to choose what the journey of the album is going to be about and what it’s going to be like. But it’s been amazing, I’ve got to say.
DJ Times: How’s work on this one different than Pharmacy?
Karlsson: The biggest change is that when we did the first one, we weren’t on tour. We didn’t have a sound, really, and we didn’t have a fanbase and platform. We didn’t have anything, so you’re completely free and you have a shitload of time to just be in the studio. There’s something interesting about what we’re having now. It’s the opposite: we’re always on tour, we have a sound, we have the fans and the platform. It’s a different challenge, but it’s also great to know exactly what the project is about because in the beginning you don’t really know—you’re exploring. Also, you have to change and push things forward, so I guess that’s where we’ve been at.
DJ Times: We’re approaching the three-year anniversary of the launch of the Galantis live show at Coachella and you’re playing at Coachella again this year. What went into the creation of a live component for the project? Why did you decide to make it more than just a DJ set?
Karlsson: A couple of things. One, I think that’s just where we come from. We’re both from being in bands, and I think we like the energy and having a creative flow on stage and having a lot of options and alternatives—like how to change a set or do something a little bit different. We love DJing, though, so we didn’t want to leave that and be completely live. We wanted it to be one foot in and one foot in something else. Of course, we’re from the studio, so bringing a lot of things from the studio is important to us. We feel like that’s where we are from, and when and how we started this thing is that creative space. It’s trying to recreate that in a live scenario. I brought some tricks that I’ve been using in Miike Snow for the live show. Linus is a drummer, so that came natural to bring more drums.