Superlative Conspiracy Magazine #6: Icona Pop Cover Story!

  • from
    on Apr 8th 2013
Photos by: Fredrik Etoall
Words by: Danielle Krasse
Styling: WeSC
Hair: Johnny Stuntz
Make-up: Anna Branson

Sometimes love goes wrong and that is just right. That’s basically what happened and what led to the creation of Icona Pop: a bad breakup that made Aino and Caroline form a band overnight, creating music and quickly gaining popularity and recognition worldwide. With an image of begin tough as hell and liberatingly free individuals who don’t give a shit, meeting Aino and Caroline is pretty refreshing: they could be the two humblest and sweetest chicks you’ll ever meet. Being that they’re Swedish and so is WeSC, we are extra happy to have them as the issue’s cover.

With the past year being crazy for Icona Pop - or as they themselves describe it, ”the year when we haven’t slept” - things aren’t slowing down but rather the opposite. When this issue hits the stands, the girls are in Australia touring, after wrapping up the year of 2012 with a tour in the US with Marina & The Diamonds, working on their new album, dropping videos and singles, playing festivals and a lot more. We caught up with the girls while they were in LA for 42 hours for a talk about how this actually happened - and what is happening now.

What’s happening with Icona Pop, what are you doing?

It’s chaos, as always. We don’t live anywhere but we are everywhere. We’re working 24 hours a day seven days a week - but it’s so fucking fun. It’s almost too good to be true.

When did things really kick off for you guys, ‘cause the last year seems to have been pretty intense?

We haven’t slept this past year. Basically, 7 months ago it really took off. Before that we lived in London which was a pretty tough and heavy period of time - so when we started to feel things happening and chang- ing we just went for it, went all in. The number of gigs we had this sum- mer was mad.. It was around 100, one every or every other day.

Sounds like busy times... But it’s all working out?

We’ve finally found our crew, the right people to work with and it feels as if we have a great creative freedom - we have the last say in every- thing that we do. It’s the world’s best family of people that we work with so we guess that that is why things are finally happening the way we want them to, ‘cause of this crew.

Okay, tell me some more about your crew.

First of all it’s our home label Record company TEN. Then it’s the two of us, Fredrik Etoall who we found along the road the photographer of this story who’s the girls best friend and who’s done numerous shoots and videos for them. editor’s note, it’s Oskar, it’s artist company 10, Adis & Henke, Elof Loelv our head producer, Tove Lo, who we write with.. AINO: All these people are people that we’ve known for a long time, since Icona Pop started basically.

And then it’s our label that we have here in the US - they’re so fucking good and understand us completely. They ask us what we want to do and how we want to do it and that’s a rare thing.

Which label is that?

Atlantic. So that feels extra good. We have worked with people who’ve been the biggest idiots you could meet, when we lived in London and that whole thing, but that’s why it feels so extra good that we’ve gathered our troop now and all aspects of it feel good.

I can imagine that, though, that you have to go through a bunch of dif- ferent stages and people before figuring out what’s the right thing?

Exactly, ‘cause it’s like when everyone wants different things and doesn’t care about us. Record labels tend to look at artists like products but it feels as if Atlantic and our management really consider what we want to do, which is rare.

I think the thing we’ve learnt the most this past year is to listen to ourselves and our bodies. The gut feeling is the only thing you should listen to and go for and if you don’t listen to your gut feeling then things will go to hell. People will always have opinions and think that you should do this or that but I think we’ve learnt to listen to ourselves and somehow figuring out what we want. It’s difficult though, especially when starting out, to know what you want but now that we do it every single day we’re more on track with that - we’ve learnt how to separate and categorize things better. If you do something you don’t feel for, you’re bound to feel bad about it.

And the result won’t be as good. So that’s great - you’ve learnt how to say no which is difficult to do, congratulations!

Laughs Thank you, it actually feels great!

I have to ask you how you got started, I’ve read the stories online and heard from our friends how it all went down but I want your version too.

We went to the same high school but didn’t know each other. Five years after that I was brutally dumped by my man one night and got pretty depressed. We had a mutual friend who called and harassed me every day, begging me to come out and said she’d come pick me up and drag me out if I didn’t do it myself - so she forced me to go to a party a Carro’s house. So thank you, break up.

It was good - when we met it was really like love at first sight - when you start hanging out and just click as friends. We were out dancing all night and said that we had to do something together, which is so easy to say but hard to do. But Aino called me the day after and said “I’ll be over with my computer and a bottle of wine” and we made our first song that night. Since that day we’e just been hanging out, making music and working together every day.

Which song was it?

‘Sheriff came to town on a big black horse’. It was kind of Tarantino inspired, had this Western feel to it with electric guitars that we produced ourselves. It was so weird.

We’ve said we’ll release it on some sort of Greatest Hit Album when we’re 80.

We called it death pop. Then we called our style hard core rock but in a pop version. laughs.

Your videos have that whole thing about them, a bit of that Tarantino feeling, some Thelma & Louise, a lot of ‘young, wild and free’ - is that your thing?

It’s always been a bit ‘us against the world’ - people were laughing at us in the beginning: when we told people we’d started a band everyone just replied that “it doesn’t really work that way”. We kept insisting that it would and have stuck to that frame of mind since then.

For me and Carro it’s always been important to prove ourselves - we were super stressed the whole time and booked a gig two days after we declared ourselves a group, that we played a month after. We were keen to show and prove that we were a band - it’s always been that music had been our hobby but people hadn’t seen us as musicians. It was a bit of
a statement. And things happened quickly after that.. I remember I tried to quit snus one time a Swedish nicotine thing, google it. editor’s note and I was so fucking sad and bummed side effect when quitting snus. editor’s note..

and Aino called me and was crying and said she was trying to quit snus laughs...

And the minute after I got a call from Gilda from Kitsuné Records with news that we were being featured on an album of theirs, so I called Carro back and told her the good news and that I was never quitting snus again. But that’s kind of how it went. A year after we started we released “Manners” on a Kitsuné album and started going over to Paris to DJ.

Was 'Manners' your first big hit?

We released it and it got a big hype in the blogs.. It was definitely the first single that was released properly.

But what now then - you have your tour until Christmas with Marina & The Diamonds...

And then it’s Christmas and we have five days off for the first time in ages (!!!). And then we’re heading out on our Australia and New Zealand tour for about two weeks.

And then we’re back in Sweden for some stuff, and then back here to LA to finish the album, the American one.

When do you plan to release it?

Hopefully and probably in the Summer - we have a long way to go... We’re gonna go to radio with our track “I Love It” in January here in the US. Everything that has happened until now has just happened organically, basically, people have picked things up themselves. It’ll probably take a while before there’s a market for us here. You don’t really understand how big the US is until you’ve travelled through it.So there’s tons of stuff happening.

Yeah, and there’s the festivals and all that: SXSW, Lollapalooza... ---

The talk continued about Coachella, festivals, dream places to live and other random things but we’ll end things here.

The thing with Icona Pop - Caroline and Aino - is that things don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, rather the opposite. The girls are talented, fun and exactly the humble, go-your-own-way kind of people WeSC loves and their future is looking damn bright. Get into it. *