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Ex-Swedish House Mafia member Steve Angello on life as a family man

Former Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello is returning to perform in India — this time as a solo artist. He talks family, his kids using Instagram, and being critical of EDM

HT48HRS_Special Updated: May 13, 2016 13:46 IST
Manali Shah

Former Swedish House Mafia DJ Steve Angello is returning to perform in India — this time as a solo artist. He talks family, his kids using Instagram, and being critical of EDM

A lot has changed since the last time Swedish House Mafia performed in Mumbai as part of their global One Last Tour in 2013. Post the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) super-group’s split, Steve Angello, one of the three members, has gone on to cut a debut album, Wild Youth.

Angello also went on record to criticise EDM as we know it today. In an interview with Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Angello said he felt artists are being less creative than they can be, and are choosing to use sounds that are easy to craft. Well, that would explain why critics say all EDM sounds the same. Roughly translated to English, he said: “You see 40-year-old artists with incredible talent release music as if they were 15. In any other profession, this would be considered absurd. It’s like Tom Ford migrated to making Pokémon clothes.”

In an industry that runs on the projected image of happy vibes, love and peace, criticism from within the artist community is rare and refreshing. But does being critical and politically incorrect bring with it a backlash? “I have never shied away from speaking my mind on things that affect me, and I stand by my statements. I have always been vocal and I have fans that support me for this quality,” he tells us over e-mail.

Also read: Mark Ronson on what went into the making of party anthem Uptown Funk

And so, in order to make music that speaks more to him, and has a thought behind it, he released Wild Youth. Although Angello has been categorical in not calling it an EDM album, dance music is a way of living for him: “I take it very seriously.”

Launched early this year, Wild Youth reflects his teenage years. Growing up in an immigrant-heavy neighborhood in Stockholm, Sweden, he got involved in unlawful activities after his father passed away when Angello was 13. “… doing things I wasn’t supposed to do…. burning cars, blowing up s**t…,” he admitted to Spin magazine.

However, Angello was already DJing by then. He tells us, “I used to DJ at local clubs. I spent whatever money I used to make in buying vinyl records. It’s global news now that I had collected almost 15,000 vinyls back then. That’s what I was: a crazy vinyl man. Growing up, my inspirations were Nas, Gang Starr, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson and Daft Punk.”

Family first

Steve Angello will perform in Mumbai on May 27 as the headlining act of Don’t Let Daddy Know — a global one-night dance property that’s coming to India for the first time. Angello has lived the crazy life of a DJ and enjoyed the fame that comes with it. He’s toured the world, filled stadiums, travelled in helicopters and partied endlessly. But his focus is a little different now. “I used to travel like a maniac before but now I have reduced it considerably because I have two babies and a wife. Time with them is important to me.”

Angello’s daughters have their own Instagram accounts (instagram.com/winterroseaa)

Angello is married to Isabel Adrian, a television personality, fashion designer and entrepreneur with a book to her credit. A celebrity in her own right. So, does being a high profile couple pose problems? Angello says, “My relationship with Isabel is stronger than ever. Being in the limelight, we both understand the baggage that comes with it. At the end of the day, it’s about understanding, and I am blessed to be married to the most understanding woman on the planet.”

A sceenshot from Monday Lily’s Instagram account (Photo courtesy: instagram.com/mondaylily)

The couple has two daughters, Monday Lily (6) and Winter Rose (4). Bearing the true hallmark of a new-age family, both the children have their own Instagram accounts. “Social media is so addictive. Monday talked Isabel into getting her own account. Isabel was hesitant at first but gave in later. She helps Monday with her account and they’ve also gotten my younger one on Instagram,” he says.

Also read: DJ Fatboy Slim is worried about the tattoos kids get of his name

A regular day in Angello’s life involves working in the studio, going through emails (“lots and lots of them”), and some more music. “When I’m not touring, I spend time with my girls. Weekends at home are spent with my girls and their mama having fun. My favourite activity to do together is singing along to my records with my daughters.”

Quick QnA

Q) If not a musician, you would be...

Producer or nothing at all.

Q) An instrument you would like to learn someday.

Perhaps the flute.

Q) The last time you were in the audience area of a gig.

I couldn’t find my way back to my vanity!

Q) Can’t live without.

My iPod.

Dancy Away:

What: Don’t Let Daddy Know will take place on May 27, 4pm onward.

Where: Dome @ NSCI, SVP Stadium, Lala Lajpatrai Marg, Worli

Tickets: Rs 2,500 onward on bookmyshow.com