NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — DJ supergroup Swedish House Mafia, known for bringing house music to the masses with their arena shows, are ready to turn the crowd up with a new collaboration with The Weeknd and a global tour on the horizon.
The trio dropped a new song and music video on Friday, melding their thumping, body-rocking beats with The Weeknd's dark cinematic vocals on “Moth To a Flame.” It comes as they are announcing a 44-date arena world tour in 2022 with stops in Miami, Las Vegas, Houston, Toronto, London, Paris and Madrid.
It's a long awaited return for the DJs — Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso — who announced their breakup in 2012 after reaching heights that few other DJs had and leading a wave of interest in EDM music with their grandiose live shows.
“I think time was the best thing that could happen to us,” Angello told The Associated Press in an interview from Stockholm.
With hits like “Don’t You Worry Child” and “Save The World,” they were the first DJ act to sell out Madison Square Garden and got top billing at Coachella, where they will return in 2022. The anticipation has been building since the three announced their reunion at a surprise set at Ultra Music Festival in Miami in 2018, but behind the scenes it was a years-long process of getting a new label, new management and new music. Known for being perfectionists and their slow pace of recording, the pandemic gave them the time they needed as they worked in their studio in Sweden.
“We made more songs in the past two years than we did in the 20 years before that, which is incredible,” said Angello.
They also now share the same management team with The Weeknd, who has hinted at the collab on his social media. After meeting in Los Angeles, they found a track they all loved and the Toronto-born superstar let inspiration lead him, said Axwell.
“He just, boom, went for it and it sounded amazing,” said Axwell. “We were like, ‘Well, did you have this written down or how was it like? Did you prepare notes?’ (He said,) ‘I just looked at some text messages on my phone.’”
They released two other singles this year, including “Lifetime” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and 070 Shake and “It Gets Better,” both of which reached the Top 15 of Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. The new songs are leading up to their full-length album “Paradise Again,” slated for release next year.
The opportunity to push boundaries again was the motivating factor to come back together and put aside differences that led to their split, said Angello, who remained coy on the exact reasons.
“Enough time went by for me to feel like I was missing something, right?” said Angello. “So like when you’re running 100 miles an hour, like you don’t have time to reflect. But if you let some time pass, all of a sudden, those things that, those things that tore us apart were kind of destroyed.”
During the breakup, they all kept working and performing. Angello released his own solo records and Axwell and Ingrosso put out an album in 2017 together. But when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in 2020, not having an audience was one of the hardest parts for these DJs who had spent decades performing live in clubs, arenas and festivals all over the globe, setting the unrelenting musical pace for tens of thousands of dancing fans.
“I understand why a lot of heritage bands continue touring for the rest of their lives,” said Ingrosso. “Because once you're in there and you've done that once in your life with the energy and the positivity, it's like a piece of our hearts that's missing.”
Ingrosso said every once a while, they'd turn their studio into a nightclub, just to get a chance to feel the music the way it's meant to be experienced.
“Sometimes we threw a little party here and there around the studio just to listen to music when you’re not totally 100% sober, if you know what I mean,” Ingrosso said.
Their 2022 tour starts on July 29 in Miami and runs through Nov. 13 in Tampere, Finland.
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Kristin M. Hall, The Associated Press