This past November, and at midtown Atlantic Record’s offices in New York City, I sat down with Galantis for an interview. Galantis is an EDM duo consisting of Miike Snow’s Christian Karlsson and Style of Eye’s Linus Eklöw. The Swedish-bred talent calls Atlantic Record’s Big Beat imprint home, having already put out an artist EP and eventually, next year, an album. Even though they’ve only been together for a year, Galantis presents themselves as polished industry veterans.
Clad in all-black v-neck t-shirts underneath black leather jackets, Christian sat hunched over on Atlantic Record’s comfy love seats while Linus reclined back. Christian answered most of my questions as Linus expounded his partner’s thoughts more deeply. They both speak fluent English and in soft-spoken, yet wholesome tones that allude to the humble personalities of exceedingly talented song writers and crowd-pleasing producers whose ascendance has been years in the making.
“I started music very early. I was like 14 when I got signed as an artist. Pretty much I never had a job, I didn’t go to school, so I’ve pretty much only did this [music]. I’m pretty useless for anything else to be honest. I only know this, so it’s not much of a choice, this is it,” Christian said. “One day you realize you have no choice, this is what you’re going to do because I couldn’t go 1 day without music without feeling weird,” Linus added. Currently released singles “You,” “Smile,” and a forthcoming “Runaway (U&I)” Dillon Francis remix all together help identify Galantis as two musicians now poised to take the EDM world by storm with loftier expectations of superior releases down the line. Thus, when considering their early-on support from heavy-weights like Tiësto, Hardwell, and Kaskade, as well as their widely talked-about Coachella’s festival appearance, Galantis are BroBible’s nomination as the DJs, in 2015, next to blow up. Check out Brobible’s exclusive Q&A with Galantis below.
BroBible: Give us the story of how you came up with the name “Galantis.”
Christian: That story is so short, because we don’t know. We actually don’t know where the name came from, so we could try to make a story up, but the truth is we don’t really know. It just appeared.”
What was the defining moment when you knew Galantis would be successful?
Christian: Doing Coachella and seeing so many people coming out, singing along was a big moment for us. I don’t know exactly what that meant, at that point, but definitely felt that this is something that we want to spend our time on and do everything in our power to get it out there. We want to get our songs out there.”
You weren’t always DJs and producers. What were doing before you started DJing and then what got you into music?
Christian: I started music very early. I was like 14 when I got signed as an artist. Pretty much I never had a job, I didn’t go to school, so I’ve pretty much only did this [music]. I’m pretty useless for anything else to be honest. I only know this, so it’s not much of a choice, this is it.”
Linus: That’s how it happened for me as well. One day you realize you have no choice, this is what you’re going to do because I couldn’t go 1 day without music without feeling weird. It came very natural, and I haven’t had another job either. Everything I’ve done has been music related.
What’s your artistic vision for Galantis?
Christian: There are so many pieces of Galantis that we take very seriously. Of course, we’re from song writing, so that’s our number 1 priority. We write songs, in a way, that’s a little bit different from a lot of other artists in this genre. We just write melody and lyric, from piano or guitar, or whatever and then we create tracks, later. But also visual aspects are very important for us, the way everything from video or how the live show is.
That’s all we do, all day long is think about Galantis and the way we want Galantis to come out and be seen as. We’re trying to do something special with the live show, we’re trying to do something different in production, and on song-writing, all of it.
Is there a certain emotion or sentiment in mind with how you guys approach the songs that you produce?
Christian: “We don’t think about it. One can think about it after and hear other people talk about it, but we need to have that feel-good ‘thing’ with Galantis. Nothing is ever cold or too hard. There might be a sad story but with the feel-good to it.”
Linus: A lot of it is starting off with the piano. We sort of consider piano to be our hidden third member. The chords we end up liking or the melodies we end up liking, sort of sets the tone for the whole record or song.
The Galantis EP came out last April. Is there a song that you are most proud of off the EP or since Galantis was established in 2013?
Christian: We love “You” and that song has meant a lot to us. Probably that one and of course, “Runaway (U&I).” It’s the first single from our upcoming album and I think that one is very relatable to “You,” which I feel is that core of Galantis.”
Linus: But one thing we do is we give each song a treatment like it is our last song that we will ever write. We don’t do any fillers, we try to give all full attention both visually, and production and how its being released.
It’s been announced that you have an album coming out. When fans can expect the new material to be released?
Christian: Next year. We don’t really know more than that, but we’re doing the last pieces of it now. We worked really hard on this album. We wrote a ton of music and have been filtering out the absolute best of the best. We’re stoked to put this music out, we really are.
What’s your studio like that you guys produce out of?
Christian: We have a two places in Stockholm that we work out of. One is in the city and one is in the Archipelago. The Archipelago one is more like for pure song-writing and in the city is more for production. We worked in LA a lot for this “Runaway U&I” record, so of course we are very used to working anywhere, like on a freaking airplane, or whatever.
Linus: A few of the songs have been written in Christian’s kitchen.
Christian: We had a whole setup in the studio and we ended up liking the thing where we had it setup in the middle of the kitchen. One [of us] is on headphones and one is not, it’s like listen to this.”
Do you guys have a favorite EDM album, or alternative album, or even rap album?
Christian: An album that I thought was amazing was Kendrick Lamar’s album. It’s a long time since I heard something that was that good. From the beginning to the end that album was magic.”
What do you appreciate the most about deep-house music?
Give us your thoughts on DJ Mag’s top 100 list this year and how has EDM changed over the years?
Christian: Dance music now is so big that I don’t think you can compete in this. I don’t think you can compete in music at all. It’s a taste, so how do you compete in taste? I feel people have different tastes. You could compete in the best DJ like who can scratch the fastest maybe.
Linus: What it really was proof was that when everybody thought that we were freaks who liked house house music, back in the day, now they’re all catching up to that. We know were know we were right when we were like that.
You’ve both worked with many successful artists like Britney Spears and Icona Pop for example. What do successful musicians have in common?
Linus: They don’t sleep.
Christian: I think you just have to have the fire and love what you do actually. It sounds like a cliché, but I really believe that. You just have to believe in your music. I don’t think you go very far if you start copying other people. You’re going to be behind if you’re copying something that’s out and when your shit comes out a year later, it’s old, and there’s no use of trying to copy anyone.
When I was really young, I went into the studio and was like: ‘ok I have the MPC, I have this [producing] console. I have the same gear as DJ Premier or Jermaine Dupri or whomever, so now it’s only up to me. I’m just going to stay here until I do something great and then I’ll sleep in the studio, eat my cheap noodles, and make beats.’ That’s both how me and Linus kind of started.”
For people who have never heard of Galantis before, why should they listen or check out your music?
Galantis: We bring something new to the table. We’ve got a solid toolbox that we use combining a lot of different music and it turned into something that’s missing. That’s why we wanted to do it, so yeah.