Galantis Talks ‘The Aviary’ & Hitting The Road: Interview
Swedish duo Galantis has taken the world by a storm with their infectious hooks and joyful lyrics since hitting the scene in 2012. Comprised of Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklow, the producers boasted an already-impressive resume before joining forces. Karlsson worked as one half of the superstar production group Bloodshy & Avant and was responsible for crafting hits like “Toxix” for Britney Spears, before joining electro-trio Miike Snow. Eklow, on the other hand, worked under the moniker Style of Eye and showed up on the liner notes for massive hits like Icona Pop’s “I Love It.”
The pair were brought together through their other projects and discovered an impressive chemistry in the studio. In 2015 they emerged with Pharmacy, their first full-length project together. Spawning hits like the unhinged “Peanut Butter Jelly,” the Swedish masterminds struck gold. Two years later they hope to replicate that success with their latest project, The Aviary. Released on September 15, their latest LP is another collection of inventive potential hits and includes a bevy of collaborations with some of pop’s brightest rising stars.
I had the opportunity to chat with the pair ahead of the release of their sophomore LP, and we talked about everything from inspiration to working on a remix of Selena Gomez’s latest single. Get to know them a little better in our Q&A below.
What has changed for the two of you since releasing Pharmacy in 2015?
Christian: I mean, a lot has changed. It’s a little bit of a blur when things happen. Since we started Galantis, it feels like it’s just one big journey. All of it. But, I feel like we’ve been on tour so much, and the only thing we see [is] we play bigger stages; we play bigger shows. And we see more and more people singing our music back to us, which is beautiful.
How are those changes reflected in the new music?
Christian: The changes are a very big part of Aviary sounding like Aviary does. When we sat down and went into the studio to make Pharmacy we had almost three years and then only living in the studio and not having… There was no real Galantis sound, and we didn’t have a Galantis following. There was only options, right? Like to create this new project, new band. With Aviary we had people expecting more music, we had a following. There was a Galantis sound for the fans that we already had. We might or might not have stuck to it, and then they were expecting more of it. And of course that plays a role. I don’t know. It puts pressure, but it’s not a bad thing. It puts pressure on you; you know that you have to do this and there’s people waiting for it. But it’s been an amazing ride, just to write all this music. There’s been a lot on tour, which is of course a thing where there are situations that aren’t always comfortable or safe, but that opens up new ways of writing music. There’s a different creative process when you’re not sitting in front of your usual creative tools in the studio.
What was the inspiration behind the title and cover art for the album?
Christian: It was actually in the middle of the writing process for The Aviary. I was in an aviary in Hong Kong with my daughter, and I called Linus up and I said being in this was kind of like what we were doing exactly while writing. It felt like all the music we were trying to find on the spot, all the time. It’s like the music you already have inside you. Music that you know you was said to you as a baby from your parents, but you’re digging in there trying to find all the melodies and ideas. I don’t believe they just come from no where. They always come from somewhere. And I feel like walking in there and trying to spot those beautiful birds was kind of like that process. So that was the start of the theme. And then jumping to the cover art, we started to just play around with the sea hawks and feathers and try to take sea hawks from…
Linus: the ocean.
Christian: yeah, from the deep and put them up in the air.
It’s been a year and a half since you released “No Money” as the lead single from the project. Is there a reason that you went a little bit slower this time around?
Christian: No. I didn’t really actually realize that’s what was happening. I feel like it’s just the flow, like you’re releasing records and you’re working on the album. And when the times right, the times right, and we put it out.
Do you guys have a favorite song on the album?
Linus: Yes. There’s plenty of them, but there’s one that’s really sticking out.
Christian: For us, I think we’ve always loved “Written In The Scars” since day one. It kind of feels like also going back to, you know, why we started Galantis. We were a little more in the emotional style of songwriting, so that one definitely is a special one to us.
What it was like working with Wrabel on that song?
Christian: Well, Wrabel is one of our favorites. “True Feeling,” which is one of the first songs that we decided on. Like, we should start from this song and build out the album. So “True Feeling” is Wrabel as well. We wrote both songs with Wrabel and he’s the vocal. So, it felt natural to do some more writing with him. He’s just an absolutely amazing artist and writer so hopefully we get to work more with him.
You also worked with Rozes and Poo Bear. What kind of energy did they bring to the project?
Christian: Well Rozes, she and her co-writers sent snippets of that song and we actually fell in love with and began to work on that song with her. And Rozes delivered that vocal, and it was magical. Then we told them from the beginning “we don’t know how to make this into Galantis music, but we want to really try because it’s really beautiful.” That took about 100 versions to get to the one we finalized on. Poo Bear is a completely different story. He’s a legend, I think one of our favorite songwriters. I wrote with Poo Bear over 15 years ago the first time, and I think people might not know of him. He wrote a lot of huge… all the Justin Bieber stuff. Tons of great music, but we felt like people don’t hear his voice enough, you know? So we just wanted to write some stuff with him and keep him on it because he has an amazing voice.
You guys just released a remix of Selena Gomez’s “Fetish” as well. How is the approach different when you’re just remixing an existing track versus creating it from scratch?
Christian: It’s a very different process because it’s not your song, right? People send us music all the time, and it might be songs that we love but we just don’t find a way to make them into a Galantis remix or version. So it’s hard to say what it is. It’s just a feeling we live in and try to evaluate what we can do with it and if this can be within the Galantis brand.
Linus: You want it to feel like your own song you know? Something that you’re as proud of as your own song.
Do you guys have any other remixes coming up?
Christian: We’ve got a big one that we’ve been working on for a long time, and we’re really proud of. We’re really stoked.
Linus: We wish we could tell you more.
Christian: It’s out at the end of the month we think. But it’s definitely a big one.
What is next for you guys after the album release?
Christian: We’re going to go on tour for quite some time. We’re going to do The Aviary Tour, hopefully we visit most parts of the world. We’re going to start in America, but we’re really looking forward to it. It’s a big thing to go from having one album and being out on tour playing that album to having two. It changes so much from what you can do in your live set.
Have you started thinking about how the new music will translate over into the live shows?
Christian: We’ve been in the middle of it for quite some time.
Can you give me any spoilers? Are there any performances that you’re more excited to bring to life?
Christian: It’s like a thing where theres’a a Galantis record that you can play at home, and there’s a version that we will play live that isn’t available in any other place. And that’s the way we want it. And we’re really proud to be working on that and to give people a different experience but still give them the album of course. We want to be able to be creative onstage and bring that flow of being in the moment that we have in the studio. We always do some changes and work a little bit to get it to where it needs to be to be performed live, but it’s a pretty amazing process.
Last year “No Money” charted on the Billboard Hot 100. How does it feel when it’s your song versus something you produced like with “Toxic” or “I Love It?”
Christian: Yeah, it’s big. I don’t follow charts maybe as much as I should, but that’s amazing. Like being nominated for a Grammy sounds huge. Compared to being there for your work on someone else’s record or being their because of your own record. It is a huge difference, definitely.
Who else are you guys listening to at the moment?
Linus: We’re listening to you.
Christian: There’s so much great music coming out right now. People are trying to explore and being open minded. I think that’s what needed in this genre right now. I’m enjoying exploring what people are doing.Lot of cool new stuff..
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me.