The Swedish House Mafia is back, ‘immortal’, heading to San Diego’s Pechanga Arena on September 4

Like most success stories, the meteoric rise of DJ trio Swedish House Mafia didn’t happen overnight.

Steve Angello, Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso spent several years as solo DJs before finding global audiences together. Although Angello and Ingrosso grew up as childhood friends in Stockholm, they were working on individual careers when a chance meeting with Axwell (Axel Hedfors) changed the trajectory of the three artists.

Forming their collective in 2008, it wasn’t until 2010 with the single “One” that the trio really began their rise as one of the biggest electronic groups in the world. However, despite triumphs like scoring an international No. 1 in “Don’t You Worry Child” and selling out Madison Square Garden in minutes, Angello, Hedfors and Ingrosso called it quits in 2012.

The supergroup played their last gigs together in the first part of 2013, after which Angello focused on his own label, Size Records, and Hedfors and Ingrosso formed the DJ duo Axwell & Ingrosso.

Aside from a few one-off performances, the Swedish House Mafia were content to leave the stage at the peak of their popularity.

That is, until this year.

In April, the trio released “Paradise Again,” their first full album, which was not a collection of singles, and returned to Indio, Calif., for a pair of Coachella headliners with The Weeknd. Now Angello, Hedfors and Ingrosso are in the midst of a nearly 40-date world tour for the first time in nearly a decade. The tour arrives in San Diego at Pechanga Arena on September 4.

“It’s so great to be back and seeing the fans,” Angello said on a recent Zoom call from Denver, where his band was first performing. “There’s a lot of love and excitement. The crowds have been phenomenal. We make music based on fans’ feelings, cultures and energy. That’s a driving force. So for us, that was a very good experience.

Undaunted by the fact that the band’s self-imposed hiatus was nearly double its original length, Angello spoke about both the importance and the anxiety of releasing a full album for the first time.

“It’s such an important aspect of being an artist,” he said. “The old songs we made will still be there. Still. But it was still a scary thought from the start. In the end, we imagined all the freedom we would have to express in an LP. So we just sat down and said, “Let’s make some music.”

Sitting down was the easy part. With all three members being sequestered in Sweden during the pandemic, stepping into the studio came naturally. But knowing that a world tour would follow the release of their album, “Paradise Again” was designed backwards.

As an entirely practical unit, Angello, Hedfors and Ingrosso previewed both the album and the tour before recording a note. They played different types of music to inspire each other, designed visuals and structures, programmed the lighting, and basically “built” the box they would play in every night. After all other aspects were completed, they wrote the album that would serve as the soundtrack for the experiment.

“It was so inspiring,” Angello said. “We were watching a music video of a surreal world and creating a dark synth like nothing we were playing on a Saturday in Vegas. That just wasn’t the goal this time. All of our favorites over the years – dark, heavy, anxiety-inducing stuff – they’re all here. But first we had the dream scenarios and the inspiration. Then we scored what we thought the album was going to be. It was a cool experience because you normally work the other way around.

While the 17 songs on “Paradise Again” were selected from more than 50 the trio recorded, there are no plans for a follow-up album yet. The tour dates run through November and there are already plenty of upcoming events on the Swedish House Mafia roster.

Angello’s Size Records turns 20 next year. The label, which features releases from fellow Swedes Avicii and Eric Prydz, as well as Fatboy Slim, Laidback Luke and Afrojack, is set to repackage and remaster several Size classics, along with a slew of new vinyl box sets. . To help commemorate the anniversary, the label also created an interactive story “that new kids can dive into”.

And in a seemingly long-awaited collaboration, Swedish House Mafia will soon be unveiling a new Ikea collection that includes products ranging from speaker stands and record boxes to an affordable, yet stylishly designed record player. The band even reinvented the Swedish company’s signature blue bag, changing it to black and making it the perfect size for carrying records.

“For us,” Angello said, “promoting vinyl is like teaching. I want to share the love I have for the physical product of music because it’s such an important aspect of my life and the way I enjoy things. I think investing in something you need to take care of is a valuable lesson today.

So far, “Paradise Again” has yet to be released on vinyl. But that is likely to change over time. The trio is revitalized, re-invested and currently shows no signs of slowing down.

“We’re back,” Angello confirmed. “And it’s immortal.”

Swedish house mafia

When: 8 p.m. Sunday, September 4

Where: Pechanga Arena San Diego, 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Midway District

Tickets: $34 to $99.50, plus service charge

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McDonald is a freelance writer.

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