Playing your very first show in the Gobi Tent at Coachella to a crowd of thousands of people might be a terrifying thought for most new artists but for Christian Karlsson (Miike Snow, Bloodshy & Avant) and Linus Eklow (Style of Eye), it was the only way to debut their project, Galantis.
Since introducing themselves by dropping their first single “Smile” in November 2013, the reception has been nothing but praise. With their positive, heartfelt lyrics and their incredibly catchy melodies, they’ve gained support from EDM heavyweights Pete Tong, Kaskade, Diplo, Steve Angello and Tiësto.
Currently on tour to support the Galantis EP they released earlier this month via Big Beat Records, Christian and Linus sat down with us before their sold out show at the Bowery Ballroom to talk about Coachella, the seafox and their last meal on earth.
Pancakes & Whiskey: My friends and I saw you at Coachella a couple of weeks ago and it was definitely one of the highlights of our weekend. What was the experience like playing your very first show there?
Christian Karlsson: It was amazing. We had no idea that so many people knew the songs because it was only 12 days after the EP was released. It was actually scary to say “yes” to Coachella. We thought maybe next year but it was amazing. It was mind blowing how great the audience was.
P&W: Could you hear people singing?
Linus Eklow: Yeah, it was an amazing feeling!
P&W: What’s the story behind Galantis? You guys are both very well respected and experienced musicians individually. How did you guys get hooked up and how did this happen?
LE: Christian called me and asked if I could remix his single with Miike Snow, “Animals.” I was a big fan of Miike Snow already but I had no idea he was in it. I thought they were an American band. I had no idea they were Swedish! After I did that, we started hanging out a bit more and started talking a lot. We started hanging out in the studio, listening to music, making beats and that grew into this.
P&W: What excites you most about Galantis and how does it differ from your other projects?
LE: For me, it’s what my whole life has led to. This is what I’ve been waiting to do. I feel like it’s a very unique thing we’re creating. It’s very exciting to make something I I’ve never done before.
CK: It’s funny because so many things have happened before that led up to this. So many things had to happen to make this happen. Everything is aligning and it feels right.
P&W: I have to ask about your logo because so many people are wondering. It’s a seafox and it’s on everything. It’s on your album cover, your jackets, on stage, in your music video… what the hell is it? And were you guys fucking high when you came up with it?
Both: Yes! (laughs)
CK: We were playing around trying to create the image for Galantis for a long time. We came up with the idea and had a visual artist that we’re big fans of start playing around until we found our seafox. I think everyone was very annoyed by us because we were never happy, we were always like, “This isn’t it! No, we want it this way! It needs to be this!” I kind of had something in my head about what it needed to be used for but I couldn’t find that in anything we were creating until the seafox.
P&W: What has the reception been from fans? Are they totally rocking the seafox or are they still wondering what the hell you’re doing?
LE: That’s the amazing part actually. They really get into it. They bring their homemade seafoxes to shows.
CK: Half fox, half jellyfish, what’s not to like?
P&W: Both Kaskade and Tiësto have remixed “Smile” and “You” and I heard your songs in so many sets at Coachella. How does it feel to have their support and how has the response been from the EDM community?
CK: It’s been amazing. A lot of them are really close friends of ours. Even though they’re close friends, they didn’t know anything about this project. They would call me or Linus up and say, “Dude! This track is fucking amazing. Can I remix it?”
P&W: Can we expect any collabor–
P&W: You didn’t even let me finish! Anyone in particular? Kaskade, Tiësto or maybe some names we’d never think of?
CK: Well, we can’t say but it’s going to happen pretty soon.
P&W: You have a wide range of interesting sounds and voices on the EP. Who are some of your dream collaborations and dream vocalists?
LE: Most of the sounds are our sounds. We created them.
CK: Most of the vocals we created. It’s a mix of male and female. We like to be creative with vocals. We don’t like clean vocals at all.
LE: For us, the actual song is much more important than the voice.
CK: When we write songs, we never change the vocals afterward. The way the vocals sound is a part of the writing process so it’s very hard to be like, “Okay, the song is done so let’s get Kris Kristofferson to sing it or some shit.” Maybe we should try that but I think we have a good concept of what works.
P&W: Speaking of sounds, I noticed there’s this quacking sound in a couple of your songs. What’s the deal that?
CK: It sounds very Galantis.
LE: It’s always transforming. It’s constantly changing.
CK: I believe it’s actually the seafox that makes that noise! (laughs)
P&W: What have some of your favorite moments been as Galantis?
CK: Coachella, of course. We’re also very proud of the “You” video. I’ve been a part of a lot of videos and different projects and this one just touches me in a different way. I’m really happy with that. Everything in that video is real and nothing is staged. The mask was created by the same guy that made the Daft Punk helmets. The whole budget was to create the mask and then shooting the seafox girl in normal life and getting people’s reactions. It’s very cool and there’s so many different feelings I get when I see it. It’s both sad and happy but it tells you something.
P&W: Where’s the mask now? Is it hanging somewhere in your living room?
CK: We’ve got seafox girl with us on tour.
P&W: My friend thinks you guys are so nice and approachable. You favorite everyone’s tweets, you like everyone’s Instagram photos, you seem very interested in engaging with fans. How have the fans been and what do they mean to you?
LE: We were just talking about this yesterday. It’s amazing that someone first, finds the music, second, likes the music and third, decides to write to us. And it’s thousands of people! I get goosebumps just talking about it. There was this girl that came up to us after our DC show who was having a really rough time in her life and she told us how much “Help” meant to her. That’s the reason we make music.
P&W: The fans are still trying to get to know you so I want to ask you a few unrelated questions. It’s like speed dating. So what would be your last meal on earth?
LE: A hamburger! Or clams!
CK: Oysters. Two dozen oysters!
P&W: Puppies or kittens?
CK: I love dogs but I have a cat. The biggest cat you’ve ever seen in your life. I own that cat.
P&W: Do you have nicknames for each other?
CK: Yeah, I have a couple for him. They’re Swedish.
LE: They don’t really translate to English. (laughs)
P&W: And finally, what are you listening to right now?
Both: RY X.
P&W: Thank you, guys!
Interview by Megan Do