For a man whom many consider to be Sweden’s most timid club-music advocate, identity has always been an issue. As familiar with making commercial club anthems as he is dark and dotted progressive-house gems, Eric Prydz’s monikers, such as Pryda and Cirez D, underscore his ability to slink between genres while always maintaining a quality-over-quantity ethos. As his debut full-length, Eric Prydz Presents Pryda, took over the charts in 2012, and with his new single “Every Day” hovering in the Beatport Top 5, Prydz appears louder, stronger, and more resilient than ever before—and that’s all while recovering from his hottest season on Ibiza to date. We chatted with him recently about regaining control of his artist name, his issues around flying, and his Pryda Friends roster.
As an artist who regularly juggles genres and musical identities, do you feel that there is an over-reliance of some on trying to please the crowd? And has your approach been a key element of your personal success?
I never try to please others when I make music; there is only one person who has to like what comes out of those speakers, and that person is myself. When I first started to make music, I would put the new tracks and ideas on tape and play it to my friends at the weekend and I was happy with that level of approval. There was never really a plan for me to get a record deal and get my music released for real, and while a lot of hard-working producers trying to make it will hate hearing me say this, the opportunities were all just handed to me. One of those tapes found its way to my friend’s clothing store in Sweden where he played it and the right people must have walked through that door because a few months later the head A&R of Parlophone EMI UK flew over to Stockholm with a record deal for me to sign. The guy was very happy that day, because he made two signings he really believed in—me in the afternoon and some band called Coldplay the same morning. It makes a nice story, but I have always been more focused on musical progress than record deals.
The industry has changed considerably since your first entered it. What do you feel has been the most positive industry development within your time and in turn, what has been the more negative progression for you personally?
A lot has changed within the dance music industry since I first started releasing records 10 years ago, and I think it comes down to the fact that we look upon music differently these days. Around 15 years ago, a track would still be considered new two months after its release —nowadays it’s old after just two weeks or so. In that sense, music has become like fast food to the modern market. Technology has definitely played its part in both the negative and positive changes within the music industry. Anyone with a computer can make music from their bedroom—and that is amazing, because to buy the equipment needed to make electronic music 15 years ago was crazy expensive.
Your Pryda Friends label has become a strong breeding ground for fresh talent over the years. Talk us through the current roster and how important you feel it is to organically source musical talent within the modern industry? There is no plan or formula to how I find music for my labels. I never go music hunting, but every now and then there is a track that I really like and that’s when I grab it. Right now I have UK-based Norwegian producer Fehrplay on the label, and that is because I love his sound. After his first release, “Incognito,” on Pryda Friends, I handed him the reigns to remix duties for my track “Every Day” and he truly delivered. It is really important to give these people the opportunity to shine, especially when they truly deserve the break.
“Every Day” marks a long overdue personal return for you to the airwaves and digital market. What is the reason for this delay in releases under your own name?
There is always so much pressure for me making a new Eric Prydz track, as most of the previous ones like “Call On Me,” “Proper Education,” and “Pjanoo” have been multi-million-selling chart hits. It was the way my record deal was set up before that meant I was only allowed to release the big ones under my own name. This was weird because before 2005 most of my releases were so underground that daytime radio wouldn’t go near them. This was a major reason for my decision to start Pryda Recordings and Mouseville Records—there was no major label owning or controlling my name and it allowed me to release the music I loved making for clubs and the DJs alike.
In that sense, “Every Day” must be a real liberating addition to your discography. How did it feel to finally show the world the real Eric Prydz after years of being shackled by the industry? It is true that I am in a very different position today both mentally and professionally than I was back then. Those chains have been removed and I can finally do what I want under my own name again. “Every Day” is a track I made at the start of this year and it gained a lot of attention from early previews on my radio show and within my live sets. It has a very strong ’90s feel to it and I am proud to say people have been going nuts for it, so it is a proud moment for me to be under my own name with such a strong release.
We hear your next two-track EP for Pryda Recordings is already on the way. Given your firm reputation for quality over quantity, could this suggest we will be seeing you release more frequently from here onwards?
My next Pryda release will be a two-track EP and I am really excited to unveil it. My fans often complain that I give away too much ahead of the Pryda releases, so for once I will grant their wish and remain relatively quiet on the subject of this one. It is more fun with the suspense, I guess. What I will say is that I intend to pick up the pace where getting releases out on Pryda is concerned and I hope I can up the frequency of releases from here onwards.
You have had your fair share of challenges along the way. What do you consider to have been the biggest within your career, and why?
Making music has never been a challenge for me as the process and musical focus just comes naturally. My biggest challenge therefore has always been to get to places outside of Europe, as, while the music comes easily to me, flying does not, so naturally as the global potential of my live shows has picked up I have been forced to deal with that problem.
What can we expect from you for 2013, and what further aspirations do you hold as a producer?
2013 will be very different year for me as a producer and DJ. I can’t go into details at this point but it will certainly be a new and exciting start for me. As far as the music I will be making, I will look to continue creating tracks that I love and that get me excited. The process is far more important than the finished project for me, which may be why fans sometimes have to wait three years for me to release a track. Sorry, guys!