Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the guys in Swedish House Mafia are unlikely to offer any apologies for their triumphant reign over global clubland. From their earlier days on the beat at Stockholm’s assorted underground nightspots (or, in Sebastian Ingrosso’s case, a pizza parlor) to their dream-like overhaul of popular dance music, the trio’s widely debated legacy has been one for the history books on all counts.
Now with their protracted 53-date farewell tour, the united efforts of Ingrosso, Steve Angello, and Axel Hedfors (aka Axwell) have put new, formerly unimaginable measures of success into the playbook of electronic music. But with so much headline action in the face of their premature departure this coming weekend, it is easy to forget the ardent activity that first sent them shooting skyward. As the trio prepares to make its final sign-off at Ultra Music Festival, Beatport News looks back on 10 collaborative landmarks that set the stage for their huge success.
Ingrosso and Angello hid behind the Outfunk guise back in 2002. With remix duties by supposed fourth Mafioso Eric Prydz, this heavy-footed disco hopper made “filtered tech house” an appetizing prospect long before the term entered the dance-music lexicon.
Ingrosso and Angello weren’t exactly strangers to collaborative house-anthem making during their industry ascent. This early floor-filler saw the duo embrace the darker side of house music for Refune Records, with a melodic anthem that still holds its corner within the modern peak-time landscape.
Still a mainstay in their own collaborative and respective sets, “Together” was a sure sign of the integral part a good topline would play later down the line for Swedish House Mafia and electronic music alike. A definite turning point in the collective sound of European house, their union of progressive leads and traditional beat work was accompanied by an increasingly prominent sing-along opportunity that still serves its purpose on the festival and arena circuits.
One is a sun-kissed house idol, the other a progressive master, but together Axwell and Prydz were an overlooked force to be reckoned with. Fusing the Axtone CEO’s Latin grooves with Prydz’s affinity for melodic builds, this early landmark for the Pryda Friends label proved a simple yet stunning gem from a duo that we can only hope will be persuaded to collaborate further.
Supermode saw Angello and Axwell unite for a rare yet considerably vital set-piece in their impending global overhaul. Inspired by the handiwork of British trio Bronski Beat and topped-off by a vocal offering from Hal Ritson (the voice of Eric Prydz’s “Call On Me”), the single mustered chart action across the globe and was a compilation staple throughout the decade.
A commercial landmark by all accounts, “Get Dumb” was the first formal piece of collaborative work that all three Swedes would put their hands on. The trio’s union with Laidback Luke was a heavy-footed house anthem that more than earned its keep on dancefloors across the globe.
Ingrosso and Hedfors may not have been the most frequent collaborators of the trio, but when they did get together, it was with the utmost impact—particularly on “It’s True,” which features Swedish tunesmith Salam al Fakir, long before his putting his vocal on Avicii’s “Silhouettes.” In a solid blast of radiant pop melodies and intense melodic progressions, “It’s True” showed growing maturity in the face of European dance music’s fast-sinking boundaries.
Having scaled such monikers as General Moders, Fireflies, Mode Hookers, The Sinners, and Outfunk, Buy Now would emerge as the unapologetically dark lovechild of Angello’s and Ingrosso’s collaborative efforts. In a discordant yet wholehearted take on The Michael Zager Band’s “Let’s All Chant,” “Body Crash” was far from the polished studio play we have come to associate with the duo, yet it furthered the belief that there was no sound untouchable for this diligent Swedish duo.
Just when we thought we had seen it all from these two essential cogs in high-end Swedish house music, “Partouze” came to shake things up like never before. Mechanical beats and huge strings in full effect, this unanimous global club favorite remains one of the duo’s most outstanding collaborative endeavors to date, pointing to a period in time when the divine melodic edge of their floor-fillers really came to fortification.
No track could better summarize the rise of Swedish House Mafia than this pivotal vocal anthem. Bringing their infamous Dutch peer and the vocal stylings of Deborah Cox into the equation, this simple yet uplifting peak-timer remains as relevant on the dancefloor as it does indicative of the moment that Swedish House Mafia transitioned from the ambition of three European heavyweights to one of the most iconic team-ups in dance music to date.