Icona Pop was officially born in the manner you'd hope two smart, spunky Swedish girls would unite: under the midnight sun, bonding over heartbreak and breakbeats. 'I was dumped, and a mutual friend forced me to go to a party. Caroline was hosting it,' Aino Jawo recalls on meeting her future bandmate Caroline Hjelt. They now famously describe the resulting bonding experience (and all night Stockholm dance-a-thon) as something like 'love at first sight'.
Sparks flew. Out with relationship angst and in with female friendship: a creative fuse had been lit, and that very night, the two began scheming and dreaming of forming 'the best band ever'. But unlike most alcohol-aided ambitions, this one began to unfurl the very next day, when the girls began writing their first song together. Armed with their laptops, Aino's brother's studio, and a thirst for experimental percussion, they knew at once they were onto something good. 'It was already there from the first song,' says Caroline. 'This is how it should feel like. In Aino, had found my missing ingredient.' Which, of course, is how many now might describe Icona Pop's relationship to music - a wonderful thing so suddenly necessary it's hard to believe it didn't exist before.
The girls' trajectory from eager Stockholm youths creating early templates for their hyperkinetic pop to playing to a crowd of 20,000 at Madison Square Garden clocks in at just over three years - an impressive alacrity that should keep other musicmakers on their toes. Jawo and Hjelt worked ceaselessly, collaborating with high-caliber producers Patrick Berger, The Knocks, and Elof Loelv to create a distinctively dramatic sound - bright and dark in one, combining chanted choruses and live but mechanized drums with their signature 'bittersweet' lyrics. In other words: very Scandinavian. 'There always has to be a balance of happiness and darkness,' Caroline says. 'Otherwise you'll just float away.'
On their breakout hit, 'Manners', that duality revealed itself elegantly, with crepuscular synths punctuating the spare reverb-steeped bass drums and scolding choir, 'Manners! You better reconsider. You will never do better' before it all descends into a heavenly sea of 'ba ba ba's'. Soon, their 'Nights Like This' EP was ranked as one of 2011's most promising debuts and New York and London club kids were paying close attention - leading to Icona Pop swiftly being one of THE new artists to check out live, glowstick army and all. But it all was about to go zero gravity, thanks to three little words: I LOVE IT.
The unofficial anthem of summer 2012 (and recent staple of HBO's GIRLS), 'I Love It' is the rave-fueled stormer that truly put Icona Pop on the radar of millions. 'I crashed my car into the bridge, I don't care! I love it!' the chorus declares proudly, making nihilism seem damn fun. It's the song that led to the invite to open Passion Pit's and Marina and The Diamonds' North American large-scale tours, and the future classic that the band's full length debut pegged as one of 2013's most-anticipated records. The girls feel the pressure but are eager to confront it head on.
'It's going to be really honest, it's kind of a diary for us. We've experienced a lot of lovely and weird stuff this year!' Caroline says. New collaborations with Shellback, Kool Kojack, and Peter Svennson (of Cardigans fame) are on deck. 'It's just a lot of love, a lot of friends,' Aino says humbly, underscoring the admirable companionship dynamic that makes Icona Pop so likable. Huge futurist sounds, soaring emotions, dancefloor confessions, unabashed honesty, fierce friendship: the traits that will define what will surely be an iconic debut album. Coming to an ecstatic rave near you, Summer 2013.