Alesso is trying to put the heart and soul back into dance music. The Swedish super-producer fell out of love with his own genre and consequently decided to sort out everyone else’s mess himself. “I love producing everything and I love listening to everything,” he begins. “I just want to make that clear. Everyone is allowed to create all kinds of music as long as it’s not supporting anything that’s bad for the world. It was just a new challenge for me, to make it more personal and make it more emotional and put some truth into it. That’s what I tried to achieve with this album, I tried to make an album that people can hopefully relate to.” It was a timely change, what with the never-ending rise of EDM and its tribe-like following, change was inevitable, necessary.
After getting hooked to dance music “like a drug” at fourteen after being given a mix CD from a friend, Alessandro Lindblad discovered “proper house music records”. He’d heard the cheesy dance music at parties but knew there had to be more. “I just wanted to explore the whole world of dance music and night life and that kind of music was just mind blowing to me, I wanted to be a part of it,” he tells me, and the rest is electronic history. Since then Alesso has written hit after hit, headlined some of the biggest events in the world (you might have caught him at Coachella this year) and finally, we’re about to hear his debut album.
Forever, the aforementioned record, took a year and a half to produce and documents Alesso’s ascent from Stockholm bedroom producer, to global DJ and regular radio feature. While the recognition is rolling in, and Forever being Alesso’s first real opportunity to unleash his individual ideas, the completion of the album wasn’t without its difficulties. “I’m always on the road,” he says, accustomed to his unrelenting lifestyle but seemingly still not quite accepting of it. “It’s not like being in a band and getting six months to do music in a studio, just studio no touring. I tour all the time, I’m trying to find those few days or a week or just an hour in a hotel room or three in a studio or 50 minutes.”
It’s hard to discern from an outsider whether this mania is what powers Alesso or if his mind-bogglingly stuffed schedule is a necessary evil. Yes he has to sacrifice on studio time, unthinkable for a producer, but he himself tells me about the value of hard work. “Everything I was dreaming of I’ve achieved,” he explains, not with arrogance, but with self assurance, the mark of an experienced man. The day we meet he’s preparing to play to a sold out Electric Ballroom show (having sold out 2 Brixton Academy shows at the end of last year) as well as achieving rolls of countless other milestones, a UK No.1, a platinum record in the US, playing Coachella and making his debut.
The life of a producer didn’t look like Alesso’s until recently, the DJ is the new rock star and with that comes groupies. “I felt like Justin Bieber when I was in Tokyo because everyone was screaming so much,” he laughs incredulously, “I was out one night there and they had to block half the club because it too crazy!” It’s something he’s had to grow used. “In the beginning it was weird,” he reflects, “people walk up to you and they know all these things about you. They read about you and they know basically who I am and I have no idea who they are. I wasn’t used to it but I saw it as a compliment, I still do. I just see it as a compliment and now I’m used to it too. It feels better when you’re used to it because you learn a little more how to handle it.”
Guitars aren’t cool anymore as we’re all aware, beats are the currency of the decade. “This is the music of the new generation,” Alesso speaks for his followers, “it’s become a lifestyle too to listen to this music, I would say for me it’s the only music genre that pushes you that little bit more to have fun, or to work harder, it has that feeling to it. I think people are really feeling that, that’s why they enjoy listening to it. We’re in party time right now. It’s a combination of everything. And it’s good dance music, really quality records that have come out lately. Big songs.”
Big songs are certainly what to expect from Forever. With features from Tove Lo, Calvin Harris and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, there’s no doubt about radio coverage. But it’s Alesso’s insistence on the need for emotion that’s heightening anticipation and the curiosity to know how club songs and sincere feelings can intertwine as it’s safe to say few of us are often feeling our most profound on a dancefloor. “We’ll see!” Alesso laughs when I ask how he thinks his attempts to connect with the revellers will translate on dancefloor. “I think, if you were with someone you care about or if you went through something, it’s going to make you feel a little more alive hopefully. You’re at a club drinking, having fun but if that track comes on you might start feeling differently or start appreciating the things you have around you, hopefully it puts you in a better mood.”
Alesso’s debut album “Forever” is out May 25th. Check out the ‘Sweet Escape’ here:
Pre order the album here.
Words: Lily Walker