If there’s one group in EDM whose name is synonymous with “happy music” it’s Galantis. The Swedish duo, made up of Christian Karlsson from Miike Snow, and Linus Eklöw aka Style of Eye, burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere in 2014 with massive singles like “Runaway (U&I),” “You” and “Smile.”
A self-titled EP which followed soon after, along with performances at some of the world’s biggest festivals, put Galantis on the fast track to the A-list. And if 2014 was their breakout year, then 2015 was the year that the boys showed the world that they were here to stay.
Their debut album, Pharmacy, was a massive hit when it dropped last Spring, tearing up the Billboard charts and giving us a handful of well-produced, infectious tracks that we’re still listening to on repeat.
Currently, Linus and Christian are on tour across North America promoting the album, and last week, they stopped in Toronto to throw down at Uniun Nightclub. Before they took the stage, we caught up with them for a quick interview, in which they spoke about how to make people happy through music, what each of them brings to the table, what new material they’ve got coming up, and much more.
Check it out below, and enjoy.
You’ve just kicked off the North American leg of your tour but before this you were in Europe. How have things been going so far?
Galantis: Great. It’s been amazing. It’s very special when you do your own headlining tour. It makes a big difference. At festivals you get the big crowds, and can gain new fans, but at headline shows you can do exactly what you want. You can play as long as you want, bring anything you want, etc.
Have you been incorporating many live elements into the show?
Galantis: Oh ya. We always have live elements. It’s more a question of how many live elements. Sometimes festivals won’t let you bring a whole lot. But for this tour we’ve brought a ton. It depends on the venue, of course, but we like to bring as much as possible.
Have you been dropping much new music?
Galantis: More just unreleased remixes and some new mashups. We do have new music coming though, probably next month. Even on the road, we work on new music every single day. We produce on tour. You have to, otherwise we just wouldn’t have enough time.
Since the album’s been out for so long now, do you find that people at your shows are responding more to tracks aside from just your biggest hits, like “You” and “Runaway (U&I),” or do those still get the biggest reception?
Galantis: It always changes. We get big reactions to most of the album songs though. A lot of people seem to be loving “Peanut Butter Jelly” lately, and of course, “Runaway (U&I)” is still a big one. But it’s great to see people also getting into “Firebird” and “Gold Dust” and a few of the others. You can tell which fans in the crowd have followed us from the start and which ones just found out about us through Pharmacy.
So do you try to not play your older stuff as much then?
Galantis: No, we want to play everything. We play all of Galantis’ music.
Your music is so irresistible. It’s so easy to listen to and makes you feel happy when you listen to it. Talk about how you make people feel good through music.
Galantis: I think it’s just how we write music. We start on the piano or guitar and work on the chord progression or melody and we keep going until it feels like a Galantis song. Until it has that feel good tone in it.
And it’s important to not make it too feel good so that it comes off as cheesy, right?
Galantis: Yup, that’s the thing. It’s very hard to balance that thin line and get it just right. It’s something we’re definitely aware of all the time. We try to mix things up, too. Like sometimes our lyrics are a bit sad and the melody is happy.
You mentioned that when you start a song you start with piano or guitar, whereas a lot of producers start with the beat. Talk about your production process and why you start like that.
Galantis: We’re always writing. We write, write, write. Before we started producing for Pharmacy we had about 60 songs written. We’ve both been producing for so long now that we have so many tools to dress the songs up in, so we focus in the beginning on the writing. Then, as we get closer to release we start to form the song into dance music.
What would you say each of your strengths are in the production process?
Galantis: I [Christian] have a few more years in writing and Linus has a few more years in DJ’ing. So if I’m ever unsure of a beat or a drop or a build I can always ask him for advice. And he can always come to me about melodies or chords or whatever.
When you guys first met you each had your own solo projects. What spurred the decision to move away from those and form Galantis?
Galantis: We just had a great energy in the studio. We both felt like we had this music to make that wasn’t out there yet. We love the dance music scene and really wanted to be a part of it, but we felt like a lot of the tracks were missing solid song writing. And we felt like that was something we could do. We’re the perfect match and we have a vision of where we want to go. We have so much fun together, too.
The sound that you’ve settled on now, is that what you’re going to stick to going forward. Or do you ever see yourself experimenting with new sounds?
Galantis: The sound of Galantis is mostly in the way we write our songs. So it’s going to progress, for sure. We have so much new material and it sounds like Galantis but it also sounds like it’s evolved. It’s just a natural progression, though. The way in which we write makes it easier to evolve our sound, because the sound is so ingrained in the writing.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Galantis live before, what can they expect?
Galantis: A lot of energy! We bring something new to the scene as well, that people haven’t seen before. It’s more of a show than a DJ set when you come to see us. It’s something really different.
That concludes our interview, but we’d like to thank Galantis very much for their time! Be sure to catch them on their Louder Harder Better tour if you get a chance.