Swedish House Mafia on Their Pyro-Heavy Coachella Set

EDM trio amps up stage show for first headlining slot at the festival

swedish house mafia coachella
FilmMagic.com/FilmMagic
Swedish House Mafia performs at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California.
By |

Two hours before Swedish House Mafia takes the main stage after the Black Keys to close out the first day of Coachella, the DJ-production trio is hanging in a dressing room befitting of their headliner status. "It's like a house," Steve Angello remarks to Rolling Stone of the compound, which boasts its own adjacent dining area.

After headlining and selling out Madison Square Garden last year, Swedish House Mafia were invited to play the fest's prestigious slot. "They said they wanted us to play Coachella main stage," Sebastian Ingrosso explains. "And then we built the show after that." The trio unveiled a brand-new set in the desert, heavy on pyrotechnics and panoramic visuals. "We've always been very production minded, and we've always stretched to make a better experience for the crowd and for the fans," says Angello. "I think every artist owes it to the fans to give them the best that they can. With an opportunity like this and crowd like this, it would be stupid not to."

The dazzling production seemed almost too elaborate for just one gig, but other than a July 14th show at London's Milton Keynes Bowl, the group has no definitive plans to take it on the road. "We're looking into where we can take this. We kind of work like that. We don't really know and we're like, 'To be continued,'" Ingrosso says.

In general, the trio likes having the freedom to be spontaneous, which is why they don't see themselves recording a full LP. "We would really love to make an album, but as soon as we finish a track we want to drop it," Axwell says. "So we cannot wait 12 months to sit in the studio and finish an album. Also, with dance music it changes so fast. By the time you finish one then start with next one, the first one is getting old." The group says they'll continue to drop new music as it is ready, but they haven't picked a timeline for their next release. 

Either Swedish House Mafia are excellent poker players, playing their cards close to the vest, or they're genuinely just winging it as they go. When asked if they have any surprises in store for Week Two of Coachella, Axwell will only tease, "Hopefully there will be an addition." Adds Ingrosso, "There are lots of things on the table but nothing that is done yet, so it would be wrong to say."

But when they're asked which late star they'd like to conjure up onstage, à la the rumored Nate Dogg hologram that will accompany Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg on Sunday, there's no hesitation or mystery. "Michael Jackson!" all three yell in unison. Adds Ingrosso, "Nobody for us is gonna be bigger than Michael Jackson." 

x