Galantis on airplane music and playing the library – an interview


by Scott Wilson

Though their vocal cords were swollen and raw from airplane air and shouting over festival noise, the Galantis duo, Christian Karlsson and Linus Eklöw, bravely committed themselves to answer questions a mere hour before their set at Lollapalooza. What follows are the highlights from that conversation on a bench under a tree in Grant Park, Chicago.

Scott Wilson: Have you guys gotten to explore Chicago at all?

Christian Karlsson: We’ve been here a lot before and we love this city. In America, there are only a few cities built more European — this is one of them, so it’s easier to grasp.

Linus Eklöw: We’re not big on driving, so this city fits us well.

SW: Is it hard to focus on your music when you’re also doing all of these big stage shows and stuff like that?  

LE: Um, a little bit; but we’re also away from home all the time, so it’s good to, you know, go and create and only focus on the songs and spend [sic] all of the energy, even if it’s only for an hour, and you’re always thinking about music.

CK: Even when we’re sitting on airplanes. Whenever we want, we start talking about and making new shit.

SW: What do you need in order to be creative — is there any sort of ritual? Is there any sort of item you need? 

LE: Not any longer; I worked on myself to lose that. I had different hang-ups I needed to be able to create. Slowly, I worked towards being able to just use a laptop, ‘cause for a long time when people were doing it, I was like, “they need a studio,” ‘cause that’s what I was used to. But now I’m fine, basically. I only need a laptop.

SW: Do you think that’s a side effect of traveling all the time?  

CK: It’s knowing your own music and believing your own ideas. Basically, you know, I don’t need to play it loud to myself; I hear it well. You basically write a song the way you’d like it to be and then go into the studio and put it together.

SW: You guys learned music analog on regular instruments, and then within the last 10-15 years, you switched to computers — and now you’re entirely computerized. Do you think that having a background in analog music has helped you?

LE: Definitely, definitely! It allowed for a lot of possibilities. We will always know we are basically one foot in the old, one foot in the new; we like to be there, we love both, we love just sitting with a piano checking out new plug-ins. Just really love both.

SW: How much of your analog work gets recorded and computerized after?

CK: Sometimes we go only analog, [where] it’s all about what’s in front of us, whatever is in the studio. We might just focus on one synth and record and do everything and check later.

LE: We’re always recording in weird environments and stuff. We have a really beautiful studio on an island in Sweden, so it’s kind of delightful to record stuff out there.

SW: In the winter, do you get frosted over and stuck in the studio with nothing but canned yams and icebergs? 

LE: [Laughter] We have these big icebreaker boats, actually. Ice creates amazing sound when it’s all frozen and these icebreakers, like cruise ships, go through and essentially break the ice. It’s just like outside the window — they come and it’s pitch black — you don’t hear or see anything, and all of a sudden this huge monster of a ship cracks the ice and it’s like this music is coming through [imitates the noise of the machine]. Then it’s pitch black again and just open water.

SW: That’s so cool. 

LE: It’s fucking crazy.

CK: And add the Northern Lights on top of that.

SW: One last question: what’s the most awkward moment you felt on tour? Has there ever been a place you showed up and were like, “what am I doing here?” 

CK: Yeah, in the UK, at the library in the daytime. It was so awkward and wrong that it was actually fun. People were actually studying and shit, and I was like, this is so not happening. Then I turn around and there is this girl outside, I guess she was a fan, and then she’s flashing me! I, like, look over and she has them hanging out against the glass!

SW: Well, that ended it strong. Thank you so much!

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