You might know the Swedish electronic duo Galantis, consisting of Christian Karlsson from Miike Snow and the DJ Linus Eklöw, from their 2014 hit, “Runway” or maybe from their other major single, 2015’s “Peanut Butter Jelly”. Regardless, if you do not know them – and you’re a fan of house music – you probably should. Separately, both Christian and DJ Linus, each have impressive resumes, writing and producing chart-topping hits. Karlsson is one-third of the electro-pop trio Miike Snow (producing under the name Bloodshy) and has co-created hits for Madonna, Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, while Eklöw has his own project, Style of Eye.
With a live show unlike most electronic acts—they play instruments, for one—Galantis is set on bringing its boundary-pushing version of electro house to the masses. Las Vegas Weekly caught up with the duo in advance of their show at Marquee Nightclub, Las Vegas last weekend.
Christian, you’re a part of Miike Snow and you’ve also written and produced music for Madonna, Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, to name a few. It seems like you have mastered how to write the perfect pop song. How does writing a chart-topper differ for Galantis?
Christian Karlsson: I don’t think there is a specific way or approach. Since I started to be in Galantis and Miike Snow, that opened up the possibilities. All of a sudden there’s zero limits. There’s no rule for how the vocal is going to be, or if it’s going to be a male or female or if it’s going to be a robot. Writing for other people, there’s always some type of rule you have to follow. Going into the studio, I don’t think me or Linus think, Oh, we’re going to write a song for this. You go in and you write music.
DJ Linus Eklöw: We always focus on the actual song with Galantis. It doesn’t come dressed as a dance track immediately, and then we dress it up into a dance song. It’s not that we sit there and think Let’s write the biggest smash in the world.
As Galantis, you guys actually write the songs on piano or guitar first—which I’m sure is very different from most electronic acts today. How does that influence the sound?
Christian Karlsson: I think that’s very key to why we sound like we sound. Of course, it has to do with the background of being in the studio and writing a lot of songs and absolutely loving and writing chord progressions, melodies and lyrics. I feel, for us, the songs come together better, much better than making a track and trying to force a melody and lyric into that track.
You bring out floor toms and drum pads to your live shows. How does that bring a different energy, and how does the crowd react to it?
Christian Karlsson: For us, it’s everything. It’s something that triggers us. We like to hit stuff and we like to be very involved in what we’re playing. It’s a big role for us, on stage, to bring as much as we can from the studio. It’s being able to be creative and do a real performance. We have one foot in playing instruments and one foot where we love dance music. I think Galantis is both of those worlds. To be able to send something like that energy out to the audience, you have to be able to create something on stage, otherwise it’s very hard to get that energy going. I feel they feed off us and we feed back off them. It’s a very important piece of our live performance.
Watch their video of “Peanut Butter Jelly”